an interview with Katie Dean.
Brands you know and love use Instagram every day to connect with customers, draw in new buyers, and build relationships. This week we discuss how to make the most out of using Instagram as a sales channel. We talk about how we use Instagram to connect with brands as customers, and provide examples of brands on Instagram who are doing a great job. We also speak with Katie Dean, founder of Katie Dean Jewelry, and take a deep dive into how she leverages Instagram to build a large following and significantly increase her sales.
Rewind is the easiest way to backup your Shopify store and undo unwanted changes. Get peace of mind knowing that your most important store data is automatically backed up by Shopify’s top-rated backup app.
Clocked in a time clock for Shopify.
With Clockedin your team members can easily clock in and out of their shifts from anywhere. You can manage your team's hours as they work remotely with an intuitive interface that can be used from desktop,tablet, or mobile.
[00:03:36] Using Instagram as a customer
[00:05:13] Using Instagram as a merchant
[00:13:13] Instagram ads
[00:15:22] How not to use your instagram if you are a merchant
[00:18:55] Introduction of Katie Dean, Katie Dean Jewelry
[00:19:56] How Katie Dean Jewelry started
[00:21:45] How Katie started an online store
[00:26:10] Why Katie chose to make and sell jewelry
[00:31:01] Katie’s acquisition strategy
[00:37:14] Implementing your brands aesthetic
[00:42:18] Instagram hashtag strategies
[00:46:21] How to use Insta-stories
[00:51:22] Leveraging Instagram giveaways
[00:55:09] Collaborations and working with influencers
A Color Story
Katie Dean Jewelry
Katie Dean Jewelry on Instagram
Katie Dean Jewelry on Facebook
Katie Dean Jewelry on Pinterest
The Furlough Cheesecake
Bloom and Plume Coffee
Pop Up Florist
Brands you know and one love use Instagram every day to connect with customers, draw in new buyers, and build relationships. On the podcast this week, we're discussing how to make the most out of using Instagram as a sales channel. We talk about how we use Instagram to connect with brands as customers and provide examples of brands on Instagram who are doing a great job. We finish this episode by interviewing Katie Dean, founder of Katie Dean Jewelry, and take a deep dive into how she leverages Instagram to build a large following and significantly increase her sales. Grab a mug and join in.
Welcome to Commerce Tea, a podcast to help you succeed on Shopify. I'm Rhian.
And I'm Kelly. Grab a mug and join us as we talk about all things commerce. (silence)
Hey Kelly. Have you ever been working on a Shopify store and then, bam, something happens and you lose what you're working on?
I'd love to say no, but the reality is accidents do happen, especially when you have multiple people working on a store. Apps that automatically add code to your theme may cause an issue or a team member may delete product images by mistake.
Doesn't Shopify back your store up automatically?
It's a common misconception, but no, and that's where the Shopify app Rewind comes in.
Rewind is like having your very own magic undo button. It helps you recover from human error or misbehaving apps. It's trusted by over 25,000 businesses from side hustles to some of the biggest online retailers like Gym Shark or Movement Watches.
That sounds awesome. Where can I learn more?
Head to Rewind.io/commercetea to learn more about Rewind backups. You'll get your first month free when signing up on that page. Again, that's rewind.io/commercetea.
Hi Kelly, how are you doing?
I'm doing great. How are you doing today?
I'm doing awesome.
Want to talk about Instagram?
I do. And I have to be totally transparent, I am not excellent at Instagram.
See, this is why we interview people at the end of these episodes because they are excellent at Instagram, and I am not either.
Okay. Okay, I'm glad we're in the same boat here because there are many children who go to school with my daughter who have thousands of Instagram followers. And I'm over here, just not succeeding.
I don't know why I have 1500 followers on Instagram because [crosstalk 00:02:26].
That feels like a good amount.
To me it feels like a pretty good amount, but I don't do anything with it. So I guess I'm just kind of wasting my time on Instagram. I don't spend that much time on there.
Does that make you like a micro influencer?
A nano influencer.
A nano influencer.
We're going to go with it. I like it.
I think it's a real thing.
It probably is a real thing. Okay, so Instagram.
We know every social media platform does require a different strategy for success, but there are definitely some brands who have Instagram figured out, down to a science.
100%. 100%. Do you have any brands that you can think of that you instantly are like, you are nailing Instagram marketing?
The first one I always think of is Allbirds. One, I love their shoes.
I know, I know. Kelly's like, this is just a commercial for Allbirds now.
I'm going to see how many episodes in a row I can find a way to mention Allbirds. I probably shouldn't do that. Anyway-
Why not? Do you have some on right now?
No, I'm in my house. Why would I be wearing shoes in my house?
I wear indoor shoes. My indoor shoes are Allbird, like tree light, feather, the ones that looked like Keds. I don't know the names of them, but they're-
The Tree Runners.
No, but like the thin low-profile ones.
Oh. Oh, I also have some of those too.
I use them as slippers.
Okay. I have some slippers from Amazon that I [crosstalk 00:03:54].
Oh, okay. That also works.
But right now it's like 90 degrees here in Atlanta. So I am definitely not wearing shoes.
What are the brands do you, actually let's before we move on, let's talk about why I like Allbirds.
Yeah, sorry. We got derailed.
Yeah. Their imagery is really solid. Their messaging is very consistent. And it's a little thing, but they link to their products on the Instagram post itself so I can very quickly go to their website to buy shoes that I probably should not keep on buying because I have enough shoes. But I do it anyway.
Can you have enough shoes?
