About 80 percent of Instagrammers follow a business on Instagram and 60 percent say they use it to discover new products. (volusion.com)
By now, you would have probably experienced the great wave of self-made Instagram businesses selling handcrafted jewelry pieces on your feeds. The pandemic definitely sped up the process of this digital phenomenon with increased time at home for creators to sustain or reinvent their businesses.
With the unpredictability of the economy now, you might have thought of hopping onto the bandwagon as well. So, what exactly does one start their own Instagram jewelry business?
Examine pre-existing Instagram businesses
Running an online business is just as tough as running a physical one! Understanding the blood, sweat, and tears that go into one’s virtual store would give you a better idea of how you can build a brand that is solely unique to you.
Since your target customers have a short attention span, visuals serve as the easiest way to attract them to your brand and get them to stay. Thankfully, Instagram is generally used as a photography and videography social media app that helps in brand recognition with high-quality content.
Some useful tips are to look at their use of Lifestyle Photos, engaging caption, and powerful Descriptions. Also, take note of the appropriate hashtags. According to a statistic, 5 to 10 hashtags are the ideal number to use in a post. (picupmedia.com)
You could first brainstorm on a layout, typography, brand-name, and/or tagline that is unique solely to you. Additionally, figuring out what type of jewelry pieces you want to specialize accelerates the selling points of your brand as you would attract your target customers.
It might be useful to note that earrings and necklaces have become increasingly popular. You’ll get more brownie points if they are “quirkier” than what is mass-produced by big brands such as H&M or Lovisa.
Identifying your selling point(s) and defining yourself as a creator.
Once you’ve decided on how your brand would appear visually, it’s time to get cracking on what your brand can bring to the table. It’s easy to get homogenized and forgotten in the larger jewelry community as a generic brand without creating content that only you can produce.
Finding your “personal voice” is definitely a challenge and takes months or even years of refining your craft. Perhaps, you could start by identifying local or cultural aspects of your surroundings. You could also turn to memes, popular culture, films, or food to design your earrings or necklaces.
It took weeks of surfing Instagram before I found @heypizza.co and @attaylia, my two favorite local jewelry businesses.
@heypizza.co pushes the boundaries of handmade jewelry by taking inspiration from items that are authentically local. One of my favorite creations is the newspaper set, which evokes nostalgic throwback vibes to pre-modern Singapore. Some of her other creations such as the flour bag earrings and farmer’s straw hat keychain salute Asian culture in general.
@attaylia’s cheeriness shows itself in her work. She takes the wacky, whimsical approach to crafting her earrings. Ranging from Uno Cards to Food Packaging and Toy Story inspired earrings, she ends all her creations with shiny stars that reveal her personality. She also uses a branded hashtag (#AVVAILIA) to guide her customers during the purchasing process as her items tend to sell quickly.
The golden rule when it comes to selling jewelry is not to plagiarise, but to ideate and push the boundaries of handcrafting goods. Plagiarism not only causes rifts between brands but also spoils your name from the community, which could mean your exile from the creative community.
Who is your target audience?
Creators can spend hours meticulously putting together goods that target a specific group of people, but there are several instances where their message fails to reach their target customer. For young online businesses, it helps to follow other brands and appropriate hashtags that your brand relates to.
As a creator, you would need to put yourself in your customers’ shoes and think of how practical your goods would be for everyday use.
Remember that customers are more likely to purchase your goods if they know that they can be used daily or often!
Be clear about shipping, payment, and your refund-policy.
While most brands tend to ship worldwide, it’s pivotal that you state your mode of payment (e.g. Paypal Bank Transfer, etc.) which is clear for both local and international audiences.
Most online stores create a mass highlight on their Instagram profile which clearly explains their modes of payment, bundle packs, and cost of shipping. Usually, they would also state the individual cost of one item in their post caption.
Unlike shopping at flea markets, most online stores do not entertain the bargaining of prices as most of their items are fixed. Often, they would also sanitize their jewelry product before packing them and sending them to their customers. This is something you might want to consider as well to prevent injuring your customers.
Getting support and publicity.
Once you’ve established your brand online, you could ask your current customers to upload an Instagram story or post, with them wearing your jewelry. In return for the free publicity, you could give them a voucher/coupon which discounts their final bill on their next purchase on your store.
Another common way of appreciating your customers is by sending them personalized thank-you notes and freebies thanking them for their support. Some even send candy such as Mentos, in adorable packaging as a token of appreciation to their customers.
Alternatively, some business leverages Instagram influencers to build brand awareness quickly. Influencer marketing requires looking for influencers in your niche with high engagement as there are many fake followers and likes on social media platforms.
Another tip is to explore the new features of Instagram as they will definitely promote it. One example is Instagram Live to share real-time content. Do post on a regular basis to keep your potential customer engaged.
Similarly, as the young entrepreneur community grows, it helps to build contacts with other online brands. This is where Instagram Direct Messages (DMs) become your best friend. While many of us used to slide into them for other purposes *cough*, we probably never thought that they would see the light of day as a business platform.
You can use your DMs as a way to reach out to other brands and collaborate on exciting projects for your customers. This would not only gain publicity for the involved brands but also more orders.
Investing in a side hustle that meets your needs at your own convenience has never been easier. Remember that a business is a two-way conversation between the creator and the consumer. Nevertheless, don’t be afraid to let your creativity and personality shine in your products!