Every morning I start working at 6:30 or 7am and spend at least an hour exploring what's on my Insta feed, engaging with my followers, replying to comments, and if I have time, exploring what’s new in the jewellery makers communities. Every morning I find at least a few brands that I fall in love with. I follow their business growth journey and get excited when they launch a new collection or post a fresh image with a heart-to-heart caption. However, I also stumble upon jewellery brands that make me really confused.
Now… I’m not a maker. I’m a buyer. I LOVE jewellery, and I love visual branding, and I love photography. To put it in a different way, I know what it takes for a jewellery brand to sell their products (or do the exact opposite) from a buyer’s and industry professional’s perspective.
But god damn it, there are so many businesses out there that literally look like they don’t want to sell any products! Hence I gathered all my frustrations and made a list of 14 most common mistakes that I see small jewellery businesses make on Instagram.
1 - Professional vs Personal Life Content
Don’t post images of personal life events on your business Instagram account.
That includes nature walks, first days of school, holidays, concerts, Covid-19 positive tests and your lunch pics.
Unless you have an incredibly strong yummy-mummy audience, don’t post images of your kids either. I’ll be tough but honest here. Nobody wants to see meh images of children on their feed when they are following jewellery and fashion brands. Use stories for content like that instead!
There are exceptions, of course, especially if you are building a brand around your personality, lifestyle, and inner values. If so, make sure the personal life images are crisp and clear, aesthetically pleasing, neat, nicely edited, well composed, and perfectly go with you feed’s flow.
Why don’t you have 2 accounts like every other business owner out there - one for work, one for personal life? It can make things much easier for you to organise and help your feed look professional.
2 - Outsourced Images From 2001
With amazing free visual design tools like Canva, why are we still seeing outdated images (like the ones on the left) on brands' feeds? Do business owners that post them not want to sell their jewellery THAT MUCH?
It took me exactly 2 minutes to find 4 different jewellery brands that post the content above regularly. If you're one of them, please stop right now.
Find outsourced content on Pinterest or create something original using Canva and see your business come to life with the 21st century aesthetic instead.
3 - Blindly Following Aesthetic Trends
Be creative with what outsourced content you incorporate into your own visual aesthetic.
Don’t post an image just because you’ve seen other brands do it - be authentic, Instagram is a perfect platform to be just that!
4 - Meaningless Props
No matter how much inspiration you get from nature when creating your jewellery, why would you think a mossy branch or a dark soil patch could make you rings look flattering? They don’t.
Invest into a prop shopping spree. Be it a £20 or £200 investment, buy some ribbons, marble surfaces and neutral coloured cardboard (whatever works well with your visual branding) that you can reuse in the future. Create a consistent aesthetic with the same props whilst producing interesting, creative, authentic, and varied content.
Don’t know where to start? Create a moodboard with your inspiration aesthetic and pick out the most common props you see in the images you pin.
Need some help? Let's connect and after having done your brand's visual aesthetic analysis I'll help you find a little bunch of props within your budget that work beautifully with your upgraded look. You can find more information on 1:1 visual brand mentoring packages HERE.
5 - Collages
I don’t know who keeps walking around and telling brands that putting multiple images in one Insta square is a good idea.
It looks incredibly DIY on the grid and if you are doing it... Please stop and don't ever trust people who tell you it looks good. It doesn't.
6 - Poor Quality Images
No matter if you’re a side hustler or a full time jewellery maker, there is no excuse to have poor quality visual content on your Etsy, website, or Instagram pages.
Invest into a good phone or a compact digital camera and find some Youtube photography tutorials or sign up for a jewellery photography course. If you don’t have time - outsource a photographer!
Images can either make or break your brand. If they’re inconsistent, pixelated, unedited and taken with the most random props that you could find in your kitchen or garden, it kind of speaks to your clients that you are not serious about your business. Visual content reflects the quality of your product. You can only guess what message a pixelated phone shot of your jewellery laid next to a dead flower or a couple of garden pebbles sends to your potential clients.
Do you need advice on how to build a visually pleasing brand? Let's connect! Click HERE to get in touch.
7 - Lack Of Engagement
Instagram is a clever app with a bunch of naughty algorithms that change all. the. time. Posting once a week is not enough anymore.
To grow your audience and keep it engaged you must reply to comments, post interesting and educational content, use Insta stories, and follow new people constantly.
Instagram tracks how long your audience spends looking at your post (minimum 4 seconds for the post to be considered ‘engaging’) and evaluates if the image is worthy to be shared with wider audience. So keep up with the trends and schedule 30 minutes every day for building and engaging with your audience.