I'm out of room on my shoe rack. So I feel like I'm at the point where I need to start cycling through things, but also I'm not wearing shoes right now because I'm not going anywhere.
I'm going to just suggest another idea, just get another shoe rack and then you'll have more space for shoes. That's a very anti Marie Kondo way of thinking, but to me I'm like shoes spark joy, books spark joy. I'm keeping all my shoes and all my books.
Perfect. Maybe I'll do that then.
I think so. I think, maybe I'll just send you, one's just going to arrive at your house and your ...
Hey, Daniel, I have a surprise.
I have a surprise.
I'm buying more shoes now.
Hey, you know, whatever works. Okay, so one of the stores that I think does, or one of the brands that does a really great job on Instagram is actually a local coffee shop of mine, and they're called Augie's Coffee. And they started as like one single brick and mortar, and now have expanded their mini empire. I think they've got six locations now.
And they also have a wonderful e-commerce presence. And they use both their stories and their posts to tell a story. And what I actually really appreciate them is they're not hyper on brand, if that makes sense. They're not like everything is on brand. It's everything is mostly on brand and it fits their narrative, but if they need to post something that doesn't necessarily fit their aesthetic, they're going to post it. They're not super worried about it looking magical in three in a row.
That grid, yeah.
That grid. Whereas, and maybe that's just by nature of the fact that they're a coffee shop, so they don't need to be hyper focused on I need to look great in a grid because they're selling coffee, and they're also selling their brand and why you want to shop with them.
I'm constantly impressed by their social media presence. I don't follow a lot of brands on Instagram because I get annoyed by tons of stories.
That's my issue, yeah. And that's one of the things actually we could talk about that annoy us is when I see, I'm going through my Instagram stories and seeing Instagram stories from my friends, and then all of a sudden it's the tiniest little dots because they've added so many stories all at once.
And I'm like, I don't care this much about seeing every single product you just released into your store. So I skip them. I don't even watch them.
No, I don't even watch them. I just like swipe and move on with my life.
Or sometimes I even mute them, and that's obviously not what brands want.
But I think that's something important, for anybody who uses Instagram, because Kelly and I are really talking about this as consumers of Instagram and consumers of product from our perspective. And if you post a bajillion things on your story, I give up, I'm just over it.
Exactly. I think that's also an interesting thing to mention here is we are consumers on Instagram, but we're not super active consumers on Instagram. Whereas like your daughter, I imagine, spends more time on Instagram and her friends spend more time on Instagram, maybe?
Absolutely. And for those of you who don't know, I have a 14 year old daughter, she's a rising sophomore. So all of her friends are on Instagram, TikTok, Snap.
I always wonder how much Snapchat is used.
Well by that demo, by younger Gen Z, it's used all the time because there's a streak and they keep the streak count going, and it's really important to their personal brand for them to have [crosstalk 00:08:11].
It's totally gamified, but that's something that they really, really focus on. And then of course they are absolutely obsessed with TikTok, which we are going to go into with a TikTok pro in a few episodes too.
Another account I want to share as well that does a really good job is [inaudible 00:08:30] Studio. I really like her stuff because two things, one, the product photography is beautiful. Two, she adds in little things about her family, her travels, like really humanizes the brand. You know exactly who is running the brand. And I really like that touch of personalization, especially since what she's selling is so incredibly personal to the buyers because basically what her primary is you send in a silhouette of your child and she creates jewelry and charms and prints, and all kinds of stuff from that photo that you sent in of your child. You don't send in a silhouette, you send in a profile of your child. That's the word I was looking for.
I think I need to get that. That sounds awesome.
It's super cool. One of the things I think is also worth pointing out is on her profile, I think they call them moments, nope, what are they called? The little circles above your story.
I think, I don't know what they're called.
I'm going to Google it. Circles above stories. See, we're really great at using Instagram.
We are phenomenal.
Highlights. They're called highlights.
Highlights, not moments.
I was close, not moments, they're called highlights. I'm really good at these things. So she uses them to give product examples. She uses them for customer testimonials, for Q&A, but also things like recipes and just fun things as well. So I don't know, again, it gives the customers the information that they need, but also just fun stuff that you can look at too. And she has a ton of highlights as well.
That's awesome. First of all, I think I need to buy something from her. And second of all, there's a store or a brand that is very much in focus in my life because of my daughter. And so I reference them frequently, but they really do Instagram well, and that's Jolyn, which is J-O-L-Y-N, and they're an aquatics company/beach sports. But one thing I like about them is when you look at their Instagram and also their Insta stories, there's all sorts of folks on it. It's not just one super thin athletic person doing sports. It's like, oh, anybody can wear these bathing suits. Yes, these are athletic suits, but yes, also anybody can wear them. And they're just really pretty, they're functional. And I like the way they portray their brand on Instagram.
How is that spelled? Jolyn.
J-O-L-Y-N, Clothing is the last part of their Instagram handle.
Cool. So we'll link to those four examples in the show notes. I have another question for you.
Have you ever tuned into an Instagram Live before?
I have, but at the beginning of the Covid stay at home order I was more engaged on Instagram than I am now. I don't know if that's because I'm feeling burnt out on it, but I noticed people were going live, and so I was getting push notification. So then I was like, oh, what do they have to say? And it turns out it was just a way for people to communicate with one another. Do I love Instagram Lives? No. A person who does love Instagram Lives is my daughter. She does a workout on Instagram Lives twice a week with one of her water polo coaches.
Oh that's cool.
Yeah. Yeah, so it's definitely something of use. It's just not something that I personally love. What about you?
I have, again, during Covid, at the beginning, when all the musicians were doing their thing, that was super cool. I also, let's see have I tuned into any others. Oh, I once did an Instagram Live when I was on vacation.
