Columnists

Creative Connecting: Social Media Listening Tips & Tools for Jewelers

ColumnistsJan 11, 2022

Creative Connecting: Social Media Listening Tips & Tools for Jewelers

In their latest column, Duvall O’Steen and Jen Cullen Williams explain the importance of being a good social listener, so listen up.

Duvall O’Steen, left, and Jen Cullen Williams are independent communications strategists and senior consultants for the Luxury Brand Group. They can be reached at DuvallOsteenNYC@gmail.com or Jen@JenCullenWilliams.com.
The buzz phrase in social media these days is “social listening.” 

Everyone thinks of using social media to say something but, the truth is, those who are also listening on social media can reap great rewards.

Simply defined, social listening is tracking social media platforms for mentions of your store/brand or conversations related to your product, store, or brand. But the best social listeners are paying attention to more than just mentions of their own brand.

Jewelers can broaden their approach to discover conversations about topics of interest to our industry (proposals, engagement rings, how to buy a diamond, gold jewelry, etc.) and/or what styles or categories are trending (drop earrings, baroque pearls, rubies/sapphires/emeralds, etc.).

Listening vs. Monitoring
According to Rod Worley, president of jewelry consulting firm Four Grainer, “Social monitoring involves observing online discussions and charting their directions over time. Social listening, on the other hand, requires a desire to hear with focus, interpret within the context, and understand in a way that is actionable.”

Because so many people worldwide now use social media, Worley believes it is critical for jewelers to go a step beyond monitoring their social media and to engage in social listening in order to be successful. Without a developed strategy for social listening, jewelers don’t have a plan for future success.

According to the Four Grainer experts, broad-based social listening can spot emerging jewelry trends, expose unmet needs in the marketplace, and highlight client pain points.

Jewelers who engage in social listening can use all this information to develop and revise their business strategies or best practices in a flexible way, responding to market dynamics as they emerge.

Jewelry marketer Laryssa Wirstiuk, founder of marketing agency and podcast Joy Joya adds, “Social listening is also about paying attention to your target customers, keeping your finger on the pulse of the jewelry industry, and understanding how you can differentiate your brand from your competitors’ brands.”

Worley recommends jewelers use professional services for social listening, given its complexity.

“Many jewelers try to do social listening themselves with the intent to reply directly to customers. Professional services, like those offered at Four Grainer, listen with the goal of understanding, discerning context, and delivering actionable strategies. Therein lies the difference.”

Benefits of Social Listening for Jewelers
Think of social media as a huge, helpful, and transparent focus group, a valuable source of business intelligence.

According to Sprout Social, social listening lets you tap into that focus group, their conversations, and the trends happening, not just around your brand, but around the entire jewelry industry.

It is a powerful tool that can help you understand the conversations that are happening online and what people think about various topics even if your company is not tagged.

When done properly, the benefits of social listening are numerous and include the following.

Sales. You can use social listening to generate or facilitate sales leads. Specifically, if customers are asking where to purchase or for price information, you can quickly convey the desired info and convert the customer into a buyer.

Trend tracking. Social media can also be a fun way to gather consumer preferences for your buyers. Find out what diamond shapes are trending, what jewelry brands are being most talked about in your area and/or what categories (pearls, gold, diamonds, etc.) are hot.

Crisis aversion. If someone is denigrating your business or publicly announcing problems they had with your store or your merchandise, be part of the discussion. Avoid hiding negative comments. Rather, engage politely in a transparent way to resolve the problem and deter potential damage to your reputation.

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Customer service/support. Many luxury brands use social media as a customer service tool by problem solving or soothing customer concerns, announcing/explaining safety policies, and giving advice directly to people who are asking for guidance. If feedback comes in that customers are loving a new style, use it as an opportunity to announce when other similar styles are available. Some social listening services have workflow tools built in that allow a message to be routed to the customer service or sales manager directly.

Market research. Wirstiuk suggests listening to your competitors as well. “Social listening to your competitors can help you understand what they’re doing well and what they can improve. For example, if you notice that one of your competitors is consistently receiving some negative customer feedback about shipping delays in their Instagram comments, then you can emphasize your fast and easy shipping on your ecommerce website and in social media posts.”