8 - Unkept hands
If you don’t have professional model images and you are photographing jewellery in or on your hands, make sure your nails are clean, looked after, and skin moisturised. The number of times I wanted to scream inside after seeing gorgeous jewellery in hands that have not been looked after is too high!
Photographing jewellery on a person allows your potential client visualise the product on themselves. A piece of jewellery, not unkept hands, should be the focus of the image.
Making jewellery in your workshop with a fresh set of nails might not be the best idea though, right? Set a day in a month to photograph a few new pieces and treat yourself to a manicure. The best thing is.. it's now officially a business expense!
9 - Hiding Behind The Brand
It is so easy to forget about the importance of hopping on the Insta grid and putting yourself out there as a small business owner. People buy from YOU because they know and love the creative human who made their jewellery. Come out of your shell and create a real connection between you and your followers.
Ask your partner to take a couple of lovely images of you in your workshop making jewellery. If you got some spare cash, invest and book a personal branding photographer! Trust me, this one decision can boost your engagement and help your business growth like nothing else out there.
10 - No Brand Aesthetic
It’s 2021 goddamn it! It would take you 1 day to create a gorgeous vision for your feed and increase your sales drastically within a few months just by figuring out what your brand aesthetic is.
Pinterest comes to help here again. Spend 2 hours pinning EVERYTHING you love on Pinterest. After that spend another 2 hours optimising your moodboard and clarifying your brand's:
lifestyle aesthetic (what lifestyle your brand offers for people who buy your jewellery)
general aesthetic (feel, props, lighting, composition)
Does it sound too confusing? I can help you set an authentic brand aesthetic on a 1:1 mini visual branding session. Get in touch via email@example.com and I'll let you know all about it!
11 - Flash Nightmare
Photographing jewellery with a phone or camera flash is the exact opposite of shooting in a lightbox or a professional studio setup with a controlled lighting.
If that’s something you do, stop it right now and turn that flash off forever.
12 - Lack Of Investment
I'm not talking about money here. I'm talking about investing your time into creating an online business that you can be proud of.
Life is manic, especially if you're hustling on the side of working full time, looking after toddlers, homeschooling, and trying to have a successful marriage or a relationship. However, what is the point of running a business if you are not putting your heart and soul into it? People can see when you're not invested. They take their money and go spend it with the brands that are.
If you are side hustling, dedicate 7 hours every week (I hear you say whaaaat?) to working on your business marketing, branding, and promotion. That's one hour every day. That's waking up 30 minutes earlier (there is literally no excuse unless you wake up at 5am) and not spending another 30 minutes mindlessly scrolling through Instagram throughout the day.
There is nothing that can stop you from becoming the next Mejuri, Annoushka, or Missoma. Every single huge brand started at a kitchen table as a small side gig, remember that!
13 - Uploading Unedited Images
Learn to remove dust and fluff stuck to your jewellery and get rid of the ugly reflections an scratches on Photoshop - it takes a few minutes at most! Pop on a custom Lightroom filter on and voila - you have a beautiful image in less than 5 minutes.
There are so many free Youtube tutorials on using Photoshop. I promise you, once you get a hang of it, it’s an incredibly simple and practical tool to use.
Have you tried multiple tutorials and you’re still not comfortable with working on Photoshop? Let’s get in touch. I offer 1:1 jewellery editing workshops for £290. With over 10 years of professional post-production experience I am here to spill the beans on how to make your jewellery look second to none. Find out more HERE!
A friendly reminder - whatever you do, DO NOT use Instagram filters. They make images look cheap and unprofessional. The only time you should harness Instagram editing tools is when clarifying or sharpening your photos before posting them if you haven’t done so in post production beforehand.
14 - No Colour Consistency
You want your feed to look juicy, consistent, and sexy. Having images with completely different aesthetics and light setups on your business feed just doesn’t work.
Purchase Adobe Lightroom, find a couple of presets you love online (or create your own), and use them! I cannot tell how much more magical that will make your feed look.
A lot of the mistakes I mentioned above are mainly made by business owners who have full time jobs, children, and treat their jewellery business as a side hustle. And I completely get it! There is only so much time we have in the day, right? Not everyone can spend hours researching their colour palette and taking nice pictures when there are 2 toddlers running around requiring attention, or teenage kids who need help being homeschooled.
However, if you do something, make sure you put all you’ve got into it. Respect your clientele, show them that you really care, and oh boy will this help your brand grow.
Make sure you’re not making the 14 main mistakes I mentioned above yourself, and watch your brand exceed your expectations in 2021.