Where were you on vacation?
I was in Austria skiing.
So I was just doing Instagram Live of like me going up the ski slope, and it was just pretty, so I was just sharing that. And it was just cross posted to Facebook and Instagram, or whatever. Obviously there's nothing to do with like brand relation [crosstalk 00:12:47].
No, but still I think you have to have some of that joy and fun in Instagram, otherwise it becomes a chore. And I think when you're marketing yourself in any platform, on any platform that you have to have joy in it, otherwise it just becomes this arduous task that you don't want to keep doing.
Yeah, I agree. Another thing is, another question for you rather.
Have you ever purchased anything from an Instagram ad?
I have purchased an embarrassing amount from Instagram. I am like a sucker. If you, like The Sill, for instance, which is a plant company based out of New York, if you serve me an ad like three times, I'm probably going to buy it on the third time. And I especially, the ads that I really buy in are in stories, not in the main feed. But yeah, I've purchased many a thing from Instagram, both for myself and then my daughter will send me things she wants to buy through Instagram stories as well. What about you?
I have only purchased one thing from an Instagram ad.
That means you have amazing self control, and I have none apparently. What did you buy?
Oh my God. Allbirds, If you'd like to sponsor us please [crosstalk 00:14:13].
It was when they first released the flats, and I really wanted them in black, and I'm like, oh, well, okay, here they are. So now I'm going to buy them. Yeah, man [crosstalk 00:14:25].
Do like your flats?
I do. I really like them. I wear them, okay, I used to wear them all the time when I actually wore shoes.
Yeah. It is, I put on shoes the other day, like I said, I do wear my Allbirds inside, but besides those, those are so soft and they don't feel like real shoes. And then, so I put on a pair of, I think, Nike's and wore them outside, I was like, oh, this is what shoes feel like. This is the worst. [crosstalk 00:14:52].
I only wore my Allbirds outside.
So yeah, [crosstalk 00:14:57] flip flops, I guess. But that's when I like go to the mailbox. Nothing really exciting.
So question for you, if you were using, so you talk to a lot more merchants than I do I feel like directly, if you were giving advice to a merchant on how to use Instagram, what kind of information or advice would you give?
So fun story. I used to run my own merch store on Shopify, and I had an Instagram account for it as well. First thing that I did, and I also recommend to everybody who's using Shopify, is connect Instagram to your Shopify store. That way your products sync over and you can tag your products directly in the photos. So it makes it really easy for your customers to tap on a photo, see what products are tagged, tap on that product, and it takes you to the store to buy it. There are some stores that have gotten approval to buy directly through Instagram. I don't know the latest on that, and I imagine with the Facebook ...
And I imagine with the Facebook shops announcement-
Yeah, I think it's evolving.
It's changing. So that may eventually be irrelevant, but either way for now, I would definitely recommend doing that. Consistently posting. So if you want to engage with your customers and interact with new customers, you have to post regularly and it doesn't have to be like a product advertisement. Like I said, for the example of Le Papier Studio, I like when she includes things like she's originally from Greece or her family's from Greece. So she posts Greek recipes and beautiful pictures of Greece. And I'm like I am here for the travel photos and also your products. So the fun engaging content that's not necessarily you just constantly pushing your products. Behind the scenes photos are always a great thing to share too. And lastly, engage with your audience. It seems pretty obvious, but I see so many merchants don't do this. And it goes beyond just liking their comments. Respond to them, interact with them. That's what I mean by engage with your audience. It has to be the actual conversation there. Somebody asks you a question, you should respond to that question.
That's a really good point because I think so often people just put things into the ether and you're like, "I have made my post for the day and I am done." And that doesn't work if you don't engage.
Exactly. It doesn't work. So I that's all I can really recommend because to be completely honest, I was terrible at using Instagram as a merchant. All those recommendations I made, except for the first one of connecting your Shopify store to tag your products, I was not posting regularly, I was not engaging with my audience. My audience was really on Twitter though, so it was more of a secondary platform to cross post to, but people were tagging my products in their photos that they were posting. And I should have been interacting with those a little bit more. Lessons learned. I can tell people and tell merchants how they should run their business, but apparently I can't follow my own instructions.
I think that's the story of so many of developers and agencies in our space is that we're really great at giving advice, but because we're giving everybody else advice, then when we look at our own home, so to speak, we're like, "Whoops, we missed that one."
So I find myself doing the same thing.
So I think Instagram is a perfect example of why we love to have guests on this podcast because we are definitely not experts at Instagram.
Which I think is probably pretty obvious based on our conversation here.
So on that note, we're really excited to introduce this week's guest.
Today we have Katie Dean, the founder of Katie Dean Jewelry based out Oakland, California. Katie has built an organic following of over 60,000 followers on Instagram, which serve as a significant driver of sales. Hi, Katie, how are you doing?
I'm doing great. Thanks so much for having me.
It's absolutely our pleasure. Please tell us about yourself and your business.
So I moved to LA when I was 18. I moved from Michigan, which I still am such a huge fan of, but I did want to go out to LA for the purpose of seeing how other artists lived. I felt there was a huge creative community and I really was inspired by how many young people are out there just following their dreams. So it took me a while. I did a lot of really different diverse jobs. Like I was a personal chef, I was a nanny, I cleaned houses occasionally. And all of that combined really gave me so much experience of just dealing with other people and how to communicate.
