Top Social Selling Tips: A 2020 Year-End Review

ColumnistsDec 15, 2020

Top Social Selling Tips: A 2020 Year-End Review

Duvall O’Steen and Jen Cullen Williams are making a list of the best advice from this year’s Creative Connecting columns.

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 or
As this unprecedented, perilous year comes to a close, a look back shows there were certainly some silver linings that have pushed the jewelry industry forward into the digital age.

We know consumer shopping behaviors and supply chains have been forever changed and that technology will continue to shape the future of retail.

We found out the brands that truly won the social media landscape in difficult times were the ones that led with purposeful, authentic storytelling content, compassion, empathy, and a focus on community.

The companies that were willing to learn, listen and find new ways to connect with their customers have been able to pivot and weather the pandemic storm.

As we look back on the past few months, we wanted to highlight a few of the biggest takeaways from our Creative Connecting articles, from TikTok to virtual selling and everything in between.

From May: TikTok Tips

Short how-to videos about the many creative ways to wear a piece of jewelry could really resonate. Think outside the box, such as brooches on hats or necklaces down the back.

Danielle Miele of Gem Gossip offers more ideas: “Post videos of ‘top five’ items weekly, using music that is popular on TikTok (‘Sounds’ function), post jewelry-related how-to videos that are quick and catchy, or jewelry styling videos showing layering of rings/necklaces/earrings/bracelets.”

You can also feature the industry standard video close-ups of product, using voiceover to educate viewers about the origin of the gemstones or the inspiration behind the design.

Other fun ideas for hashtag challenges include #howtowearit.

Everyone has access to a strand of pearls in their own wardrobe or in mom’s jewelry box. Offer a prize to the TikToker who shows the most creative ways to wear a simple strand of pearls (as a belt a la Penelope Cruz at the 2020 Oscars, entwined in a scarf a la Kendall Jenner for Versace or in the hair or on your shoes).

Or try a #neckmess challenge, encouraging followers to post videos of their favorite layered necklace looks.

From June: Hashtag Hacks

For an Instagram post, try to find more specific hashtags to target more effectively.

As an example, use #marquisediamond instead of #diamond, or #tahitianpearl instead of #pearl or, better yet, #tahitianpearlearrings.

Emmanuel Raheb, founder and CEO of SmartAge Solutions, said: “We find the best thing to do is look for trending ‘locally based’ hashtags, such as a local anthem, theme, 
sports mantra, etc., but always keeping it relevant to your brand.”

From July: Selling in a Virtual World

Counter to normal public speaking and in-person presentations, virtual presentations demolish the old rule of saving the best for last.

In our fast-paced digital world, attention spans are short, making it important to start strong and keep up the pace to avoid losing your audience’s interest.

Prepare to pack a powerful punch right at the beginning. Start with your strongest designs or best-selling collections.

Helena Krodel, partner at David Alan, advises choosing your seven best pieces and having seven more ready and/or reachable right off-camera.

Be sure to polish the pieces in advance as the camera catches every little scratch and/or fingerprint.

Some influencers use mirrors very effectively in their jewelry product videos. Bebe Bakhshi of @champagnegem has several examples.

The mirror increases the three-dimensional nature of a design with less screen time, making it quicker to show both the front and back of a design.

From August: Make Your Social Media Bio Stand Out

Including a hashtag in your bio makes it a clickable link so people can explore and follow the hashtag instantly.

This gives new customers a chance to see user-generated content where your customers may have posted using your hashtag. As an example, Staples bio reads, “We make it easy to #MakeMoreHappen.”

Be sure to use the contact buttons on your Instagram profile as well, but note that these are only shown in the app view, not the web view.

Many brands ignore them, but the contact buttons can make you more accessible to new customers, as well as guide customers to your preferred method of contact.

For example, if you are a wholesale brand, you can include an email address and/or a phone number (but avoid the physical address since you do not sell directly).

Retailers should always use their physical location so they come up in local searches.

From September: Social Media Ethics

Harvard Business Review recently published research showing how companies make the best of bad reviews and can even turn them to their advantage.

The authors suggest embracing bad reviews in creative ways, giving examples of how one company took an obviously biased review and cleverly used it in an ad campaign.

Interestingly, they recommend sharing employee spotlights (“meet our employee of the month” or “get to know your jeweler/designer”) because putting a human face to the brand makes it less likely to be targeted.

Christina Fumia, president and CEO of Avant-Garde Marketing & Communications, recommends full transparency.

“Old-school strategy used to say that you should ask the customer to send you more information via email or in a more private space. But the brands winning the reputation management trophy these days are the ones who show full transparency. People want to see exactly how the issue was resolved.”

From October: Video in a Virtual World

Another way to make video more engaging is to use text in the first few seconds.

Instagram Reels and TikTok offer easy editing tools to help you add headline-style text. This gives the viewer an instant idea of what the video is about and stops the scroll long enough to grab their interest.

Be sure to record and save all the video content you produce because you can also post it on your YouTube channel, Facebook business page and Instagram Story Highlights.

YouTube content improves your SEO, so be sure to use keywords and tags in describing the videos when posting to your YouTube channel.

If you record a virtual event with a designer on Zoom, you can share that video with a customer who missed the event.

You can also show limited edition trunk show pieces or “sold” items to customers who may be looking for something similar and then place a special order with your vendor.

From November: Selling on Instagram

In a Q&A, Katerina Perez noted: “Instagram shoppers are spoiled, and their attention span is minimal … They don’t want to have to make too many actions to buy something … That’s why it is so important for every jewelry brand to have content that catches the eye and sparks interest, as well as key features like shoppable tags in stories, retargeting campaigns, shipping calculator, etc., that make it easy to shop.”

Also, remember to always be mindful of Federal Trade Commission disclosure guidelines when posting product for sale on Instagram. The Jewelers Vigilance Committee has a clear, easy and downloadable guide here.

To close out our final article for 2020, we want to send our gratitude to the National Jeweler team, especially our brilliant editor Michelle Graff, and all the experts who have shared their knowledge with all of us. 

And, most importantly, we want to say our most humble thank you to all the readers. 

We look forward to continuing to contribute in 2021! 

If there’s a topic on communications, social media or digital marketing you want to learn more about, please reach out to us. 

We will strive to bring additional articles with relevant and actionable takeaways to increase your business. We wish you all a joyous and healthy holiday season, and cheers to the new opportunities ahead of us. 
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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