By Brecken Branstrator
New York--The holiday season is the perfect time for retailers to reach out to consumers and engage them via their social media accounts.

But a successful social media campaign doesn’t just come from pretty pictures or making sure posts are going up regularly. It’s also about making sure that the right messaging is getting out and that shoppers are responding to and engaging with what is being posted.

National Jeweler reached out to a number of industry insiders to ask for their tips and advice for social media success this holiday season: Rod Worley, president of Four Grainer; Lauren Strohmeier, content manager at Likeable Local; Shane O’Neill, vice president at Fruchtman Marketing; and Jenna Fish, marketing coordinator at J.R. Dunn Jewelers.

Here’s what they had to say.

1. Make a Connection. Focus on creating highly relatable, human-interest content that will draw consumers in, evoke sentiment or make them laugh. As Worley says, if your content isn’t shared, then nobody cared.

holiday tips 180x1502. Observe the 80/20 rule. Eighty percent of social postings should focus on driving interactions with your followers, such as with comments, retweets, likes and favorites. Only 20 percent should link back to products or special promotions.
A connection has to be made before attempting the sale, Worley said.

According to Strohmeier, those majority posts meant to engage and entertain can be done in a number of ways: be educational and help followers learn about the things for which they have a passion, such as the best jewelry styles to wear during the holidays; inspire followers to create discussions around why everyone loves jewelry; and be entertaining and fun, highlighting local holiday events, asking imaginative questions or trivia questions and more.

3. Repurpose and reuse. Don’t hesitate to use engaging content multiple times on different platforms, especially if a post is getting shared or liked, Worley says. It’s not about the quantity of content created; it’s about making engaging, highly relatable content.

4. Use visuals to grab attention. Visual content is king on social media; the right image, video or GIF makes all the difference and stops followers mid-scroll. There are a number of great sources to use here, including Canva to freely and easily create posts or StockSnap for photos.

5. Work with non-profits in your community. Tis the season of giving, and jewelers should be sure to be a part of that. Recent studies show that 90 percent of consumers would switch to a charitable brand given similar price and quality.

Consider a local charity or cause to which a percentage of revenue can be donated or with which you can partner for the season. Once you pick a cause, Worley recommends finding opportunities to add a social spin to your efforts and encourage your followers to share your posts with special promotions.

6. Help followers with gifting. Think of great gift ideas going into the holidays and feature them in posts. O’Neill says it’s best to feature the hot sellers with price points that fit customers’ gift-giving range.

Always link back to the product or gallery of featured products on the store’s website, particularly if it allows consumers to buy online. If you’re doing digital marketing, you can also re-target those users who visit your site to see these products.

Along the same lines, Fish said J.R. Dunn Jewelers is incorporating “giftable” ideas into the store’s Instagram feed of various price ranges to inspire gift giving.

She also suggests making new gift guides catered to individual interests and brand-loyal customers and targeting them specifically to optimize conversion.

7. Try a flash sale on Facebook. Create a compelling offer to buy online for a day. This could mean using a coupon code or placing select products in a sale gallery on the website. And don't forget to push your flash sale post with Facebook advertising, O’Neill says.

This kind of thing isn’t for all retailers and should be limited in scope. He says Fruchtman doesn’t recommend sales during the holidays as it can needlessly eat into margin, so consider doing it sometime between Dec. 15 and 20.

8. Take online to in-store. Does the store offer any special incentives for a consumer to visit, like gift with purchase or special holiday gift grab bags? Push the shopper to stop into the store by creating opportunities for them to need to do so.

9. Run contests. J.R. Dunn is using giveaway contests with season specific on-trend jewelry pieces on preparation for the holiday gift guides and promotions, and Fish says they’re seeing a lot of success with it so far.

10. Feature their stories, too. Fish says that showcasing images and real-life stories of clients getting engaged almost always receives high engagement on social media accounts. It’s also great for helping people connect with the store on an emotional level, especially during the holidays when engagements peak.

11. Show your gratitude. Take some time to let the community around the store know how much it appreciates them. This can be through a thank you to followers and fans for their support, giving shout-outs to loyal customers and showcasing testimonials or sharing support for customers who are giving back.

12. Consider your hashtags carefully. They increase the visibility of posts and campaigns and should be used. Include popular and trending jewelry hashtags in posts the store wants to amplify on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For special events or campaigns, invent a unique hashtag, then ask people to spread the word or share their thoughts using the same hashtag, Strohmeier suggests.

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