And my last job before I started my jewelry line, or as I started my jewelry line was being an assistant to a stylist in Hollywood. So we did different outfits for people's red carpet looks, for their premiers, press junkets, interviews, etc. I always wanted to do something artistically. I actually wanted to do pottery and ceramics. That was what I did in college, but I was just exploring. And when I started doing jewelry, I was doing it at night in what I call my Harry Potter closet. And that was a closet under my stairs that was meant for utilities and just random junk. I cleaned it out and I started doing various things. Painting, doing greeting cards, and then I took apart some jewelry, got some new pieces, and put them together with new designs. And that was eight years ago. So that's a kind of long runway of saying how I got started and what I do, but the line actually was very boho when I first started, very chunky, and-
Okay. That's so different than right now.
It's so different. And I think that is another thing I'd love to tell artists, is it's okay to change. If you have a vision and you're not quite getting there right when you start, that's totally normal. What I do now is absolutely my vision of where I wanted to be and where I was going, but I needed to learn a lot as I started my career in jewelry because beading work was something that I could do right away without any formal instruction, whereas now we do casting, more metal work, etc. So that took more time to learn.
That's super interesting, especially exploring all the different areas of art as well like the creativity and artistry. I love that. How did you get started selling online specifically?
Okay. So that's a great question. We started on Shopify and this was obviously eight years ago when the platform was really new, there were still a lot of changes going on, and we really liked the platform, but I was only on it for about two years before I then switched to WordPress, which was a complete nightmare to be totally honest. But-
That sounds about right.
The reason we changed is because it was difficult for me to find a programmer that could actually read and knew the Shopify language for programming and all in all, I'm so glad that we're back on Shopify. It has dramatically changed my business. And I do not say that lightly. And the tools that they give you, the workshops online, the resources available via chatting on the phone, or going to their blog, or on their chat with a live guru online is incredible. I don't know any other platform that does what they do and I knew from the get go when I started that being online was going to be important.
More and more people were shopping online and I honestly didn't take full advantage of all the different opportunities online because I didn't have capital. I didn't raise money. Everything was out of pocket. It was like pay as I go, because this was a side thing and I was starting everything new. I did get really lucky in the beginning, which kind of goes into what we're going to talk more about today as far as social media and how Instagram has influenced my business and helped. So I was very lucky when we were styling. We did style Kylie and Kendall Jenner for an Australian magazine and my boss was styling them for numerous things, but on this particular shoot, they needed Bohemian style jewelry. So I brought mine along and it worked with the outfits.
So I had the jewels on them and we publicized myself on Instagram. I publicized it once the magazine had come out like, "Hey, they wore these pieces. Cool." And at that time because the Instagram platform was so new, it just caught on like wildfire and more so bloggers that are obsessed with them blogged, and pinned them, and went nuts. And so that led me to get a deal where I think I was paid 20 or $25,000 and I got just basically a huge, massive order for beaded bracelets. And I wouldn't have gotten that unless I had posted on Instagram because we didn't have a blog that was well known that people were coming to visit. We didn't have an email list. The only way that that image got out there was through Instagram, which is crazy.
I think that's a really interesting point because we're seeing that right now with TikTok, which we actually talk about in a future episode. So when you get in early enough on a social media platform, you can really, really make it your own.
It's pretty incredible. And I will say that I've been a little shy of TikTok. We do have an account, but I haven't dove in. But absolutely, I think that there's so much opportunity out there and I think that it caters to entrepreneurs and creatives because you just got to get out there and give it a shot and not really care if you don't do it perfectly the first time. And I think we're in an incredibly wonderful world of opportunity personally. I've been asked the question like, "Do you think you'd be more successful back in the '50s or now?" And honestly, I just think the opportunity for success, if you persevere, really put in that hard work, do your research, and actually do and put in the action, the world is your oyster.
I love hearing this story from you and the genesis story of your brand and how cool that you were able to style the Jenner's at such a pivotal time in, I guess, pop culture history and social media history. That's so awesome, but I have a question for you because this is something that we speak to a lot of merchants and I meet merchants who want to go into a congested market like jewelry. So why did you pick jewelry? Because I know that there's a lot of listeners out there who are thinking, I might make a t-shirt company or I might make this, but maybe there's too many people. How were you able to kind of niche that out and make it your own?
I'm a big believer in being passionate about what you're doing. And I think the saying when there's a will, there's a way is such a true statement because if... I know there's so many cliches out there, like if you never even try, the chances of failure are 100% because you don't try versus even if you have a 1% chance, even if you're in the most congested climate of whatever you want to go into, at least you have a chance. And also, I just didn't really think about it. I was so naive that I just had such an artistic mindset that I'm going to do what makes me happy and go from there. And some people might be thinking that's crazy, you need to look at the pros and cons. And I totally think that that stuff is valid. Now when I do things in the business, I do look at... If I'm going to make an investment on Pinterest ads, what's the benefit? Obviously you need to look at that stuff, but I also think that the world is made up of dreamers who do, and if you never took that chance... Like what if Michael Angela just let his self-esteem or his negative thoughts take over and never tried to paint? Whoa, that's mind blowing. And he probably wasn't that great at it in the beginning and there were probably a million other artists doing painting back then because that was such a huge, I think, part of that culture and-
But he was like, "Whatever, I'm going to do it." And I think the beautiful thing about artists is that everybody has a different point of view. Everybody sees the world differently. Everybody thinks this is beautiful in a way that you might think, oh, I like this part of whatever we're talking about. And that's what I always focus on. And I try to stay in my lane when it comes to any comparison to another jeweler. I applaud them and that helps keep me sane and also grateful for what I'm doing and stops me from becoming a monster, honestly, because it's so easy in a competitive environment to be like, "Oh, I don't want to be friends with them. Dah, dah, dah, dah, dah. They're my competition."
