Thank you very much for this opportunity. The one thing for me right now is getting the mix right with what I’ll call “new age” media (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Yelp, etc.) and traditional types–print, billboards, radio and TV. They are all very important as we need to build new clientele, but not forget our past and who got us to where we are today.
The other part to this is based around the social media platforms. Yelp … as far as I know can be very useful. But we’re talking about another $400 per month in expenses … where do we put our money????
Colin R. Nash
Remember the days when marketing consisted of just a magazine, newspaper or TV ad, perhaps a billboard somewhere, and lots of mail promising instant bliss with the purchase of this super-duper, handy-dandy vacuum cleaner? PR was considered a mysterious form of hoodoo and three-martini lunches at “21” were all the rage. Yellow gold Rolex Presidentials and football-player inspired shoulder pads–(sing it with me now) those were the days!
I kid. I don’t remember those days at all. I’ve completely wiped any memory of them from my mind as nostalgia only delays your progressing with the times. And fortunately–or unfortunately, depending on your outlook–the times are progressing quite rapidly.
As a PR person, I am perplexed (PERPLEXED!) by the number and frequency of the “next big thing” in social media because it means I will now have to investigate yet another thing and see if it’s worthwhile for my clients to adopt. Ninety-eight percent of the time, I discover it’s not–at least not yet, which means I must keep an eye on this nifty new social media gadget for some time before I can thoroughly dismiss it altogether.
So when I read your email, dear Colin, I felt your pain. I felt it deeply, I felt it dearly, and as you’re reading this, I’m sure millions of marketing and PR professionals around the world are all pouring out a few drops of the finest 28-year Glenlivet in honor of your pain.
Now that we’ve taken a moment of silence for your pain, let’s jump in, shall we?
Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Yelp: Where should you invest your money?
Let’s start with Yelp.
We live now in a world where most of us, having to choose between two companies, two restaurants, or two products, will let the opinions of others make up our minds for us. How will I know the ceviche from that local restaurant will really make me feel like I’m dining at a seaside Spanish restaurant if someone else hasn’t told me that’s exactly how they felt when they took their first bite?
Therein lies the power of Yelp: the right or wrong review can send people running to your store or away from your store to your competitor. And although reviews can’t be (legitimately) bought, they can be influenced.
How, you say?
By treating every customer walking through your doors like they’re God’s greatest gift to all of mankind.
I won’t go back into reminiscing about how I was a leading salesperson at Tourneau many years ago. If you’re a loyal reader, as I’m absolutely, positively certain you are, you already know that story.
Pop quiz: What was the moral of that story?
The people who walk through your doors, and the experiences they have within your four walls, will determine what they write on Yelp. To influence them, give them reason to praise you.
So should you invest your limited budget on Yelp? My recommendation: no. Invest in properly training your sales team.
Let’s look at Facebook.
I’m going to tell you a story that, given the times, seems completely unbelievable. But honest to goodness, scout’s honor, I swear it’s the truth.
Once upon a time, you could get likes and followers on Facebook without paying a single dime.
I know! Sounds crazy, right?
This was a time before the existence of FB, and Facebook was this really cool and happening place to hang out, share your thoughts, hopes and dreams, and occasionally shame your misbehaving pets. It was also a place to show how much you loved a particular store by sharing their cool, amazing posts with your friends. And then your friends, realizing what cool, amazing taste you have, shared that same post with their friends. Next thing you know, shares were flying all around and suddenly that store had thousands and thousands of fans–all because of you and your one share, you cool, amazing person, you!
Alas, all good things must come to an end. Now shares are harder to come by than a white dial pre-1990 Rolex Daytona. Stores must now pay to play, and with Facebook’s monstrous growth, good luck getting the same traction from your ad that your shared Facebook posts once had.
But let’s say you bought ads anyway, because, hey, it’s Facebook. And everyone’s on Facebook, right?
The ad shows up on one of your favorite and most influential follower’s feed. She may go to your Facebook page to comment. She may even share your posts. Now, I know you think these things are important for sales, but they’re not. Really. They’re not.
What is important is that something she sees on your Facebook page inspires her (or one of her friends) to come into your store.
It’s lovely to have 50,000 fans. But how often and how much have those 50,000 fans bought from you?
To advise my clients on where they should invest their social media advertising dollars, I pore through pages and pages of research every few months that tells me which social media sites are actually converting followers and fans into money-spending machines.
Would you be surprised if I told you Facebook is not on the top of the list? And what’s more, the customers that do come from Facebook spend the least amount of money than all other social media sources.
Gasp! The horror!
All of that time spent coming up with catchy posts and figuring out that “white diamond tennis bracelet” rhymes with “a gift better than a facelift,” and now I’m telling you this didn’t make people come dashing through your doors.
Now, before you run off to demand your graphic designer make a “You’re DEAD to me, Facebook!” GIF as your last and final Facebook post, know that Facebook does help.
Building a brand is a very difficult thing to do; Facebook is an essential part of your brand-building arsenal. And, as you mentioned Colin, you still need to maintain relationships with the fans you were able to build before NASDAQ began influencing how companies could interact with Facebook. Facebook is fantastic for relationship building.
But if you come to me and ask, “Lilian, I only have a limited amount to spend on social media, should I spend it on Facebook?” my answer is no.
There is benefit to advertising on Facebook, but when you have a limited budget, you need to spend it where you, as a jewelry store, will get the most return on your investment. Facebook isn’t it.
So, what do I recommend?
Pinterest and Instagram have proven to be the better money-makers. And when it comes to this business we’re in, this jewelry business of ours, the right picture of the right jewelry can inspire a thousand women to wage war against their fiduciary obligation to their savings account.
Between the two, however, Pinterest users are older and wealthier. And while Instagram is great for inspiring impulse purchases, Pinterest attracts users who are pinning away with purpose.
There are legions of women who use Pinterest to fully plan their weddings, down to their dream wedding and engagement rings and their ultimate wedding jewelry, for themselves, their fiancés, and their entire bridal party.
And what about Twitter?
Eh. Most people aren’t thinking about shopping when they’re on Twitter. They’re thinking about the next 140-character rant they hope will be retweeted.
So in conclusion, Colin, I advise you train your sales team well so they charm Yelp posters into doing the advertising for you.
Save Facebook for building relationships and engagement with your existing customers. Ditto for Twitter.
Invest in Pinterest, and anything leftover in your budget, put towards Instagram.
Now, I’m off to go have a three-martini lunch at the 21 Club with my dear friend, a leading print magazine advertising sales executive. I’ll be tweeting, Instagramming and Facebooking our lunch, because that’s what these times call for.