Two of the Instagram accounts Jacqueline Stone calls out in her column as being examples of best practices are @ToddReedJewelry (left) and @DanielleLanslots.
Instagram is one of the fastest-growing social media networks on the planet, so it’s not shocking I have people ask me questions about it every day.

2018 Jacqueline StoneRecovering jewelry designer Jacqueline Stone is CEO of her own marketing consulting and coaching business, Bubblegum and Duct Tape.If you’ve been following my column, you’ll note there’s been talk of many other digital marketing strategies that have shown stronger results in driving traffic to your website.

However, let’s not get discouraged. When used correctly Instagram can be one of the most powerful tools in your marketing toolbox.

Today we’ll review some of my favorite tips and best practices to employ when building an interested and engaged following on the ‘Gram.

1. Quality Content Is Key

Quality content is at the heart of a good marketing plan and an effective way to increase your SEO. What a lot of people miss is that social media wasn’t originally created for us to sell product but to be used as a platform for connection, sharing and artistic expression.

Becky Stone of Diamonds in the Library explains: “I think the best thing that a designer can do to increase their Instagram audience is to focus on creating quality, on-message content that truly helps advance the story of who you are as a brand. Worry less about using the right hashtags and more about what you’re trying to say big picture.”


When you look at Instagram as an extension of your design efforts, it lands more authentically and will help you cultivate that loyal tribe that you crave.

2. Create a Compelling Biography

You’re on Instagram! Congratulations, welcome to the community that is currently 111 million strong.

Now, what makes you stand out? Why should anyone pay attention to what you have to say?

It’s important to create a killer biography so everyone can know what you are about and, more importantly, why they should care.

The biggest mistake I see clients make is when they only talk about themselves and don’t consider the audience. Instead of “I’m a fine jewelry designer” why not try, “Passion for creating fine jewelry that tells your story.”

What are you trying to accomplish and how does that help others (and/or the greater good)? How can your followers join in?

Keep your bio short, sweet and to the point. Include a personal hashtag for your brand that people can get behind. Think of #SavorSilver, #LoveGold, #ShowMeYourRings or #StacksAretheNewBlack for inspiration.

All these popular hashtags have one thing in common—they are asking you to participate.

Don’t forget to include a way for people to contact you. Having an email handy if you are selling product is essential to getting the results you want over time.

3. Make It a Daily Practice

Yes, you heard correctly. While at first this might seem daunting, it really doesn’t require quite as much time as one might think. I often have my clients set a daily reminder on their calendar to get in the habit. What time of day works best for you? I often jump on Instagram in the morning while sipping my coffee. This is a time to like or comment on any image that strikes your fancy. It’s also the time to nurture your Instagram stories.

Danielle Lanslots, an artist with an Instagram 59,000 followers strong, agrees.

“The best thing creatives (of all mediums) can do is to post beautiful, intriguing, unique and on-brand images and to post them every single day, at roughly the same time,” she said.

4. Offer Simplicity

You have created a flow and are posting daily, engaging with friends, and now people are landing on your profile page to check out your killer content and amazing biography. Take it a step further and offer a simple way to connect deeper with Linktree.

This service allows you direct traffic from your Instagram page to exactly where you’d like them to go.

Perhaps you mentioned a blog in a story or chatted about a very specific engagement ring in a post. With Linktree you have the ability to offer a way for your audience to find these links easily without having to shuffle through the pages on the site. It gives them what they want and offers you additional statistics on how your tribe behaves online. It also offers a simple and easy way for them to connect with you on a deeper level.

20190924 Third Coast Gems Insta storyAn example of a dynamic Instagram story from @ThirdCoastGems

5. Tell a Story

There is power in storytelling rather than selling.

While you might have a retail jewelry store, you need to recognize that you aren’t selling a service or a product; rather, you are creating meaningful experience.

Share the joy of your job, your behind-the-scenes process, even your misgivings in your Instagram story feed. You can use stickers, GIFs, text, markers and so many other cool tools to add panache to your storyline.