And I just think that's so toxic. It's hard on you. It drains your energy. And it's like why not look at their art and be like, "I am so glad you're putting this into the world. The world needs more art, and love, and creativity." So I just focus on how do I see it? If you focus on as an artist, if you're going to create a tee shirt brand, how are you going to be different than the others? And I think you don't even have to try too much. I think you should just start sketching, start creating your samples because organically, if you're not blatantly trying to copy exactly what this other person is doing, it's going to be different.
It just is because nothing can be exactly the same unless you're blatantly copying it. So I really try to encourage artists to not look at what they're going to do as far as like oh, this is too saturated. I shouldn't give it a try. Imagine Allbirds being like, "Oh, there's a million other shoe companies. Whatever." And now they're one of the top selling shoe brands in the world. It's incredible. So even if you fail, let's say, you're going to learn so much. I was doing personal chef work. I obviously wasn't the best, but then I learned various things of like oh, if I research something online, I can learn more about how to whisk these eggs to make them more fluffy. You know what I mean? It's just if you really try to search and find help, there's so much help out there. And I just never think you should not do something because you think it's too congested and saturated as an artist because that is the beauty of being an artist. You are always going to see it differently, which is awesome.
I love that perspective. Especially as you said, everyone sees things differently. That's exactly it. I'm curious to know since you've been in business for eight years now and I'm sure your acquisition strategy has changed over time. So how does your store currently get new customers?
Okay. Great question. Social media is definitely our number one way to get new customers because you're constantly, every single time you post, you're getting in front of new people. A very tactical thing that everybody on Instagram should be doing is putting in hashtags. The key thing, being relevant. If you put in unrelevant hashtags, you're going to get in front of the wrong people, they're not going to be your customer, and it does you no good. It's a waste of time. So keep a note within your phone or on your computer that are different categories. Like if you're a t-shirt company, long sleeve t- shirts, neon colored t-shirts, and then you-
Shirts, neon colored T-shirts, and then you can pull together the different hashtags that would go in coordination with those, and then Instagram and other tactical things because I always like to give people actual things they can do and not just be like, "Oh, la-di-da," vague.
Yeah. Not theoretical things. Actionable-
That's that's what I thrive on as a business owner, is tactical things I can action on. So another thing is go into Instagram, go in to the search section where it says tags I believe, or hashtags, write in, let's say T-shirts was your thing. If you write in T-shirts, it's automatically going to bring up a page that has all the photos that have been tagged with that and then it's going to show you at the top all these similar tags to that hashtag. So it's like SEO honestly, and-
Yeah, yeah. I was going to say that sounds a lot like SEO strategy, but for Instagram.
It truly is, and then you can just keep those in, because you want to be efficient with what you're doing, and you're going to keep those hashtags and when you come up with a new category, like rose T-shirts or tie-dye T-shirts, you're going to have a separate section for those.
I will say our second best acquisition action, I guess you'd say, is SEO. And again, I know that it can cost a lot of money to hire those companies, but it is something that we've actually done in house and it's a slow process for us. I'm sure we could always do it better, but something is better than nothing, which leads me back to Instagram, which is even if you don't have the best photographs, even if you don't have your exact mission statement ready, or you don't feel like your products are up to par, put it out there. You can always delete it.
But I'm a huge believer you should never not do something. And I have to tell myself this, because it's not easy to actually do this, but in fear of being criticized or doing it incorrectly or not at the best, because it's all a learning experience. And I think that's what makes a good business owner a good business owner, is being like, "Okay, this didn't go as planned, but what did I learn from it? Great." That could save you millions of dollars on a bad deal later on.
Yeah. Oh, and can I add a third acquisition thing?
Yeah. Number three is email marketing, and that honestly might even be tied for number two, but those three things, social media posting, especially on Instagram if you're a visual anything, and then SEO and email marketing are by far our biggest sales points for online sales. And again, just don't be shy, start doing it and then refine as you go.
Quick question about email marketing. Is there a platform that you prefer?
Yes. So we actually changed from MailChimp to Klaviyo right before the holidays, and it has allowed us to do a lot more. MailChimp was a bit limiting. I think if it's a price thing and you can only afford so much because Klaviyo is a bit on the pricier side, okay cool. Just start with platform. Shopify actually has one now, which is I've looked at it and created drafts just to see what it's like and I think that it's so awesome, especially for somebody just starting out that doesn't need a lot of complexities. It's amazing. It's beautiful.
Absolutely. I have to ask, what is your favorite flow that you use on Klaviyo?
Oh man. We just redid almost all of our flows and we've been getting so much more traction on our welcome series. Is that what you're asking?
Yeah. Yeah. We-
So how do you structure your welcome series?
I believe now we have three different emails and it's one is just text only. It's introducing myself, trying to connect with that person without meeting them in person. It's so much harder I'd say to connect with somebody over email, then just hello, I'm right here in front of you and you can see I'm a good person and whatever. You get their vibe. I really try to evoke my vibe in the way that I speak and communicate. It's not too formal. It's very much so just me. And we do include, and I think this is smart for any business, to link to your best sellers. And then we do include the discount code that they get for their first time order.
And that's something that we've incorporated in how we've built our email list, is offering them something to get placed in their inbox. That's a sacred space for people. So we give a discount for the first order in order to be within their one on one communication in their email.
I love that. I love it.
Okay. So let's talk Instagram.
