Columnists

How to Plan, Promote and Present a Livestream Selling Event

ColumnistsJul 27, 2022

How to Plan, Promote and Present a Livestream Selling Event

Duvall O’Steen and Jen Cullen Williams share tips on finetuning your audio, making it fun, and the magic number for pre-event promotion.

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Duvall O’Steen, left, and Jen Cullen Williams are independent communications strategists and senior consultants for the Luxury Brand Group. They can be reached at DuvallOsteenNYC@gmail.com or Jen@JenCullenWilliams.com.
Live social selling merges the livestream feature on platforms like Instagram and Facebook with retail selling so consumers can make purchases as they watch a live event. 
 
Business accounts that have social selling enabled can tag products from their Instagram or Facebook shop as they show them in a livestream, making shopping easy and instantaneous for viewers.
 
Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, reports that in a survey, 83 percent of users said Instagram helps them discover new products and services, while 80 percent of Facebook users reported they go to Instagram when deciding whether to purchase something or not.
 
The ability to sell during live events streamlines the process from discovery to conversion, helping brands achieve more sales on social media. It is clearly an excellent tool for jewelers to consider using. 
 
Similar to broadcast retail (i.e., QVC, HSN, etc.), live selling on social media allows sellers to offer full product explanations, present features and benefits, tell stories about the designer or design inspiration, showcase various ways to style a piece, and more.
 
Here, we’ve gathered some tips from top live social sellers to help you plan and implement the most effective and successful events for your fine jewelry line.
 
Planning & Promotion
When planning a livestream event, promotion is critical to success. 
 
Alex Weber, director of online sales at Market Square Jewelers, recommends consistency. 
 
“We started doing live show events at the very beginning of the COVID shutdown in April of 2020 and found so much success and an awesome community in it that we set up a schedule that we’ve been sticking to ever since," Weber said.

“That consistency has helped people who want to know when we will be live. We find our night shows on Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays starting at 8:30 p.m. (Eastern) are definitely our most popular ones. We also set reminders on Instagram for people, so that they can find our live shows.”
 
 Related stories will be right here … 

Weber stresses that attendance is key to success, just like in a live event. 

“Promote your shows as much as you can, in any way you can. The more followers you have on a social site like Instagram, the larger the audience that will see your promotions and posts about your shows," Weber advised.  
 
“To build your followers, try connecting with others in your community and use common hashtags to help new people find your page. Even try doing a giveaway if you can swing it to encourage people to follow you. Of course, always providing the best customer service you can goes a long way with your customers, and word-of-mouth is your friend too. Finally, have fun with it—the jewelry community on Instagram is an awesome, supportive one.” 
 
Jansen Tew, CEO of marketing and design agency Denim & Velvet, suggests repetition in marketing and promotion. 
 
“You need to tell your customers about your event a minimum of seven times before they will remember it. We like to post twice on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and send two emails and two texts to our customers so they are getting the message a total of eight times, twice per platform. This way, they are very aware of what we are planning and more likely to attend.” 
 
Picking the perfect timing for your event can also be helpful. The time of day that you are going live will depend on your followers, said Tew.  
 
“If you are selling to stay-at-home parents, then 7 p.m. during bed and bath time would not be beneficial, and maybe something like 11 a.m. during nap time would be better. Use your Instagram Insights to understand who your customer is and when they are the most active on the platform.” 
 
Audio/Visual Tips 
According to Tew, the most important things to think about when planning a live social selling event are lighting, audio, assistance/help, and devices. 
 
For lighting, Tew suggests using three ring lights to make sure the space is bright and that the product is clearly visible. 
 
Weber, on the other hand, said they set their jewelry in a medium-sized LED lightbox. 
 
“That seems to work great for us and is an easy one-piece setup! Also, because our live shows are solely on Instagram, we use our phone for all the video and audio as the smartphone fits Instagram best. We all have the newer iPhones, 11+, and it really makes a big difference.”
 
Regarding audio, Tew suggests limiting background noise and making sure the microphone on the phone or computer you are using to stream is clean and picking up your sound perfectly. 
 