This is an extremely effective way to establish connections and develop a devoted tribe. I think it’s essential to include stories every day. Again, if you’ve got 10-15 minutes a day to devote to your daily Instagram practices, that adds up over time. Consistency is key!

20190924 Todd Reed InstagramAn example of some beautiful highlight buttons from @ToddReedJewelry

6. Streamline Your Highlights

While we’re talking stories, make sure to organize them with Instagram Story Highlights. You’ll want to take time to develop your highlight buttons so they are on brand and offer a compelling reason to click.

PicMonkey, a graphic design tool for people who know nothing about graphic design, makes it easy to create beautiful buttons.

7. Develop Friendships

Some might not recognize it, but the true purpose of social media is to get social.

Long gone are the days where friends spend hours on the telephone. Instead we trade photography and commentary in a digital space.

What interests you? What makes you stop and go “Oooh, that’s amazing!”? Be sure to stop and take a moment to comment.

Your friend is sure to be grateful, and it starts building your tribe.

For example, I have a personal account for fun about tarot cards. I’m always going onto friends’ accounts and letting them know what I like about their readings or their deck in the comments. They often do the same for me.

Benjamin Guttery of @ThirdCoastGems agrees: “Instagram’s boosted post targeting still isn’t tailored well for the jewelry industry. You’re better off engaging more with those outside of your niche category to grow your business. Comments can work wonders.”

20190924 Danielle LanslotsAn example of a consistent feed, @DanielleLanslots

8. Stay on Topic

It’s important to set a monthly intention for your business and have that motive trickle into all of your digital marketing efforts. Social media is no different.

For example, perhaps you want to set an intention of “love” for October. You could talk about engagements, proposals, partnerships, chance meetings, engagement rings, weddings and/or wedding bands. So much territory to cover!

You then break it down each week. Let’s say for the last week of October you’ve decided to talk about proposals. You could write a blog sharing your own experience and/or your experience building custom engagement rings for your clients, or talk about your favorite project.

You could post images of your own engagement, sketches of rings you’ve done for clients, images of the final result of those sketches, your clients’ proposals and perhaps a client or two sporting a ring.

Don’t forget to tag Engagement 101 if you have a story that is noteworthy!

9. Employ a Social Media Scheduler

This is the key to running a successful marketing campaign on social media. Posting every day allows your audience to know they can count on you to show up and join the conversation.

Having your topic-focused content roll out on autopilot might not seem strategic, but actually this is probably the most important piece in obtaining results.

You’ve basically taken your weekly blog (that came from a monthly intention) and broken it up in bite-sized pieces. I take about 2-4 hours each week to bang this out for my business account, depending on the complexity of topic and how detailed I’d like to get.

While this runs automatically, I’m also logging in daily to see what’s going on in real time. I can repost something that interests me, edit a post if something happens to inadvertently get dated (based on recent events) and I can even throw up another post or two on the fly.

Having the bulk of my content run on a scheduler ensures my content is consistent, streamlined and visually stunning. It allows me to solely focus on the engaging conversation at hand.

Not sure which social media scheduler is right for you? I did a pretty thorough review on my blog that might help.


10. Tag Your Product

Last, but not least, don’t forget to add shoppable tags to the product pictured in posts. While shameless self-promotion is discouraged, people are going to be curious as to where to buy that incredible ring.

Leeorah Betan-Hartman of Lulu and Shay understands this tactic well: “Tag your products! It doesn’t have to be every post, but some of them so people know where to find them online easily.”

I hope these tips help and encourage you to put renewed energy into your Instagram.

Often, I see clients who get frustrated because results are not immediate in this medium. What it takes is consistent, daily effort over time. Those who put in the time and energy every day are the successful ones.

Remember the turtle and the hare? We turtles, who find joy and enthusiasm in creating engaging content daily, soon find ourselves to be “influencers.” Once this milestone is achieved, you’d be shocked at how many doors across digital channels are unlocked.

A recovering jewelry designer, Jacqueline Stone has a diverse background in finance, marketing, advertising, product development, fine jewelry manufacturing, design and sourcing. Now she serves as the CEO of her own marketing consulting and coaching business, Bubblegum and Duct Tape. Stone can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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