Which has something admittedly I am not excellent at. I enjoy it as a viewer, and I love Instagram ads. I love to buy things off Instagram ads, but you successfully have built an organic following that is beautiful. The aesthetic on it is gorgeous. So can you talk to me about the strategy behind your grids and color schemes and that aesthetic?
Absolutely. There are some incredible apps that I think any business owner who's going to be promoting on Instagram should use. Planoly is wonderful, Preview, Hyperlapse I really like, I'll tell you why, and Snapseed. So I'm going to step back and go over why I named those because number one, when you start putting your brand out on Instagram, it is, in my viewpoint, it's very important that you have a color scheme because it's so visual. So whether that's black, white and gray or neon colors or whatever. Mine is very much pastels, pinks, that's my vibe. So that, right away, just naming that, will help you then get the type of photography that you want to get.
And also just utilizing their amazing tools on Instagram of just saving posts and having a little inspiration saved file or category that you can say inspiration. If you don't know where to start and you're just going to be putting your business up on Instagram, go on to Pinterest or go on to Instagram and save images that inspire you and that you want to have your brand evoke a similar feeling. And then that's when you should just start going wild on taking photos. And just honestly use the portrait mode on your iPhone or whatever camera that you want. Don't make it too complicated. Just start taking photos.
And I missed a few apps actually that I want to name as well, but after you start taking photos, an essential part of getting the aesthetic that you'd like is going to be editing your photo. I can almost guarantee you, unless there's perfect lighting, that 98% of the photos that you see on Instagram are edited because normally, it's hard to capture those colors and make them vibrant and actually evoke something that you want to look at. So don't be ashamed of using editing tools. VSCO Cam is definitely my favorite for editing colors. Again, you can just find your path in regards to that because you can go crazy on editing or you can just make it look more natural, like you would see with the naked eye. So there's lots of different avenues that you can go in that.
And then there's another app which I'm going to look on my phone actually really quick for which is Color Story. And I love this if you want to add in a little bit something like a light beam or something to just pump up your image a little bit. And those two apps I love for editing okay?
So then after you've edited your photos, go into Planoly or Preview and just load in a bunch of different photos. And in both of these apps, the best part, in my opinion, is that you can move around your images. So start laying out nine ... I like to think of it in nines because that creates a square, and just start placing your photos next to each other, and then look at how they flow. If you want to make that go from pink to purple, cool. If you want it to just make sure that you're not always having, for me, a hand with rings on it because I think it's important to show different sides of the jewelry and different ways that you can view it just to be interesting because you don't want to be boring as well. That's going to be a part of you getting traction. So I use Planoly or Preview for that.
And then, I am a huge believer in planning. So I also, within Planoly, will write out the hashtags because you can ... There's a limit of using 30 hashtags per post, which do not put them in your caption. That's another tactical thing that, an [crosstalk 00:41:52] point-
Where do you put them then?
Is it [crosstalk 00:41:54] comments?
Because I read in a research article that it's statistically proven that people that see hashtags in your first caption are less likely to engage with your photo because they just ... It's a turnoff. They're meant to help you be found on the platform. No one needs to actually see them. So just put in your regular caption and then as a second or as your comment, write in your hashtags. And go ahead, what were you going to say?
So I was going to ask is, okay. I've seen a couple of different strategies for this. Should you do the dot, dot, dot, dot, dot hashtags in your comments or do you just, boom, put them all in the comments?
I've seen both and I'm a fan of the dot dot dot because it doesn't just show up in front of people and it looks to me like spam when I see a bunch of hashtags. So if you do the dot dot dot and 10 of those dots and then do your hashtags, it will prevent it from being a huge bam in your face as far as I've seen. It won't show up, and I just think it's a better, more lovely experience for the user, but there's no wrong way. I've seen it done both ways. And there used to be, and I think this is probably a little bit, I don't know, outdated at this point, but there used to be a saying that you should put in your hashtags within a minute of posting because-
I was just going to ask about that.
And from what I've seen and experienced, hashtags are hashtags. I think just for the sake, I will forget to do them myself if I don't do them immediately so I always just do them right after and I'm like, "Okay, done. Moving on." But I have a lot of friends that are influencers and they do them a week later, a month later. So I don't know how much of a validity there is to that anymore, but just purely for the sake of just head space, I do it right after I post.
Okay. Yeah. I'm always quickly rushing to put Instagram or the hashtags in the first comments like it's a race and I'm going to run out of time.
I know, right? Yeah. Another thing about Instagram and my motto of not letting it run you and you running it, is chill. Don't stress. It doesn't run your business. Your photos can still be found. I used to just almost get panic attacks that, "Oh my God, I didn't post today. I don't have any more images," da, da, da. And it's just negative, I think and it's counterproductive to what you're actually trying to do on the platform. So in order to make Instagram, and social media in general, not an anxiety filled stressful experience, I utilize apps. So in order of sequence, I take photos. I take a lot. Sometimes it takes 100 images to find the exact one that I want, so just be very free with that. And then I edit them in VSCO Cam normally or within A Color Story. And then I import my favorites into either Planoly or Preview, rearrange the images so that I can see, "Okay, here's the next five images, how they would flow." I think you should look at color when you go into that. You can look at just the composition of the image as well.
So if you have your pieces on a blank background for one, and then one that has a different texture within it, I think that's really important and does a lot for just the whole composition of your Instagram feed. And then before you post, I normally also have somewhat of a caption within those apps that I want to go with those images. And obviously, you can change those at any time, but it'll just make the whole experience smoother and more enjoyable. And then I have my hashtags in my notes and that's essentially it. And I do also think that sharing your posts, I know might be annoying to some people, but a lot of people on Instagram are on Instagram stories and they don't even go through the feed anymore. So it's free. Just put your photo that you just posted in your feed and show it in your Instagram stories and write something fun about it.
