written by Rita Wade
For about sixty seconds I could see my entire list of clients dropping like flies as each state began to elevate the orders one-by-one forcing retailers to close their business during the first of my life-time’s Global Pandemic. Many of my clients have hired me to help them navigate in-store events for them and Covid-19 was about to change that for the entire world. For many of you reading this, you experienced immense hardships due to 9/11 and others due to massive flooding in the Midwest, to many years of droughts in the west, to the stock market crash of 2008 and for me and many of my local friends and retailers a long list of hurricanes that have hit the coast of North Carolina. I am not sure any of us could have seen this one coming …
certainly not me!
On March 18 th I did a LIVE video for Jewelers on Facebook telling folks that they would all be fine… that to stay safe AND positive, encouraging them to believe that this would not last… and soon we would all get back to normal… Little did I realize how wrong that would turn out to be.
It is now April 26 th and t he disease has shuttered businesses nationwide and sent the economy into a tailspin, has claimed the lives of more than 50,000 people since the end of February and most likely by the time you are reading this article the number of confirmed cases in the United States will exceed one million people.
Where is the bright spot in all of this, you ask? COVID-19 has made me think about things in a very different way. I forced myself to think positive thoughts and be strong when my clients felt so down … and so weak. For some reason my mind wondered to very different place… my own family and what made me draw strength in times like these. I realized that for generations of family members, that I come from a long line of self-employed business owners and none of them to date have starved to death. I was reminded that some years were really hard for my family but in the end… what they did best to survive after being knocked down was to dust off
their pants (or bib overalls in my family’s case) and not give up but GET UP and try something new. I have shared past articles of my own personal journey of being on the verge what felt like failure after 2008 and I am here to tell you that the one thing I have learned over the past 30 years of my career is the “Art of Re-invention.” A “Pivot” in a sense… I believe that you cannot ever get too comfortable because about the time you do, you will be rousted out of your comfort zone to face a new challenge.
Here we go guys… how do we re-invent. Remember, I consider myself the “Queen of Events” and my Cheese just got moved, in a sense. I may be wrong, but I don’t think anyone will be attending in-store events until maybe September and there’ll certainly be folks who won’t be hosting their annual Fall “Girls Night Out.” So how do you drive sales in the door without those traffic building events? I believe the “Girls Night Out” just became the NEW “Girls Night In” with Facebook LIVE.
Next you may think that I am going to just tell you to get over your hesitations and click the “LIVE” button on Facebook and believe that as soon as you do that thousands of folks will start buying your products from the comforts of their homes. And for many jewelers in the past few weeks, that has been true. I hate to break it to some of you… but everyone gets lucky sometimes but to be successful with LIVE events I believe it is critically important to be as strategic with the marketing of a LIVE event as you are with the planning of an in-store event. Prior to COVID-19
I might have “SUGGESTED” a LIVE event as an option to grow your Facebook Audience. LIVE events attract 3 times more engagement than a standard video and 5 times more engagement than a standard photo post and with engagement comes additional followers. I encouraged folks to do LIVE for years and most of them just really hated doing them. Beyond the analytics of WHY one should do LIVE… It has NOW become a necessity! So, let’s get started on a few of the basics!
Let’s just say you were really organized at the beginning of 2020 and on your agenda, you had planned to have a Spring Fling event leading up to Mother’s Day. At the time when this all started I had about twenty stores on my calendar from mid-March through the end of June that I was helping with special events in the store. I called all of them and said… we can either wait it out or you can embrace this with some new thinking… Many of them have now decided to give the FB “LIVE” experience a try and it has been AMAZING to see the results. In this article I
hope to share the Marketing End of doing a LIVE event followed with the “Tecky” tips I have learned along the way! Here are a few steps to consider:
Plan Your Content
- Create an Entertaining Theme – This is your first call-to-action
- Create your HOOK – If it is to introduce NEW product – make sure you share that in your theme or if it is to liquidate old inventory maybe call it your stores “Covid-19 Steals and Deals.” Trust me, there are plenty of folks that are looking for a good deal that have not been impacted by the loss of jobs.
Set Your Date and Time
- Folks have asked me the best days and times to do a Facebook LIVE event and there are certainly some strategic days and times to do a LIVE event. As with many great “Girls Night Out” events, a Thursday evening at 7 pm is a GREAT time to host an event. Many ladies have dinner over with and younger children are in bed so its possible to get their undivided attention. The second great time is Sunday evenings between 7 and 8 PM.
