“Stories” are the latest trend on social media, and they’re really taking off on Instagram among jewelry makers and influencers. Introduced on Snapchat in 2013, Instagram added their own version in August 2016. The following March, Facebook added it, too. If you want to add some casual storytelling fun to your social-media marketing, I would focus on Instagram then tell your jewelry story.
When you open Instagram on a mobile device, the first thing you see is your own circular avatar with a blue + sign in the top left corner, inviting you to tap and turn your phone into a camera app. Touch the shutter — or hold it down for a video — and you can add whatever’s in front of you to your “story.” Don’t worry if it doesn’t come out perfect. It won’t last long enough to matter.
Unlike your primary posts on Instagram, which are permanently archived and accessible, your “story” is accessible only for 24 hours. Then, poof, it’s gone. So, what’s the point? The point is to share what’s happening now. If you’re at a craft show, you might post a perfectly edited image of your display on your Instagram page, then a series of images to your daily story just to call attention to it. If anyone taps open a story on their Instagram, it sets off a series of quick-flash snaps and videos from everyone else they follow, one story bleeding into the next. Swipe left to fast forward to the next story.
As I write this on a weekday afternoon, these are the stories that play out on my phone:
- a scan of some new gold pieces Studio Sophia Sophia just added to her line
- a series of video clips shot from the highway by Allison Bartline, starting with a hillside on fire in Montana and ending with a Boomerang video of two shot glasses clicking together after she arrives at her destination
- a Boomerang video of Jera Rose Petal’s distinctive wire earrings wagging on their stand
- Ashley Buchanan scarfing down french fries with a table full of artists giddy after three days of showing at the San Francisco ACC show
- clips of Colette Jewelry at the Waldorf Astoria in Beverly Hills, including the designer herself wearing a cartoon scuba-mask filter (courtesy of her sales assistants, I’m betting)
- a Boomerang video of earrings by Emily Rogstad posted by the Asheville gallery Mora Jewelry, interesting enough to make me look up and follow Emily.
All of these shots and videos are rough, casual, and shaky compared to the videos we put in our permanent Instagram galleries. They’re a quick flash into the real-time worlds of the people we follow.
What’s the takeaway? First, look how many jewelry artists are posting stories on a daily basis! And this is just the couple minutes that played before I hit the X in the right-hand corner to escape.
Second, video is more popular than still shots and Boomerang — an app that lets you create a rapid rewind effect in videos — is the most popular form of video by far. Almost everyone captions their stories, which is how I know the details I listed above.
Stories are clearly hot right now, so a good place to have some fun, play around a little, and establish your brand at the same time.
A couple tricks you can try:
- Make a stop-action video by posting the same snap three times, with a new caption added each time. I did this with my latest blog post, scrawling the words (with my fingertip) “new” in the second shot and “post” in the third in a bright color.
- Film a Boomerang. Click on the word “boomerang” at the bottom of the screen. Aim your phone at something in motion, and hold the shutter down a couple seconds. Boomerang will capture then the reverse the action so that you get this little loop. Boomerangs are the video du jour right now, in both stories and actual Instagram posts.
- Swipe up to a linked page. Not many jewelry artists I follow have more than 10,000 followers, but if you do, you can now add a link to an Instagram story. It’s a good idea to add a “swipe up to see more” instruction to your caption. Swiping will land the viewer on your product page, or whatever web page you link to.
Links are not really what Instagram is about. It’s about brand building and customer connection. Anything that pops up in a story is a teaser. But it lingers, jogs the memory of an artist’s work or brand. It’s a little jolt of humanity from a polished brand. For an artist building a following for something like unique, handmade goods, this kind of marketing can’t be underestimated.
Editor’s note: Follow us on Instagram at @interweavejewelry.”
CATHLEEN MCCARTHY has written about jewelry and business for Town & Country, Art & Antiques, Washington Post, and her own site, The Jewelry Loupe. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.
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