I know that some people will cover up their image so that the person viewing it is more enticed to go to the actual feed and look at it. I don't know if you need to go that far, that's totally up to you, but I think that it is really important. You're going to get more eyeballs on it and just be creative with it. So I think that's the whole point of Instagram and social media in general.
How many stories do you post a day?
That's a good question. I think that it's really good for a brand to put up at least one to three, but typically, I'll go from anywhere between five and 10. If we have a lot of content to talk about, maybe 15, but realize the more stories you put up, your viewership is going to get lower just towards the end of the 15 slides. So if you're running a sale, for example, don't say what the sale is on your 10th slide. Say it on your first one. That's [crosstalk 00:47:25]-
Does it just go progressively down?
And I think that's common. If you were going to post five images on your feed a day, you would see more interaction typically I think with, from my experience. We don't post like that anymore. In the beginning, we used to post a lot more every day, but actual feed posts, if you were posting more than one or two a day, usually the later one will not get seen and viewed as much. I know that changed a little bit with the algorithm based on just engagement and interaction and all that too, but yeah. I'd say that's [crosstalk 00:48:00].
I have another question about Instagram stories.
Is there certain content you're posting on your Instagram Stories that tends to get more engagement? Are you actively asking questions to customers or how do you find using Instagram Stories is most beneficial?
I find that Instagram Stories is amazing for content that doesn't get much interaction on our feed to be totally honest. So we have a free... Well, that one does really well actually. I was going to talk about our free jewelry case with orders over 75. That one always performs really well on our feed, but it does capture people that don't go to our feed and then they see it on the stories.
But for another example, our quizzes, I rarely talk about them on our feed, but it's the perfect content for Instagram Stories because we're telling them what each quiz is about. We're saying swipe up, which you can't get the swipe up unless you have 10,000 followers or unless you're verified I think. But that is literally the perfect location for that type of content. And then also our other tools, like our ring sizing guide, that's a video that normally we wouldn't post on Instagram, the feed. So we put it into our stories and it's so cool. People are like, "Oh wow, you have a sizer that I can do at home. I don't have to purchase anything, don't have to wait for a package to arrive. Great. I'm going to swipe up and do it."
So I find that tutorials can sometimes be really beneficial in stories, but I do think it varies per the brand too. I know some people that have done those questions, like "Ask me a question today," and they do super, get so much engagement. For us, it's not really the same thing. We'd done it a few times and I do think even if one person responds it's valuable because you should treat every single customer with equal importance. But if you're looking to really make an impact, you're going to have to try things and see what works. I do think the polls are amazing though, and those can be utilized by any brand and you can get really creative with it. Some people like to use memes and they're like, "How's your day going, this way or this way?" It can be really fun. I think that's the point of stories too, is just to have fun, showcase things that you wouldn't normally showcase on your feed.
Maybe do a live. I think ever since Rhian and I actually had a one-on- one, she was like, "You should do more live videos," and I was like, "Oh my gosh, you're right." So I've been doing more of those.
Yeah. So there's constant new possibilities. And I think that it's just a matter of implementing them into your strategy.
I love hearing about that because as I said earlier, I'm quite terrible at Instagram. And so I'm always in awe of businesses who succeed through all means, but I'll also by use of Instagram. Because to me it's quite a puzzle that I can't unlock. I get SEO. I don't understand Instagram.
Yeah. I get it.
It's funny about it too, she'll text me and be like, "I posted on Instagram and I got 80 likes and I don't know why."
I love it.
Yeah. I don't get it, but I'm so glad that so many people do and that it's a valuable vertical. So I know you run giveaways on social media.
Tell me about them. How do they work?
I think it's an incredible way to get more people to see your brand. I don't know if it works for every brand, but for us, we have a price point where I'm okay to give away a gift card. That's normally what we do. The problem with doing product giveaways, the giveaway prize is that you might get some people that don't want to engage with it because they don't like that particular product. So in my opinion, it's most beneficial if you do a gift card to your brand, that way the person isn't biased against it. And it's like, "Oh cool. I can pick whatever I want. This is awesome." And it's just so, so good for engagement because you always as a part of it should ask them to like the photo because that's going to increase how many people see it. And then in their caption, following you and the other person or brand that you're collaborating with is also very important. It's kind of like email marketing. Once they're on your list of followers, they're going to be more likely to see your content. So that's important.
But then the essential one, even above the other two, is having them tag their friends because that is a built in referral system. So I just love them. I think they're so wonderful. I do think they can be overdone. So you want to be mindful of that, but at the same time, it's also a cool way to support other creatives. I've teamed up with other female founders, that's almost essentially always who I work with, and I am so happy to share their brand with my people. Because I just think that there's enough wealth in this world to go around to everybody. So it's really cool. I think the whole thing is super fun. It might not work for a super luxurious brand that's like, "Oh, our pieces are $2,000 each," they're not going to want to give you a gift card.
Yeah. Or "Here's a $50 gift card!"
Pay for 1/8 of this product.
Yeah. So it's definitely find who you should be working with and if it works for your brand. For example, the brand that I brought up earlier, Allbirds, what a great brand to do a giveaway. Who doesn't want a new pair of shoes? So fun.
I collect Allbirds so I would absolutely enter that giveaway.
Yeah, exactly. And I think it's a nice way to give back too, especially during COVID-19. It's just a way to be like, "I understand things are hard right now. Let's just bring a little love into this world," so that's my viewpoint on it.