Do a soundcheck as part of the rehearsal process. Also, be sure to silence any other devices in the room, e.g., everyone’s cell phone, laptops/computers, tablets, etc.  
 
“If you are going to play music in the background, make sure that in your caption/description, you make it clear that you do not own the rights to the music,” Tew said. “You don’t want your live stream to be taken down or interrupted for copyright infringement.” 
 
“If your business colors are black and white, you do not need a hot-pink backdrop. It will just confuse your customers.” — Jansen Tew, Denim & Velvet
 
It is also important to have plenty of help to keep you organized, especially when it comes to the product you have already shown and what is to be shown next. 
 
When setting up and preparing for the event, be sure to have the jewelry lined up in an orderly fashion with displays if necessary. With extra pairs of hands, the host can remain still and on-camera while the helpers take pieces away and/or hand in new pieces. 
 
Be sure that you have multiple devices nearby on which you or a team member can watch the livestream and see what viewers are seeing. Tew said it also keeps the host from having to put their face close to the screen to read viewer comments.
 
Off-camera assistants in the room can read comments and track the progress of the show, how it looks live, etc.
 
The “set” can be equally important for a live selling show. 
 
Avoid distracting backgrounds to help keep the focus on the jewelry. 
 
Tew advises keeping the backdrop on brand, as well. 
 
“You need to have a clean, branded and pretty backdrop. If your business colors are black and white, you do not need a hot-pink backdrop. It will just confuse your customers. Having your business name in the background will help your customers recognize you quickly, and then also help new customers know who you are.” 
 
Logistics & Fulfillment
If you do a successful event and have customers wanting to buy your pieces instantly on social media, make sure you have a system in place to track sales and fulfill orders. 
 
Weber, of Market Square Jewelers, advises making sure that you, as the seller, set up parameters for how you want your shows to work and have policies in place for handling the sales and logistics after. 
 
“Decide in advance how long you want to allow people to ‘claim’ something before they pay, if you want to offer layaway for purchases, and what you want to charge for shipping."
 
They added, “If you offer additional services (like ring sizing), be sure to outline all those points and associated costs on your page. It helps to inform your customers ahead of time and avoid frustration for yourself during or after the event.”
 
According to Tew, service providers like CommentSold, Bambuser or buywith can be helpful but are not necessary for live jewelry selling.

“It just takes a little more planning and hands-on team members. In the apparel industry, CommentSold is amazing because they typically have 6-12 pieces of any given item. That is a lot of invoices to process quickly for just one item. If you are only going to be showcasing 15-20 total items in your show, then you should be able to gather the information and do the invoicing pretty seamlessly.”  
Livestreaming
Once your livestream is up and running, make sure to begin with a short introduction about your business and the products you will be showcasing. 
 
You want the audience, especially potential new customers, to feel welcome.  
 
Stay engaged with the audience and be prepared to answer, as well as ask, questions to get valuable feedback on what they are most interested in seeing or hearing. 
 
Keep your livestreams entertaining and fun. Live sales or promotions tend to create a sense of urgency, making the audience feel that there is only a limited time to buy, especially with one-of-a-kind pieces. This can be helpful but avoid making it feel overly stressful, anxiety-inducing, or too “salesy.”  
 
Once your livestream concludes, continue to promote it. This often leads to residual e-commerce sales on products featured during the live sale. 
 
To learn even more about livestream shopping, watch the recent episode of National Jeweler’s “My Next Question” webinar series featuring Associate Editor Lenore Fedow in conversation with Laryssa Wirstiuk, founder of jewelry-focused digital marketing agency Joy Joya. 
 
In conclusion, consumers prefer to purchase from a person rather than a brand. 
 
Livestream shopping allows customers to connect with a designer or with the people behind a company to get immediate feedback on questions and/or the information they need to make an informed buying decision. 
 
It is a way to introduce your company and products but more importantly, it can be a powerful tool to drive revenue for your company.

Jen Cullen Williamsis an independent communications strategist and senior consultant for the Luxury Brand Group.
Duvall O'Steenis an independent communications strategist and senior consultant for the Luxury Brand Group.

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