It doesn't matter how many blueprints, multi-part marketing plan ideas, strategies, and advertising points are published to detail exactly how a retail jeweler and a jewelry designer should be using the internet to build their business. The task is overwhelming for every small business to follow.
How Well Do You Follow Directions?
I often find it quite difficult to follow directions when learning from scratch; sometimes I need to follow someone's lead or watch a bit of show-and-tell before I fully understand. I can talk, talk, talk and try to inspire a room full of seminar attendees with online/offline marketing ideas, yet only succeed in putting them all to sleep.
Instead of simply updating my previous Daily Golden Nugget how-to guides on online and content marketing, I wanted to offer a resonating real world example of how to do it. The best example I can ever offer is my coverage of trade show education seminars where I share tidbits of information socially and follow it up with a detailed blog post about them.
Although I've provided different degrees of coverage for trade shows in the past, at the 2015 JCK Las Vegas show I set out to provide a realistic blueprint for jewelers to follow in their blogging and social media sharing; although I had to take a slightly backwards approach to what you would do with your blog.
The normal blogging (content creation) strategy is to first post it to your website and then figure out how to share it to the various social networks. However, when it comes to journalistic coverage of a live event you invariably have to start with the social coverage and then go back to your desk to flesh out your notes for a full blog post.
Oddly enough, a slight confusion in the press office at JCK almost disqualified my press badge this year, which of course is quite odd, and I have to shout out to Bryanne Baye for authorizing my badge, without which none of the following would have taken place.
Accomplishing Live Reporting
Taking on the responsibility of live reporting any single seminar is difficult enough, but I was ambitious enough to attend eight seminars throughout the show.
I've gained a lot of logistical know-how from previous live event reporting and have turned that information into important usable steps for retailers and designers. I had to pull all that together for the 2015 JCK Las Vegas show.
Live reporting an event is not as simple as taking fast notes. Twitter is the platform of choice for real time reporting of any event. No matter how fast you think you are, every time you take 30 seconds to tweet a valuable tidbit you are losing something else of value that was said during the seminar. This is why I carry a voice recorder with me during these shows.
Live Photo Sharing to Social Media
When it comes to event photography, it's a forgone conclusion that every smartphone owner in the audience will take at least one photo, most of which will be photos of the presentation slides. In my opinion, smartphone photos are not high enough (yet) for journalistic quality, so I use my Canon DSLR.
I took many photos and tons of notes at every JCK seminar. I was live tweeting as fast as possible during the seminars and I posted photos to Instagram and Facebook at the conclusion of each. The photos posted to Instagram and Facebook each had their own accompanying descriptions.
The rapid pace didn't allow for much live photo sharing to Facebook and Twitter, but I did manage to do it a few times. Remember, I'm using a Canon DSLR, which normally means the photos are stuck on the camera until they are downloaded later, but that's not good for live reporting. I use the Eye-Fi camera chip to immediately transfer photos from the camera to my iPad. You can read a little about the Eye-fi camera card here, also know that newer Canon cameras have this technology built-in.
Social Networks Used
I stuck to Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram this year because that's where I knew my audience was. Most of my Google+ friends are not in the jewelry industry, so I skipped using that network this year.
I hate repeating myself and the people who follow my activities on the social network would be bored if I said the same thing on each network, i.e. repeating myself. Even in the rapid live reporting environment there's a real need to not repost the same photos and information to the different networks.
Pulling It All Together
Pulling this all together for JCK wasn't simply a single device approach. I had to use this combination of devices to pull it off:
- The iPad to type quick notes and compose live tweets. Facebook posts were uploaded after each seminar.
- I used the Canon DSLR with the Eye-Fi chip to take dozens of photos during every seminar and immediately download them to the iPad while the seminar was still happening. I was able to grab a few photos and live tweet them.
- My Olympus voice recorder was on hand so I could properly recount each seminar in a future blog post.
- My iPhone was on the seat next to me with Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram notifications turned on so I could reply to anyone engaging in my live updates as well as monitor anyone else in the room who might be posting in real time too.
Posting to Instagram was a little tricky because you can only do that from a smartphone. With so many photos to choose from, I was able to post a few to Facebook and then choose a select few for Instagram. I used Apple AirDrop to quickly transfer those photos to the iPhone.
While the logistics of making this work might seem complicated, the reality is that, with the right technology tools, it's all very easy. Those tools allowed me to capture and build different content very quickly that was then shared socially... without ever repeating myself.
I've put together 5 special pages on the jWAG website to show you exactly what all this looks like when you pull it together.
Remember that you would normally write your main blog first and then socially share different parts of that blog.
BEST OF THE BEST Event - View it here
Multi-Channel Marketing for Real World Retailers - View it here
The Retail Revolution - View it here
The Power of Blogging - View it here
How the Game Is Changing: Big Data in Retail - View it here
Study these 5 examples to see the combination of the blog writing and the social sharing. The real magic here is that I used a blog post, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to tell the whole story. There's a sense of discovery as my followers would happen upon a slightly different piece of information on each network.
This is what you must strive for. Don't simply drone on and on with the same information posted everywhere. You must create an engaging discovery process that your customers will experience.
Discovery is the key... don't push it on them. Each social network has its own user experience and ecology that you must respect in order to achieve the greatest exposure and response. Except for live events like this one, your website and blog post will always be the cornerstone of all social activity. Lead people back to your site where they can find out more. From your website they can jump out to different social networks if they want to.
Smartphones are great. You have more computing power in the palm of your hand than what you need to land on the moon. With all that power, why would I bother using so many different devices?
The answer is redundancy and quality.
Things never go as planned when your professionalism is on the line and you need technology to work perfectly. I've learned this the hard way.
A real camera gives me photojournalistic control, the iPhone gives me fast engagement, the iPad give me fast ability to type, and the Olympus voice recorder is my backup for the future.
But wait, there's more...
- > I carry an older smartphone with me to serve as a backup for either my iPhone or my voice recorder.
- > My iPad has a 3G connection to AT&T so I can post directly online.
- > My iPhone has a 4G connection to T-Mobile.
- > The older smartphone also serves as a portable 4G hotspot with wifi for the iPad and iPhone if their connections get slow. I learned the hard way that I can never rely on shared wifi at trade shows.
- > Lastly, with all these digital toys you would think I'm constantly running to a wall charger all day long. Not so. I carry 3 extra batteries with me so I can charge everything on the fly.
With all this available technology, there's no excuse for anyone to say there's not enough time in the day to accomplish the needed social engagements that customers crave. It's just a matter of learning the process to speed up the steps.
It doesn't matter if you are in the store, on the go, or at trade shows... Study these examples. Work through it. Give your customers a social experience they can consume and enjoy.