A Photo Worth 1000 Likes

As I continue to work on improving my social media standing after a brief hiatus, I look back on what worked for me in the past with a photo that got 1000 likes in 24 hours. Repeating my successes is important but for this post I look at what I can learn from my past, understand a little better how Instagram works and of course review some basic metrics.

In a previous post I talked about a post that ‘trended’ on Instagram and got me to 1000 followers. Trended for this post means it made the explore page and was found organically. I have had posts that have resonated well with my followers but do not always make it to a wider online audience. You may have experience that as well.

I few months ago I shared a brooch that caught my eye at a Skinner Auctions preview with my followers. It was a lady carved in chalcedony with a diamond and opal tiara that was adorned in more diamonds and opals. My picture was a bit blurry at the bottom but overall not bad. I loved it but did not expect the reaction I got after posting it. Not only was the picture liked by my followers, Instagram thought it worthy to share with a wider audience and within a day I had over 1000 likes!

What was different about this picture from others I posted? For me a few things come to mind:

 

  • Variety-I post a lot of diamonds, flowers, and big statement pieces (like David Webb). This was the first post in a long time that had a face on it. A face in blue chalcedony which is a little unique.
  • Trends-My lady had a tiara and regal look to her. This summer has been all about the royal wedding of Harry and Megan, so that probably didn’t hurt my chances of getting my photo noticed. Also, as of today #tiara has 1.4 million posts, #tiaras have over 467,000 posts and a favorite hashtag of mine #tiaratuesday has over 9,000 posts. People love a good tiara.
  • Patience (& luck)– I had been a consistent poster and I know Instagram has ways of telling who is resonating well with their followers. For me I have started to see trends for what my followers like. I keep that in mind when taking photos or making captions.

 

How much does the Instagram Algorithm play in my account’s success?

The algorithm is like Facebook, the more your followers like your posts the more likely those posts will show up at the top of your followers’ feeds. The short answer is in my opinion about 85% is determined by the Instagram Algorithm.

How can you influence that other 15%?

Posting consistently so your followers go to your Instagram page and see what you’ve got if it did not show up in their feed. Take some time out to just like your followers’ posts and show some love back. I need to do more with this as well.

What can a trending post do for my account? (basic social media metrics)

Besides growing your following, this picture in about 38 hours gave me 113 new followers. It can increase your engagement for that post and others. I had about a 10% engagement rate (Likes of a post divided by followers) from that post. It varies by industry but typically a 2-3% engagement rate is good, for example if you have 10,000 followers you should be getting around 200-300 likes per post. For me at the time of the post I ranged between 250-350 likes. The next photo I posted got over 700 likes. I kept up with the tiara trend for one more day.

Have you ever had a trending photo? What was it? Would you like to improve your engagement and attract more followers? Reach out to me and we can come up with strategies to test to grow your social media presence and your business. Return next week for more Data in the Rough!

 

How to comeback from a Social Media Hiatus

Are you struggling to keep up with your social media? Do you take long breaks between posting or wish you could call it quits? I took a month-long social media hiatus and started back tonight after reflecting on why I am really doing this. I discuss how I got to this point and what helped me refocus.

It’s like anything else you put off, once you find something else to do or a reason to stop; time slips away and you return to the task and see how much work you still have. Sometimes you do need a break. I took one recently from my Instagram and other social channels. It can get overwhelming not only balancing another job, but social media can make you feel like you’re competing over who has more followers, better photos or a more relevant story than you. Time to admit that all happened to me.

As I’ve mentioned some, I am not a full-time blogger, I am an analyst in the Retail Industry. This job is not as sexy as some of the other flashier (or more sparkly) jobs out there. My skill set is one that I feel is needed in this industry, I love numbers and am not afraid to use them. I also understand designers, artists and small business owners who struggle to maintain a social media presence and are unsure how analytics can work for them.

So, what do you do when you stop and need to get back to posting on social media? I have a few tips that have helped me get back my focus and start maintaining my sites again.

