Columnists

Creative Connecting: You Need to Listen to This

ColumnistsApr 20, 2021

Creative Connecting: You Need to Listen to This

Duvall O’Steen and Jen Cullen Williams on why jewelers should utilize two big audio platforms: podcasts and Clubhouse.

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.
Listen up! Audio apps are gaining in popularity on social media. As people drive or sit in waiting rooms or need a break from screen overload, listening becomes a pleasant distraction and/or a meaningful, useful way to pass time.

Podcasts of all types are on the rise, and the new audio-only social media app Clubhouse is gaining traction rapidly.

Because these are not visual apps, many jewelers will be quick to dismiss them or argue these are not viable marketing tools for the jewelry industry.

However, as listening apps grow in popularity, jewelers who take advantage of these tools can build and strengthen relationships with customers and followers that are not dependent on personal aesthetics or whether someone “likes” a jewelry design/style/image.

These apps also provide you with a simple way to learn about the personal interests of your customers and deepen connections with them.

Podcasts
Podcasts were already on the rise pre-pandemic, but quarantine definitely helped boost the medium as people were stuck at home and had more time on their hands.

According to Forbes, “The continued growth of podcast listening is expected. In 2020, an estimated 100 million people listened to a podcast each month, and it’s expected to reach 125 million in 2022.”

Jewelers can take advantage of the trend by either listening to, creating, or being guests on podcasts.

Listening to podcasts about trends in marketing or retail environments can be beneficial from a business management perspective. Tuning into them also will ultimately make you a better guest when you are invited to participate in one.

Being a guest on podcasts can also help with your store or brand’s marketing efforts. Find local podcasts in your area and reach out to the host, offering segment ideas that match your areas of expertise.

Retailers may want to offer “how-to” interviews, like how to plan the perfect proposal or what to look for when shopping for diamonds. These types of conversations establish credibility with the listeners and position you and your store as the local authority.

Topics related to city history or culture also increase brand awareness and paint a picture of your store or your brand as an integral part of the local community.

If your company has been active in the annual holiday parade for decades or if you’ve participated in your town’s downtown development initiatives or even clean-up and anti-litter campaigns, offer to do podcasts with local hosts to talk about those efforts. It not only increases awareness for those local events or causes, but also helps you engage with listeners in a non-commercial way that inspires trust and reveals the longevity of your brand.

Everyone in the jewelry industry knows that storytelling is crucial to success; stories sell.

In our industry, emotions are key, and tapping into a customer’s emotions will help close the sale every time. Nothing stirs those emotions like a good story, and having your own podcast gives you great leverage to be able to tell meaningful stories that strengthen relationships with existing customers and help you find new customers.

Creating podcasts is also now easier than ever. So many apps are available for professional voice recording with functionality that makes for easy editing and sharing.

One or two podcasts per month is sufficient. When planning the editorial calendar for your podcast, keep it dynamic and lively.

If this month you cover an educational topic, such as interviewing a gemologist on how to evaluate the quality of certain gemstones, then next month try a “meet the designer” interview and invite the designer of one of your best-selling brands to come and tell their story.

Also, remember to tell the story behind your business—invite the company founder to do an interview or, for family-run businesses, have family members on to talk about why and how they go into the jewelry business or share some of their favorite memories of local charity events or fundraising drives.

Remember to keep it conversational but always emotional; emotions are what the jewelry industry is all about.

Your podcast recordings can live on your website with keywords that stimulate SEO for Google searches and bring you new listeners, and potentially, new customers.

Promote the podcast on your social media outlets and your email marketing campaigns. Remember to leverage your guest’s audience, as well, with cross promotional outreach. Share your podcast with so-called podcatchers, aggregating sites like the podcast app on Apple or sites like Overcast, Stitcher and Podcast Addict.

For more information on how to promote your podcast, check out Buffers’ list of 10 strategies to promote podcasts.

 Related stories will be right here … 

Clubhouse
Clubhouse is the rapidly growing, invitation-only social media app available on iOS that facilitates auditory-only communication through rooms that can accommodate groups of up to 5,000 people.

The app offers social networking based on audio-chat. Users can listen to discussions, interviews, and conversations between interesting people on various topics. The Guardian described it as “part talkback radio, part conference call, part Houseparty … It is just like tuning in to a podcast but live and with an added layer of exclusivity.”

In an interview on the Hello Monday podcast with host Jessi Hempel of LinkedIn, Clubhouse Co-Founder and CEO Paul Davison stated, “Our goal is to give everyone instant access to meaningful conversations and human connections.” 

He described Clubhouse like a conference on any range of topics that allows you to drop into a breakout room or a mainstage to listen to a featured keynote while also meeting people in the hallway and having a conversation like you would at a dinner party or social gathering.

There are always lots of conversations happening at the same time, allowing users to move between speakers, rooms, and subjects based on interest. Most rooms are moderated, and the audience can ask questions or share their point of view and have deep conversations, discussions, and debates. 

Unlike other popular social media platforms like Instagram or Pinterest, Clubhouse is not visual or curated. Davison describes it as “raw and intimate, participatory and a place for deeper engagement.” 


The focus is not on appearance, nor on visual mediums like photography and videography, to highlight a product or person. It’s a place where experts, celebrities, journalists, luminaries, jewelers and more can share through one of the oldest communications mediums known to mankind: talking.

The Business of Fashion podcast episode “How Fashion Can Leverage the Audio Appeal of Clubhouse” featured host Imran Amed with guests Virgil Abloh, designer of Louis Vuitton’s menswear collection and CEO of Off-White, along with Clubhouse CEO Davison. The three stressed the power of creating a space to listen and learn and discussed the social network’s potential impact in the fashion industry. 

“All the conversations that I’ve hosted or been a part of on Clubhouse related to fashion, in a weird way, have been more in-depth than interviews or regular-format media,” Abloh said. “It’s an interesting case study, making sure brands have something to say when you can’t escape to creating an image.”

Jewelers should not ignore audio-only mediums like Clubhouse just because they are not visual. The platform provides an opportunity for jewelers to learn from other experts, participate in conversations and educate enthusiasts of jewelry, watches, gemstones, and design. It is a place to verbally share behind-the-scenes details, inspirations, and stories about new collections or your business, all while making new connections in the process.

Consider hosting regularly scheduled Clubhouse meet-ups and promote them on your other social media platforms to encourage clients to join. Go in with an open mind and a willingness to engage and learn. 

What is the future of Clubhouse? 

When asked about the monetization for Clubhouse, Davison said: “There are so many people in the world who are smart, who are funny, who are creative, who are great at bringing people together. And we want to build in tools that allow them to get paid directly by listeners who are happy to pay them for the experiences that they are creating. So, that might be subscriptions. It might be paid events. It might be tipping. That’s really what we’re focused on when it comes to building out our business.”

Like all social media platforms, there are always personal data security risks and users who violate the terms and conditions. Clubhouse moderators can block, report, and mute in-house rooms and investigate violations immediately, but like always, be cautious on what information is shared on Clubhouse or any public platform. 

Our final piece of advice for jewelers is to tune in, speak up, and share your passion and expertise with the millions of users that could become your future customers, or better yet, your friends! 
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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