Both days and times not competing with other family obligations.
- No one says that you can’t do a DAILY LIVE event. Don’t be afraid to do a quick
“pop-on” and do a “Try-on Tuesday” with your top ten favorites or “Wish List
Wednesdays” with the top items placed on Wish Lists before a special holiday or event. This does NOT replace the idea of the previously mentioned times and dates… A daily LIVE is simply a little extra for your followers to see and if you schedule them… they are notified when you go live, so you have a bigger chance of reaching more people over a longer period of time.
Here are a few content suggestions for your Daily LIVE.
● Mondays – From NOW until who knows when we will want to make MONDAY
MATTER and that may mean a lot of different things for your store from donating a percentage of today’s sales to a specific essential working group to donating your time and talking about it in a LIVE event. Through Covid-19 we have come to realize that people really matter, lives matter… Today is your GIVE BACK initiative and it really needs to matter. Share your Mondays with other local retailers to join forces in your GIVE BACK initiatives by using Zoom for Facebook or one of the other amazing streaming apps.
● Tuesday – Tip Tuesday is a GREAT time to add jewelry tips to a LIVE event. Or as I mentioned earlier – You might have a “Try-On Tuesday” with your top ten favorites.
● Wedding Wednesday is a great day to talk about everything from engagement rings to wedding bands to sharing experiences about weddings.
● Throwback Thursdays are the perfect time to go LIVE and dress up in a Roaring 20’s dress and do a LIVE event featuring some of your Vintage and Estate pieces. Make them FUN and make folks feel like this is the show for the evening.
● Feature Fridays are a perfect day to introduce your weekly “Steals and Deals” and be focused on some of those pieces that need to find new homes.
Remember, your daily LIVE events do NOT have to be lengthy. Schedule them mid-morning for “Service Announcements” to late afternoons for things that are more sales related and make most of them 10 to 15 minutes long for what I call a “POP-ON”
LOCATION – LOCATION – LOCATION
- Just like picking the perfect physical location for your store to maximize the best traffic, your LIVE events need to have the perfect location. I have seen Jewelry store owners doing LIVE events in their homes and trying to help folks get comfortable and I am going to advise not doing this unless you have a safe approved by your insurance company, an amazing security system and beautiful lighting like you have in your stores. While we want to make our customers feel comfortable with their experience with you … it does not mean that your set-up must be IN a home to make them FEEL like they are at home with you. So, while doing LIVE selling events, I recommend that your events are held in your store.
- NO Distractions: Please don’t have a jeweler in the back room trying to size up a ring several sizes on the mandrel. While we may not be in our stores with shop noises right now… we will eventually go back to work and there will be noises in the background.
Make sure that you let your staff know that you are doing a LIVE event and keep your background noises to a minimum. It is super distracting. Also, it is important to make sure that while many folks will return to work before the daycares and schools open, it is not a good idea to include your kids in a LIVE – Sure they provide a lot of cuteness but they can distract you from being able to remember what to say or even accidentally say a price that is not correct.
- The location of where you set up is VERY important. Sitting with your back to the
window and a “glow from behind” at 5 PM is a BAD idea. No one will see a single piece of jewelry much less be able to see you… You can however FACE the window and often the lighting can improve the picture they see. Also, keep the background of your LIVE experience simple. No big flower arrangements – or you may look to the audience like you have something green growing out of your ears. A simple painting is plenty or nothing at all. Try to keep the background simple!
MARKET YOUR EVENT
Don’t go LIVE without letting folks know you are going LIVE! You wouldn’t’ schedule a Girls Night Out and not send some sort of invitation whether it is an email, an events page invitation or a card inviting folks to come. Don’t do a LIVE
- Create an Events Page
- Share the Events Page to your Business Page
- Share your event through messenger to your clients and staff members and encourage your staff to share with their friends and clients. (Offer some sort of SPIFF to your staff for the most shares with customers)
- Do a daily reminder of the event on social media
- Do an Email Campaign telling folks you are doing a LIVE event and tell them the theme! Make sure they feel like they are being INVITED to the LIVE event!
