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Jewelry Marketing 101: What’s NOT Working

Gem Gossip

So you’re the creative type…or the type that has a unique eye. You’re a jewelry designer, an antique jewelry seller, or someone that has jewelry ready to sell. Jewelry marketing is a whole different realm of what most would consider typical jewelry business tasks. It is something I never thought I would be able to give my opinion on, but I can because I’ve lived it and found myself in this sector of the business more than I realized. I’m trying to break down my tips into simple steps anyone can take, whether you’re a veteran in this business and want to try something new or if you just graduated from a trade school with a jewelry collection on the horizon. So here is my list of ways you can market your brand or your jewelry line, with an emphasis on things that also DON’T work!

1. Photography is everything! Invest in a good camera or better yet, someone that is a photographer with jewelry or product photography as their specialty. If you ask anyone, they will tell you–jewelry is so hard to photograph! And they’re right. 

Good photos may be a key aspect to showing off jewelry and that isn’t groundbreaking news. But what I’m about to say next might be: don’t use photos that are highly photoshopped or unrealistic. As a consumer, we want to see the actual piece of jewelry in a real setting–make it relatable, attainable. I don’t want to see an overphotoshopped model wearing jewelry in a posed setting with a fake smile. I want to see real women wearing jewelry in their everyday lives. Editorial shoots are cool, but just don’t overphotoshop.

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2. Social media platforms are SO important. Set yours up to look professional, concise and engaging. You want someone to look at your page and become interested. Grab their attention. Something that is quite popular right now is having a condensed, clean look that all flows together. Basically, a uniform and on-brand look. Every picture fits with your brand and is professionally executed. 

This sounds all good, but I’m actually going to tell you the opposite.  I like when jewelry brands mix things up, keep me on my toes and post photos that are off-the-cusp. Keep me INTERESTED. Uniform branding is often BORING. For example, here’s what not to do: first post is a high res image of a ring, next photo is a quote, next photo is the jewelry worn on a model, next image is a bunch of flowers, and then it repeats without missing a step. Nothing random ever thrown in the mix. Don’t do that!

I’ve asked Brooke of Arrow & Anchor Antiques, which boasts nearly 18k followers on Instagram with only 550 posts ever, what her opinion on the matter is…she says,“I am hesitant to have a uniform branding for my company. My aesthetic is my brand and it’s all over the place.  I dig that. It may not appeal to the masses, but is that really my target audience? I’m selling one-of-a-kind vintage and antique pieces that might be better sold in an intimate setting like a trunk show or private sale.”

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3. My third tip piggy backs off the second in terms of being a marketing ploy that is exemplified on Instagram. BE PERSONAL. I love when designers put themselves into their Instagram posts and by that, I don’t mean post lots of selfies. You’ve put your heart and soul into your designs, why don’t you do that with your Instagram posts. If you look at it from an artistic point of view you won’t be as intimidated to put yourself out there. 

Again, with any of my tips, there’s another side to what I just said. Sometimes being too personal is not a good thing and can turn people away. You’ve got to have a good balance of your work and your personal side to make it complete.

Here’s a list for those who like lists:

YES: share your office space, share a family photo, a funny throwback of yourself as a child, have a cute pet? share!, do you have other interests or hobbies–we’d love to see

NO: never drink and Instagram–drunk photos are the worst and unprofessional, if you get in one of those moods, Instagram Stories is a place where you can drunkenly post some debauchery but don’t go overboard. I’m all about the freedom of expression and that includes freely voicing your political opinion. However, I feel that doing so in subtle ways often harbors a better outcome than an in-your-face rant. 

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4. Utilize your resources. So many jewelry designers are already featured in some really great stores and boutiques, but they are constantly searching for more stores or bigger/better. Work with what you have and to its fullest capacity! What I mean by this is to make sure you’re benefiting as much as possible from being featured at the stores you’re already signed with. Be sure you’re present on their social media and a part of their marketing strategies.  If you’re in five stores, that should mean your marketing is five times greater than just yourself. 

The wrong strategy would be to get into a store and not pay attention to its growth since your focus becomes landing other stores.

5. Collaborate and advertise right. Try new forms of advertising–like maybe cancel your Yellow Pages ad or local newspaper spot. It is 2017 and social media has proven to be highly successful in terms of advertising, so if you’re still resisting acknowledging it as a valid form of advertising, wake up!

Choosing people to collaborate is a great way to foster relationships with others and tap into their audience. Collaborating should be beneficial for both, so deciding on who to team up with may be tricky. Please do your research! Whether it is a blogger, influencer, social media expert, brand ambassador…whatever they may call themselves, it doesn’t matter their title–their numbers matter. BUT DIG DEEPER. Big numbers can often lie. 

Yes, that’s right. There are increasingly more and more pages who are buying followers and likes. It is sad because doing so is not fair to those who don’t want any part of this, as it effects everyone. It is even more sad because there are people that are soliciting money from designers and companies for posting on Instagram–and they are the ones with fake likes and fake followers. That’s what bothers me the most. The lies and deceit that are happening (in plain sight, at least for me) and designers are still “blinded by the numbers.”

So how can you as a jewelry designer tell if certain influencers or bloggers are buying followers/likes? I’ve noticed these on accounts that I believe are doing just that:


  • If they are increasing their number of followers WAY TOO QUICKLY, like within a matter of a few months. Especially if they haven’t had the account for more than a few years.
  •  If you click on their “followers” and many of their followers are names that are in different languages. Also if these “followers” are following a ton of people but they themselves have no followers. These are called DUMMY accounts and are created by companies who sell followers/likes.
  •  If people post an Instagram photo and they get comments like “get followers” in weird writing within seconds of posting photo. I’ve seen this frequently and I’m not 100% sure if this is true, but I think the more followers people buy, the more spammy comments they get. It’s like opening up a can of worms. 
  •  Look at the average number of likes per photo on an account.  If there are photos that have thousands of likes on one picture…and then 300 likes on another, that’s a red flag.  Sure this happens to people that don’t buy followers, but if you’ve been following a “fishy” account, you will see the dramatic difference and what I mean by this. My account for example does fluctuate with likes, but has a somewhat consistent average. Yes, I’ve had the random 4-7 photos out of 5900 photos I’ve ever posted in my entire Instagram career to go viral, but that is a different story (and yes, I have no idea how those photos went viral).


I will leave you with this quote I tweeted out a few days ago, “It’s not rocket science. Big diamonds get lots of likes. But do you have a brand? A personality? A passion?” 




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