Recruiting. With all the recent news about workforce shortages, jewelers can also use social listening to find qualified personnel who are actively looking for work. You can also use the data gathered to spot trends or feedback on your workplace environment and/or how it compares to others. Such information can help you improve internally or serve as leverage when recruiting top talent.

Social Listening Tools for Jewelers
There are many great tools to utilize for social listening. LinkedIn recently listed the top 20 social listening tools for 2021.

Here are a few to consider. They are in no particular order but note almost all of them can be customized based on your business goals or needs.

1. Notifier. Owned and managed by LinkedIn, Notifier includes instant notifications, a seven-day free trial and works well with Reddit, Hacker News, and RSS feeds, in addition to established social media like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

2. Brandwatch. This tool includes an image analysis feature that allows you to track the use of your logo or ad images. Pricewise, Brandwatch may be better for larger chain retailers.

3. Brand24. This tool is inexpensive and best for small and mid-sized businesses. It includes AI-driven sentiment analysis but has limited integration with application programming interfaces, or APIs.

4. Mention. It’s worth mentioning that Mention is also good for small and mid-sized businesses, and good for retail jewelers because you can restrict your search to your geographic location. It picks up your own social media posts, which some complain can contaminate the data related to the total number of mentions.

5. Four Grainer. Four Grainer is jewelry-industry specific, and their listening tool can be tailored to meet your specific criteria or to help achieve specific goals. You can choose if it is passive or active, narrow or broad in scope, reactive or proactive in nature.

Many social media scheduling services also provide social listening tools, such as HubSpot, Sprout Social, Agorapulse, HootSuite, and Buffer. 

If you are already using these to schedule your social media posts, research their social listening tools to see if they might fit your needs. If so, you can review the data on the same dashboard that you use for posting.
Social Listening Tips for Jewelers
— Use specific keywords. When setting up your social listening, be very specific with keywords to generate more focused results. If you use generic phrases or large volume search words, your team is likely to be overwhelmed and unable to process or respond quickly to the findings. According to Sprout Social experts, “There is a bit of guesswork involved in creating queries, so refinement is key. Preview your query results, edit, exclude users who spam or common phrases that muddy the waters.”

— Use and follow hashtags. Wirstiuk suggests using hashtags to find target customers on Instagram, potentially even finding brand ambassadors and influencers in the process. “I browsed the hashtag #over50style. Looking at the top posts in this hashtag, I could see that the women are gravitating toward chic black outfits and styling themselves with bold statement pieces in pearls, white gold, and diamonds. There’s no easier or cheaper way to conduct market research!”

— Narrow your focus by goals. For example, for trendspotting, you can choose to focus on Instagram and Pinterest, as both are largely visual and more commonly used for fine jewelry. For customer complaints, you might want to include Twitter as opposed to Pinterest. Shopping or sales leads might be more appropriate for Reddit (for Gen Z especially), Instagram, and YouTube.

— Include various languages. Be sure to reply to customers who comment or query in various languages. This conveys to other viewers your inclusivity and shows your genuine customer service approach to doing business.

— Avoid limiting your search to your own social media handles or your brand name. Use brand adjacent terms, like your CEO or family name, or related phrases such as engagement rings, bridal jewelry, jewelry trends, etc.

— Follow and listen to other industry accounts. Wirstiuk encourages jewelers to, “Follow accounts related to the industry like @nationaljeweler and also pay attention to how their followers are responding to their posts to help you make strategic decisions about your business.”

In the end, remember: It’s called “social media,” which means it’s all about forging relationships, making connections, and providing authentic interactions. A critical part of building relationships in any social setting is making conversations a two-way street. 

Listen to your customers, respond and engage appropriately and then watch your business continue to flourish in 2022!

Jen Cullen Williamsis an independent communications strategist and senior consultant for the Luxury Brand Group.
Duvall O'Steenis an independent communications strategist and senior consultant for the Luxury Brand Group.

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