- Create a LIKE, SHARE AND WIN contest for the LIVE event and the winner will be
announced on the LIVE event to drive more people to your event.
- Do a countdown. This is available on several of the streaming apps and Facebook has just rolled out some great new features that are very competitive with apps like Zoom.
- Call customers and let them know you are doing a LIVE event and hope that they will join in the fun while you are social distancing.
PRODUCT SELECTION IS VERY IMPORTANT
- Base your product selection on a few of the following criteria.
o Theme of the event
o Age of Inventory
o Best Sellers
- Your product selection should also be navigated for Facebook based on your
followers. If you see folks commenting on your page and you know their buying
habits, then you are likely going to know what they might buy if it was the right
price. BEST Practices with going LIVE
- Make sure to have a strong internet connection. If you can “Hardwire”
your internet it will stream far better than WIFI on a computer. If not, at least
take the time to run a “TEST” by using www.speedtest.com otherwise you may be
streaming live and your lips are saying one thing and your screen is saying
another. It will be super annoying to the person watching. You need 2.5 MGB for
a stable upload speed.
- Film Horizontally – Mobile filmers have the natural urge to film vertically since
this is just how you’re used to using your phone but flipping your phone to a
horizontal view yields a much nicer sized video. Horizontal videos look better all
around, especially when displayed on the news feed.
- Practice, Practice, Practice – Before ripping the bandaid off and going live,
you should test things out by creating a practice video restricted to your eyes only. You can do this by going to your own Facebook profile, and selecting “Only Me” before recording. Or one that I do with my clients is create a PRIVATE Facebook Group and add myself and a couple of staff members and do a TEST LIVE event while folks can help you navigate any technical or sound issues.
- You are ON CAMERA so please ladies – Do your hair, Make-up and Nails.
Remember the days when we participated in the local High School Play or Dance
Recital and they put what seemed like six layers of make-up on and it was called
STAGE Makeup… You won’t need six layers like that but don’t use Kim
Kardashian’s NUDE lip color for your LIVE Facebook Event. Your teeth will look
yellow and your lips will blend in with your skin. As for what I am calling
“Corona-Nails” You know the nails that are now 6 weeks from your last visit,
grown and it even may look like things are growing out of them – If you are the
person showing the jewelry on your LIVE event then take those ugly nails off and
file and paint them a clear color. When we all get to go back to the nail place
again, we will have those pretty nails back. For now let’s make sure folks are
paying attention to the jewelry NOT your nails.
- Get Personal – The beauty of Facebook Live is that it allows you to share your
experiences in real time and make a more human connection with your audience.
Take this a step further by sharing some bits of your life to connect with your
audience on a more personal level. No, you don’t need to give away your social
security number or dive into the details of your messy breakup, but share
something positive from your life
- Embrace Small Mistakes – So you stuttered on a word multiple time? Or
maybe you had one piece of hair that was sticking up the entire time? Perhaps you called a tanzanite a topaz by accident. With live video, these mishaps are bound to happen, and these things are actually what makes live video so much fun. Rather than getting embarrassed and ending the video mid-way through, embrace your mishaps. This will add personality to your video, and also help your audience see that you’re a real human, with flaws, just like them!
- Ask Your Viewers to Interact – The BEST part of a LIVE experience for an
EVENT is being able to see your audience engaging in your event. I helped a store
in Maine this past week do their first LIVE event and they themed their event
around some favorite Rocky and Roll music. They divided their product categories
- Don’t try doing LIVE alone when you are doing a SELLING Event! Sure –
You can do a LIVE event without the help of an associate but it’s better if you have
someone monitoring the comments and questions. It is pretty difficult to host
your video and reply to comments at the same time. Even while you are social
distancing… ask an associate to help you answer questions during your LIVE
broadcast. One of the most amazing opportunities that Facebook LIVE can offer
you is the ability to engage with your followers but I have seen so many of the
LIVE events be derailed by reactions, comments and real-time chatter.
I want to strongly recommend IF you haven’t tried Facebook LIVE, now is the time. I am certain that you will find that without it, you will only set yourself behind many of your competitors as the landscape of our businesses continues to shift even closer towards more of an online and virtual experience. Here’s
your chance … done well and you may just find the STAR within your business… so go ahead… hit LIVE button and be the starring role in your very own show today and share you and your business with the world!