Gemology graduate and jewellery connoisseur, Katerina Perez, entered the world of luxury as a hobby. With the launch of her namesake blog, katerinaperez.com, her humble beginnings have now led the site to be listed among the top 5 jewelry-focused websites. Today, her Instagram account (@katerina_perez) has become a digital “coffee table book” for over 160,000 aficionados. Brand consultant and coach, Katerina Perez, shared insights into the world of social media and jewellery:
Jewellery experts such as Joanne Hardy, auction executives like Francois Curiel, and editors such as Jessica Diamond, all have strong followings on social media. From your point of view, what’s the global online influencer scene in jewellery like today?
The beauty of jewellery blogging is that there are not that many of us and we all have a different approach to the way we present and what we choose to feature. I specialize in high jewellery, which exemplifies jewellery as art. On my Instagram you will see a mix of pieces from renowned brands as well as designers who prefer to stay under radar. Danielle from GemGossip focuses on antique pieces, Liza from Gemologue features fine and fashion jewellery that complements stylish outfits she puts together, Margo Raffaelli has an emphasis on precious gemstones, and Maria Doulton runs a jewellery digest, covering the news from across the industry.
Instagram is a key channel for many bloggers and influencers. What suggestions do you have for those in the jewellery space?
Instagram is one of the most visual social media channels therefore the emphasis should be on image quality and brand’s visual story. It is essential to invest in creating content with a “wow factor” and have a good variety of images as followers get bored with the same thing after a while. Some examples of posts that really work well for me are close ups of pieces with complex designs or statement gemstones, lifestyle images where jewelry dominates the frame, and photos with pieces displayed against a background which is not too busy.
Do you need to know how to better engage with relevant influencers?
I have also noticed that photos with one dominant colour get more likes than images with many colours, and dark photos are 25% less effective than brightly lit ones. Jewellery shot in good light with beautifully arranged composition around it always looks luxurious and is bound to get great response even if the pieces themselves are not extremely exciting, e.g. plain or very delicate in design.
What’s your approach to content creation?
It can be challenging not to make one’s Instagram feed not look like a glorified press release, so what’s worked for me is having a variety of photos, some with a personal touch. Product shots, photos of interesting details, drawings, jewellery in the making, collages and even posts created with Boomerang, are all content types I like to integrate.
Amongst jewellery and fashion brands it’s also commonplace these days to post collages made out of separate photos (3, 6 or 9), forming a rectangular or a square form - they create a powerful image if looked at as a whole and are great for attracting someone's attention to a certain piece or a collection. For example, Buccellati created a visually impactful series of 3-image posts for their Opera collection that has pieces in different colours. Although each photo got less likes than usual, the 'triptychs' as a whole reflected the story behind a jewel and had a wow-effect. I believe it is good thing to experiment with videos, animation, creative graphics and 3D designs to keep your audience surprised and interested in your profile.
A consistent question among brands, publishers, and even individuals, is how to grow the “right” audience and how to make sure that it’s not just quantity, but quality as well. How do you see this challenge?
Right now, it is not possible to curate an Instagram audience, so inevitably, as a jewellery blogger, I am followed by both consumers and professionals, other brands, designers, gemstone traders, and more. This professional segment represents about 30% of my audience.
I’ve tried a paid advertising test targeted to age, location, and interests in order to qualitatively grow my follower base, but I was not impressed with the results. Brands looking to grow wider consumer audiences can have a lot of success with this approach, though.
For me, I prioritize quality over quantity when building my follower base, and I look for ways of building the right audience, even if it takes time to grow.
How essential are #hashtags?
Every Instagrammer would agree that hashtags are essential since they are the way for followers to discover you. Although the maximum quantity of hashtags per post is 30, I do not use more than 10 per photo as too many tags would make me come across as trying too hard to get noticed.
Luxury brands usually use 2-3 relevant hashtags, focused on the name of the collection, type of jewellery, gemstone or an event in the body of a caption. A new feature appeared in 2016 showing the quantity of hashtags created per word. No matter how tempting it might be to use just the most popular ones, it is best to focus on hashtags that are relevant to the post and your business. What also works for me is adding a couple of hashtags when responding to one’s comment under the image - this way my photo goes back up to the top 9 photos of the search for a few seconds.
There are some known examples out there of Instagram leading to some big jewellery sales. I’m thinking of the Messika necklace worn by Beyonce at the Grammy’s that was rumored to have sold through Instagram, and a $360,000 Bovet pocket watch that found a home in a Qatari royal family thanks to a post from Watch Anish. How has Instagram worked for you as a sales tool?
Instagram is an indirect selling tool. It increases brands visibility in the first place which in some cases leads to enquiries and sales. I regularly get requests which I forward to brands or sometimes brands get requests without me even knowing, like in the case of Suzanne Syz who was approached at The Salon Fair in New York thanks to an article I wrote. In order to increase chances for selling, I make sure to react to comments and have an active profile with regular updates. I look forward to the ability of sharing links on Instagram in 2017 as the function is being tested as we speak.
Photos courtesy of Simon Martner