I really like that you bring a lot of positivity and kindness into your brand and your brand messaging. I think that's great and something we need more of.
Thank you. I do think that it's essential as an owner of a business and anybody who has a platform to speak about kindness or just to evoke that. Because when I see a side eye photo from someone, or one where you're thinking you're being fashion, it's like, let's make kindness cool again, because I do think there is a validity to high fashion and I love those images as well. But at the end of the day, are we making the world a better place or not, you know?
For sure. And now I feel really bad about-
Seguing into influencers.
It's a very valid point and I think something that people need to learn about, so go for it.
Awesome. So, you did mention collaborations and lifting other women who are also artists. So how do you approach influencers and collaborations for the other businesses?
So when it comes to choosing who you're going to align yourself with for giveaways, I think the most important thing is making sure that whatever you're going to promote, whatever you're going to endorse essentially, is in line with what you yourself would buy. So stay true to the brand. And then also would it resonate with your customer? You should know who your customers are. Ours are women between the age of 26 and 35. There's a certain income bracket that we look at. So I think that either, we'll totally team up with people that have more high fashion images or are a bit aesthetically different than our brand. I think there's nothing wrong with that.
But I do think that you should just look at would my customer also shop from this? Because you're ultimately using it to introduce your followers to something new. And if it doesn't really relate with them, you know what I mean? It just might not fit. And then you won't get the traction that you want with it. So it's an interesting thing and I think that it's very unique per the brand and situation. For us, I'm huge in making sure that our platform is used for good. And we're always encouraging people to follow their dreams, live with kindness, treat themselves to something because they're worthy of it. So I wouldn't necessarily want to partner up with another brand or whatever that didn't also have a sort of mission statement or something else that they're pushing along that's similar in some way.
That's wonderful. I am so happy that we've had you on here today and I have two final questions for you.
So the first question is where can we find you on the internet?
KatieDeanJewelry.com is our website. I'd love for you to go there, sign up for our email newsletter, we send out lots of fun things on that. Take our quizzes.
Check out the new welcome series.
Yes! Please! Leave a feedback. And then also on Instagram, it's the same, Katie Dean Jewelry. And if you are a Pinterest user or Facebook, actually Facebook is the same, Katie Dean Jewelry. But then on Pinterest, we're KDeanJewelry, because we didn't have enough character space to put everything out. So yeah.
Great. We're going to link to those in our show notes and everybody, Katie's store is beautiful. The jewelry is wonderful. The price points are accessible, and I think you're going to really dig it. And Katie, so every episode, Kelly and I like to talk about a store or a shout out to something that we really are enjoying this week. So Kelly, why don't you go first this week?
Okay. So I came across this store that's called The Furlough Cheesecake. Their story says, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. The federal government gave us a furlough. So we're making cheesecakes." I love it. And so they have all different kinds of cheesecake flavors that you can buy. They have sweet potato cheesecake, which I think that's probably a Southern thing. Maybe? Strawberries rolled cheesecake, chocolate swirl cheesecake, banana pudding cheesecake. They all sound really delicious and-
Let's get cheesecakes!
I think we need to get cheesecake.
They do. They do deliver.
Sounds good to me.
So that one-
All around. Cheesecakes all around.
That one was mine. So thefurloughcheesecake.com is mine.
Rhian what's yours?
Mine is Bloom & Plume Coffee. And this is their tagline on their store. It's building beloved community where everyone belongs and becomes a better version of themselves one cup, one person, and one neighborhood at a time. And their hashtag is thirst come thirst.
I love it!
Which I love. It is a brick and mortar in Los Angeles. They also have a Shopify store where there's merch. So as everyone knows, LA County's been slower to open than other parts of the country. So if y'all can support an awesome coffee shop that is local to my area, that would be really awesome. And the aesthetics are beautiful. I can't wait to be able to go in and go and come say hi to them. They're on Temple street in Los Angeles.
Oh, I'll check it out.
So if you're local to LA, check them out either in person or buy some merch online. And what about Katie? What about you?
Okay, so I'm going to shout out a friend of mine in New York. She has a small florist company, but actually goes nationwide. They sell online. Her brand is called Popup Florist. And she's just such an amazing creative woman who is always giving back. So almost every week during quarantine, I've been seeing them donate to charities and she's been doing this well before COVID-19 so huge shout out to her. If you want some flowers, I believe they do dried bouquets for when they ship and then they do deliver in New York. Yeah.
That sounds great. I'm going to check that out for sure.
Well, thank you Katie so much again for joining us. We appreciate you. We appreciate your brand and that you're spreading kindness in the world. And thank you so much. I think we might have to have you back to talk about Pinterest, because that's a whole other thing that I know you're familiar with.
So we're going to have to circle back around otherwise it's going to be like a three hour episode and people are going to stop listening.
Oh it was my pleasure. No it was my pleasure. I hope that your listeners actually get information that they can use. That's a huge thing for me. Just being on Shopify, I have always found that the incredible part of that platform and being part of this community is that they give you information that you can immediately use and it improves what you're doing. So I want to pass that on and I'm just so thankful that you guys had me on today. Thank you so much.
Thank you. Have a great day!
Thanks for tuning in and thanks again to our sponsors for supporting this episode. You can subscribe to Commerce Tea on your favorite podcasting service. We post new episodes every Tuesday. So grab your mug and join us. See you next week.
Clocked in a time clock for Shopify. With Clockedin your team members can easily clock in and out of their shifts from anywhere. You can manage your team's hours as they work remotely with an intuitive interface that can be used from desktop,tablet, or mobile. Check it out at clockedin.io or in the Shopify App Store