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Retailers doing Facebook right

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Jennifer Gandia, co-owner of Greenwich Jewelers, started her Facebook journey like many other retail jewelers. “I looked at the Facebook log-in page, took a deep breath and said to myself, ‘what do I do with this thing?’” says the New York City-based retailer.

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Jennifer Gandia (standing) and her sister Christina Gandia Gambale, co-owners of New York City-based Greenwich Jewelers, have generated over 9,000 “likes” on Facebook by making sure their page always contains “newness” - new product, new designers, new trends, etc.
That was two years and 9,000-plus Facebook “likes” ago. For Jennifer and her sister Christina, since day one there’s always been a consistency in their store’s Facebook content: “newness.”

Known for carrying fashion-forward jewelry from an eclectic range of designers, Facebook content for Greenwich Jewelers has always had a laser-like focus on new products in the store, new designers brought on, breaking fashion trends, the latest celebrity jewelry news – who’s wearing what and how - and showing a lot of product (mainly in photo albums).

Daniel Pesis, who manages social keeping it real,” says Daniel. “By trial and error we’ve learned what content works best for us, but we’ve always remained authentic, to let the store’s reputation shine through as people learn more about us as people and as business owners.”

With nearly 5,000 likes (at press time 4,472), the Minneapolis-based store’s early “keeping it real” content started with uploads of Jimmy’s passion for fishing in Minnesota’s many lakes. An image of Jimmy holding up a prize catch, and an accompanying brief story on landing the sizable fish, was the “share your fish stories” posting that gave the homespun content its start.

Showing hometown pride in Minnesota professional sports teams, namely the Twins and the Vikings, was another way of conveying the “real” message. As the “preferred jeweler” to both teams, in-store autograph signing events proved to not only increase sales, but provide Facebook content that attracted an incredible amount of attention.

Continental Diamond’s success with Minnesota’s baseball and football teams gave them the incentive to partner with the Timberwolves. During home game time outs and intermissions at basketball games, the store-sponsored “KissCam” captures couples kissing in the arena.

Images of the couples are then posted on the store’s website complete with links, like, and sharing options to Facebook. Couples caught kissing by the KissCam are instructed during games to find their image on the store’s website and identify themselves for a chance to win prizes.

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John Walp, general manager of Virginia Beach, VA-based Long Jewelers, started the store’s Facebook page in 2009. His formula of staying positive, steady communication/information sharing and having fun has attracted 5,500 “likes.”
“We want people to know we’re a relaxed and fun place to buy jewelry,” says Daniel.

“Fun” is also the operative word for Long Jewelers’ Facebook content. The Virginia Beach, Virginia-based retailer’s general manager Jon Walp started the store’s Facebook page in spring 2009. A few short months later at the June JCK Las Vegas show that year, social media was one the leading topics of retailer conversations at the annual trade event.

With 5,500 likes and growing, Jon and his staff have had continued success attracting “likes” and keeping people’s interest by, “Always having a positive attitude,” says Jon. “We never try to sell, and are always communicating and having fun on Facebook.”

An industry veteran of 35 years, Jon friended many of his long-time colleagues to shore up “likes” for the store’s Facebook page, then moved on to “like” store vendor partners. Tacori and Verragio were jewelry makers Jon thought were doing well with Facebook when he was getting his store’s social media efforts started three years ago, and looked to them as industry inspirations.

A self-admitted “shy guy,” Jon likes Facebook because it’s an outlet to give his store and himself a voice in the community. After sharing some of his social media success stories with fellow Rotary Club members, friends encouraged him to adopt a “Love Doctor” alter ego on Facebook. Jon has been using the handle ever since.

Developing a regular rhythm of timely and relevant content that reflects a jewelry store’s core strengths and market position, while engaging customers and getting them to interact with you and your staff and other Facebook fans, is the tougher of the two key social media challenges: the other is bringing the big numbers of “likes” and “friends.”

Jennifer, her sister Christina, and their staff started their Facebook page just two years ago. Contests and giveaways have been their store’s tried-and-true methods of attracting fans and friends since early 2010. But inviting the store’s many designers to talk about product, and having them “like” Greenwich Jewelers’ Facebook page has been a big boost to the retailer’s sizeable fan base.

For Continental Diamond, shoring up their fan base was a slow build back in late 2009. By early 2010, the store hit the four-digit barrier with a $100 gift card giveaway for Valentine’s Day. After that, a regular drum beat of their staple content, creative campaigns, contests, and giveaways created a steady increase in their Facebook numbers.

But last Christmas, a $25,000 giveaway of Judith Ripka jewelry brought in an astounding 3,000 fans during the holiday season, an event that pushed the store’s fan base to its current level. “It was a very complex contest to structure with the designer, with a lot of logistics behind it, but it was a huge social media success for the store,” says Daniel.

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Jimmy and Helain Pesis, owners of Continental Diamond in Minneapolis, MN, are closing in on 5,000 “likes” on their Facebook page. The couple’s son, Daniel Pesis manages the store’s social media.
After building a fan base of friends, industry colleagues, and valued vendor partners, Jon “liked” local media, national media, as well as entertainment and fashion news Facebook pages to stay current on content while bringing some of their local fan base to Long Jewelers’ Facebook wall.

But the big Facebook fan surges came with two store events. The first was a Royal Wedding event last spring that included a giveaway of a sapphire and diamond ring, similar to the late Lady Diana’s ring Kate Middleton wore on her big day. Jon worked with the local Military Aviation Museum as the venue for the event’s reception. That event took Long’s from 1,500 to roughly 3,000 fans.

The store’s fan base hovered around the 3,000s for most of 2011, with another big surge coming in January. Jon organized a like Long’s for a $500 gift card giveaway in time for the store’s annual clearance sales when jewelry was marked down from 30 to 70 percent off.

The gift card contest brought in huge numbers of fans for Long’s, but giving Facebook fans early access to the sale was a huge hit. This was the store’s first attempt at a Facebook fan appreciation party. Ever the contrarian, this event was all about selling for Jon and his staff. But he, like other jewelers, has bigger ambitions for Facebook.

“Reaching 5,000 fans is a good goal to meet,” says Jon. “But what I want is the friends of our 5,000 fans to be part of our Facebook fan base.”

 
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