  1. Don’t rush back into posting. Sounds counter intuitive but it is ok to take a break. I have maintained the same number of followers since I stopped posting in August. I gain some one day and lose others the next, but it balances out. It’s better to take a moment and reflect than burn out again. Which leads to the next point…
  2. Ask yourself the ‘why’ questions. The first ‘why am I doing this?’ In this case posting on a social media channel. If money is your main answer you will be lost in a sea of accounts that all are wanting quick returns. The real question is ‘why do I think I have a unique viewpoint that others will follow and respond to?’ I have been thinking about that. I don’t have the access to as many big-name jewelry events as I’d like too. I also don’t have the connections to the big jewelry designers and workshops to give me a decent stream of exclusive content. My answer, I am looking at more than just the name or the cost I am looking at the craftsmanship and the story, especially how those translated with data.
  3. Think about your answers above and make a plan for posting. Don’t worry about posting in the evening, afternoon or morning; what will you post is more important right now than when. If you are creating a new piece show the inspiration in one post and walk through the stages to the finished product. Ultimately you want to convey what you are hoping for which is sales but do it by showing who you are and what you offer.

 

I forget that too and can get caught up in all the excitement. It’s also a reason you need someone to help you understand what is working and what is not. My not so subtle way of mentioning my consulting on digital and social media analytics. If you are interested in a more in-depth chat send me an email (data.inthe.rough@gmail.com) and we can talk. Also keep following my blog for more tips and my own journey to discover the data in the rough!

Also, since I can’t go with out a picture of a fabulous jewel. A David Web piece I posted tonight to get back into the social media cycle. Enjoy and good luck!

Putting the ‘Social’ back into my Social Media

I keep my blog focused on jewelry, but for two months I’ve been silent. To my readers I apologize. Blogging is not my main job. The role of business analyst has been what has paid my bills. In early April, my current job at a retail eCommerce company outside of Boston Massachusetts ended due to a poor holiday season. For the retailers out there, I’m sure you can empathize with that struggle.

I signed up for unemployment and am actively seeking a new job opportunity. What does this have to do about jewelry? Not much, it does have an impact on my blog and social media strategy. The quote that comes to mind…

I would not go so far to say I did any ‘soul searching’ but I have been looking at my situation and what I could have done differently. I would have liked a stronger network. For the past two and a half years I was volunteering in a women’s group. I realized that when all this happened my hopes that those years would be reason enough to help me when I was down were wrong. At the last meeting, I stepped down from my role. What I needed and what they were offering left me with the realization that I stayed on the wrong path for too long. I wasn’t being involved in the things I loved.

Chanel has it right. I am knocking on new doors and volunteering for a group that helps entrepreneurs with their marketing and social media strategy. This is something I am passionate about and I believe will help me find  a better job.

Not having a regular routine is challenging. My biggest challenge finding people to socialize with and not make my unemployment situation the focus. This brings me to the blog and title of the post. Social media lately has felt less social. I like other accounts photos, they like mine, maybe a comment is exchanged but not a lot is learned about the person. With the first day of summer approaching I am going to work on putting the social back into my social media. I plan to do that by utilizing Instagram stories, sharing more of life in New England and learning more about the jewelry industry through interviews with store owners, designers, anyone with a story to tell. Who’s with me?

Thank you for following me and taking your time reading this post. Please feel free to comment below or email me direct at data.inthe.rough@gmail.com . Check back soon for more exciting news from Data in the Rough!

Reevaluating Your Social Media Plan with 3 Lessons from a Tortoise and a Hare

Two years ago, this month I started posting on Data in the Rough.  The time felt right to continue working on something I was passionate about, jewelry and analytics. I have not done as much analysis as I would like to but I see that as an improvement not a failure. With the holidays’ over and winter in its last stages, it really is an ideal time for anyone that has made a resolution to reevaluate their goals and benchmark their progress. For me it is focusing a little more on driving insight and results through data around me. One way is to refocus on my social media plan.

I am on the usual platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.  I have also consulted a few people on their social media for their personal or business use, mainly Facebook and Instagram. The comments and questions I get center around followers, engagement, content to put out, protecting your intellectual property and return on investment, to name a few. All these platforms have different audiences and expectations. So how does a small business owner or someone looking to create their personal brand do it and not waste too much time? A strong and adaptable social media strategy!

