By Lilian Raji
Lilian Raji is a strategic communications and public relations adviser who helps companies understand their marketing problems, then designs and executes strategies to solve them.
Hello, my dear readers! Please forgive my absence. I’ve spent the summer laboring over my first e-book, “Influencer Fraud: Weeding Out the Fakers, Liars and the Delusional.”

Given that influencer fraud is now a $1.3 billion racket, I’m certain you’ll forgive me once you’ve picked up your free copy. Identifying influencer fraud is too immense a topic to cover in this column, so use this e-book with my compliments to protect yourself from scammers.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled column already in progress, as we finish our three-part series on turning one of your staff members into a super influencer, whom we’ve dubbed “Anastasia.”

In case you need a refresher, below is the original question and here are links to Part I and Part II.

Q. Dear Lilian,
Rather than paying influencers to help promote our business, how can I turn my staff into influencers?

Keeping the Bacon at Home

A. How’s your hashtag strategy now that you’ve learned how to do it correctly? Have you been dazzling the 2,300 people who want to know #howtoaccessorize? What about the 35,000 who must know your jewelry #goeswitheverything?

If you’ve never considered hashtags like these, you’re not stretching your creative mind far enough. Our favorite grand dame, Patricia Faber, knows what we’re talking about here.

To promote Aaron Faber Gallery’s Barbara Heinrich collection, Patricia used #personalstyle, #putaringonit, #loveisallyouneed, #letmechoose and #powerofthering. Altogether, these five hashtags exposed Aaron Faber to more than 3 million Instagrammers.

More kudos to Patricia for choosing hashtags with a broad range of followers.

While #personalstyle has 2.6 million uses, #powerofthering only has 233. I assure you, however, those 233 followers are serious about the power of the ring. All 233 are more likely to see your post than all #personalstyle’s 2.6 million. Since Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags for posts and 10 for stories, there’s no reason not to diversify your selections.

Next, do you know how I landed Beth Farber’s jewelry in the recently concluded TV crime drama “Gotham?”

Simple; I asked. And that’s what you must do.

Email your customers an invitation to follow Anastasia’s Instagram account. Answer that ever-important question, “What’s in it for me?” with, “If you follow the account within the next seven days, you’ll receive a $50 gift certificate off your next purchase of $250 or more.”

Every few weeks, Anastasia will host an Instagram contest. Send out emails announcing this contest, making it clear they must follow Anastasia for a chance to win. She’ll pick the winner of a sparkling, new fill-in-the-blank from her followers.

While you’ll announce the winner on Instagram, also send an email featuring the winner’s Instagram profile so you can instigate FOMO. (That’s fear of missing out, for all my non-millennials.)

(Also, just to let you know, I pick accounts to feature in this column from my Instagram followers. Make sure you’re following me to be on my radar.)

See how easy that was?

Need contest ideas?

How about hosting an “Accessorize Your Style” contest? Followers post pictures of themselves wearing a perfect outfit that could be made even more perfect with something from your store. They tag Anastasia to get her attention, and Anastasia, in turn, re-grams (or re-posts to her account) the picture. Whoever gets the most “likes” wins. Competitive followers will tag friends to encourage likes; those friends will then be inspired to follow you.

Find other jewelry, fashion or style-related accounts with 25,000-plus followers and take a peek at their followers. Now, follow those followers who are aggressive on Instagram. If they’re already fans of, say, Chopard, why wouldn’t they be fans of yours? Following them puts you on their radar and encourages them to follow you back.

One thing that’s absolutely necessary—a link from your website to your Instagram page. Bonus points if your website shows your Instagram feed in real time. Make it easy for customers to follow you without having to leave the “add to cart” button on your website.

Also, be consistent in your posting schedule. If you can’t post every day, commit to at least four days per week. The easiest way to do this? Schedule your posts in advance.

If you’re following me on Instagram (as you should be), you know that every Sunday at 12 p.m., you’ll be voting on your favorite of three different jewelry selections, each chosen from my jewelry show archives. Note: I’m not on Instagram every Sunday at noon, but my followers still show up to vote. Scheduling is your best friend.

Also, absolutely, positively, without fail, reply to every comment with a thoughtful, engaging response. Who doesn’t like being acknowledged for sharing their thoughts? Doing so encourages others to engage with you.

Engagement yields relationships, which breeds new customers. Never forget this.

Don’t worry about how long it takes to reach 50,000 followers. Your followers are arriving organically; they’re authentically interested in what you have to offer.

When the time eventually comes to buy jewelry, they’ll remember how you inspired them, like how these amethyst earrings from Martha Seely are inspiring me to hand Martha my Amex.

Your homework: Grab my new, free e-book, “Influencer Fraud: Weeding Out the Fakes, Liars and the Delusional.” I’ve included the original Influencer Marketing Toolkit in the appendix for your convenience.

Get a head start on learning how to identify fraudulent influencers because in my next column, we’ll be discussing the contractual terms of a relationship with outside influencers.

As always, my calendar is here if you need personal attention before then.

Lilian Raji is a strategic communications and public relations adviser who helps companies understand their marketing problems, then designs and executes strategies to solve them. Learn more at Submit questions for Lilian to answer here and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

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