This article was originally posted on Novell’s wedding ring blog:
JCK Magazine’s Mark Smelzer wrote about the jewelry industry beginning to embrace Facebook. Since I have a pretty strong opinion on this subject, I have a lot to say and posted a response to the online article. However, my comments formatted into one giant blob-of-a-paragraph. The message is there, but it’s not easy to follow.
So, in case anyone is interested, below are the relevant parts of Mark’s article, and my response – formatted so it’s easier to read.
The Facebook Era Arrives
By Mark Smelzer — JCK-Jewelers Circular Keystone, 3/1/2009
I’ve just returned from Tucson, Ariz., where I attended the Centurion show and the AGTA show. As always, the warmth of Tucson (figuratively and literally) was a terrific escape and the trip was a chance to see our friends in the industry. Topic No. 1, of course, was the economy and its continuing negative impact on the jewelry industry.
Amid the concerns, there were several fascinating topics of conversation, the most interesting being the rise of Facebook. Suddenly, everyone in the industry is talking about the hugely successful networking site and its impact on their personal and professional lives.
For an industry that once lagged behind the population as a whole with regard to the Internet, it seems we’re finally catching up. JCKonline.com’s traffic numbers continue to boom, with 162,000 unique visitors (individual persons) visiting our site in the month of January alone, our highest monthly traffic ever!
There is a particular sense of a watershed moment with regard to Facebook. It’s one thing for members of our industry to recognize the strategic importance of the Web. It’s quite another for them to incorporate the Internet into their daily personal lives. Through the use of this site and others, we’re finally realizing the role that the Internet plays for millions.
What does this mean to you, the retailer or manufacturer? It means that once again the paradigm has shifted (recall the shift from weekly magazines like Life to television), and once again you need to position yourselves where the traffic is.
Step 1 should be creating personal and business Facebook pages. Once you have a personal page, you can create a page for your business as well. As your network of friends grows on your personal page (you’ll be astonished at how quickly the numbers add up), you can invite them to become a “fan” of your business page as well. As your business fans grow, you’ll have a ready-made list of persons to e-mail on a continuing basis, to inform them of events, charity involvements, trunk shows, new product arrivals, etc.
None of this takes the place of your store or business’s actual Web site. In fact, you want to place as many links (and reasons to link) to your Web site as possible on your business Facebook page. Think of a Facebook page as plopping yourself in the middle of a busy freeway, in the hope of diverting traffic to your site. Go where the traffic is!
Read more at http://www.jckonline.com/article/CA6640742.html.
The Facebook era not only has begun, but it probably can be said that it started a while ago, and it’s pretty much just now starting to be talked about in the jewelry industry. This is a good thing. Maybe even a great thing!
In an age where people like me are asked to either greatly reduce, reserve or even eliminate budgets, tools like Facebook are very valuable. Yes – it’s where the traffic certainly is. However, it should be noted that connecting with the right audience may take quite a bit of work. One page alone may not attract customers to your door automatically.
Novell put up a Facebook page about three weeks ago (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Novell-Design-Studio/45691939078). Over the next few months, I anticipate that I will have to put in a decent amount of time to really get it noticed. In fact, I may even say that promoting Novell wedding rings through a variety of social media channels (blogs, message boards, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Digg, Flickr and many other news and linking websites) will be a big – if not the biggest – part of my job. If you wanna catch a lot of fish, then you definitely have to put your boat where the most fish are. And, of course, have the right bait.
I am very happy to be hearing buzz within the jewelry industry about Facebook and social media in general. I look forward to the day when more manufacturers and retailers make an active presence known to existing and future customers alike. Personally, I want to be next to my competitors on many platforms. That way, consumers can easily compare and choose the manufacturer, product or even metal that’s right for them.
People like to use the term “branding,” but often I wonder if many of those who throw the term into conversations really truly know what “branding” is. At least with Facebook, your message needs to be clear and focused for it to have a chance to work. Even with my page, I know that I have a lot of tweaking to do as well. It looks to be a fun – and educating – journey to take.
“Good-bye” to relying on print ads and glossy brochures alone. “Hello” to more focused and multi-channeled messages.