To do that you need a plan and a focus. For that I have 3 suggestions as you find the right social media plan and strategy. Since this blog focuses on the jewelry industry I am going to use jewelry from Christie’s auction house to highlight some important lessons from the Aesop fable, The Tortoise and the Hare, that you can apply to creating a stronger social media plan.

Rabbit – by Kutchinsky sold for $10,032 at Christie’s London Auction, gold and gemstones; Turtle – by David Webb sold at Christie’s online auction, gold, platinum, lapis lazuli, mabe pearl, diamonds

So you want to join the latest social media craze, everyone is talking about it, everyone seems to be on it. You should be too, right?

  1. Look at what you are currently doing and see if it is possible to effectively use this new tool. The tortoise challenged the hare to a race, not to prove the tortoise was faster but that he could beat the hare. Can you see yourself benefiting from this new platform? Are your customers asking about your presence on this platform? Is your target audience on this platform? How much time are you willing to spend or pay someone to spend?
Rabbit- by Cartier sold a Christie’s Geneva Auction for $18,118, gold, ruby, enamel; Turtle- artist unknown sold for $15,000, diamonds, pearl
  1. Look at your own attention span and current social media platforms you are on. Do you have patterns that may make it difficult to focus on starting this new social media tool? How can you improve your current social media accounts to learn about yourself and your business moving forward. The hare is clearly faster but he got distracted comparing himself to others. Taunting the tortoise on his slower strategy without thinking about his own did not change either racer.

    Turtle-unknown artist, online auction, emerald, diamond, ruby; Rabbit-by Raymond Yard sold at Christie’s for $37,500, diamond, multi-gem
  2. Don’t compare yourself with others on social media. This is the hardest and most important thing to remember when online. It is hard not to see others bounding ahead and you continue to inch by or feels like you are standing still. The tortoise (turtle) knew that the hare (rabbit) was faster but his slow and steady pace worked for this one race. As I mentioned above, had the rabbit worried about his own progress and not of the turtles then he would have easily done better by finishing the race at his own pace. The rabbit got distracted by the turtle. There are times you’ll feel like the tortoise and see lots of ‘wascally wabbits’ pass you by.
Turtle- by Van Cleef & Arpels sold at Christie’s online, pink and blue sapphires,gold; Rabbit-unknown artist sold at Christie’s London for $893, gold, diamonds, ruby

 

They get featured on a blog or have a photo that earns them a lot of likes and followers. That kind of thing happens with the world of social media and ‘overnight’ success stories. You need to only focus about your brand and your story. A clear focus and some daily effort can get you a clear path to your own finish line!

That also leads to another question you need to answer, what will be your primary measurement of success for this platform?  Using money as your only way to gage success can leave you missing valuable opportunities. For the jewelry industry, it can take several visits either in a store or online before a purchase is made. The platform you choose to be on is another touch point. Somethings to consider when looking at measurements for your return on investment:

  • Can you sell on this platform?
  • How secure is the payment method?
  • Will this affect your relationship with other stores that sell your product?
  • Is your supply chain agile enough to take an increase in your business? Do your other vendors/suppliers have other clients that may take a higher priority?

So then how can you make progress for your brand if money is not a great metric? Some suggestions for other metrics:

  • Brand awareness-Getting more people interested in your brand could lead you to be picked up by a store or featured on a blog.
  • Getting a specific message out- Are you supporting a cause that is affecting a greater population? I have seen companies that are wanting to make money but also have social issues that need to be addressed, like ending human trafficking.
  • Engagement with your customers-Social media is a great way to get feedback and test out new ideas with your fan base.

This is only a starting point. I am going to continue to look at different social media platforms and tools to see what might help you in moving forward with your social media plan. It’s a race with yourself that will determine your outcome.  Keep following Data in the Rough for more on jewelry and the data behind the diamonds. Let me know your thoughts on the subject and what platforms you’d like to hear about. Instagram is a favorite of mine so I’ll be posting a bit more on that throughout the next few months. As a thank you for reading this post below are my two favorite pieces of jewelry that I found when looking for turtle and rabbit jewelry to use for my blog.

A pink diamond and white diamond rabbits’ brooch with a ruby by Graff sold at Christie’s Hong Kong Auction for a little over $129,000. The turtle is an antique brooch sold a Christie’s auction for $70,500 and is made of opals, diamonds and rubies!