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How social media can boost your profit

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Xennox Diamonds is an award-winning family business specialising in the manufacture of unique and stunningly beautiful engagement and weddings rings. The company, headed by CEO Karl Schwantes, is experiencing unprecedented growth due to a proactive digital marketing strategy that engages with clients Australia wide.

“Through a variety of digital platforms, most notably Facebook and Instagram, our clients can engage with our products from their comfort of their own home,” says Karl.

“We can show clients behind-the-scenes footage of their creations being made. We not only provide a world-class service experience when clients visit us in store, but through the digital world as well.

Our Facebook following of over 20,000 has led to an increase in client engagement, lead generation and inquiries and interstate business. We now have a loyal base of devoted and happy fans who are recommending us to their friends, family and work colleagues.”

As well as Karl’s traditional roles of director, designer, gemmologist, diamond grader and valuer, it is his willingness to market his business through digital channels that has positioned Xennox well ahead of its competitors.

Below, Karl shares his unique perspective on client engagement and the strategies and tools he has used to grow his enthusiastic fan base.

How would you describe Xennox Diamonds and the company’s journey to date?

We’re a 37-year-old, second-generation family business specialising in the manufacturing of unique engagement and wedding rings. That’s a long legacy, and during that time we have won more than 10 awards for quality in manufacturing jewellery.

How has Xennox Diamonds changed over time to adopt digital technologies?

Over the past five years our customer engagement approach has changed from conventional print advertising to more of a social strategy evolving around various platforms including FacebookInstagramTwitterLinkedIn and, of course, our website.

I look after these platforms personally. I predominantly use Facebook and Instagram because if we look at our core audience, they are women and the stats suggest they are the biggest users of Facebook (64%) and Instagram (68%). What we’re finding at the moment is that we’re receiving more engagement and leads through social media platforms than by conventional mail and email.

Can part of Xennox Diamonds’ success be attributed to adopting digital technologies and trends? If so, to what degree?

Absolutely. I have developed relationships with and created pieces for clients as far away as Tasmania, New South Wales and Central Queensland. These clients have never been in the store, but we have built up a relationship and trust via social media. The reason it has been successful is I’ve built up the trust and engaged with them on a personal level.

I always ensure I sign off using my last name, respond to emails promptly, and I often reply to social media queries even quite late at night. I’ve had clients who have flown up and tell me they feel as if they know me already when I meet them. There’s always going to be a percentage of people who follow you but don’t engage. But over time, if you stay true to your corporate brand, you will slowly gain their trust. When the time comes for them to make a purchase, you will be seen as the trusted source. Building up trust over time is key. It doesn’t happen overnight.

Are you digitally savvy? How and why did you learn about digital?

Yes, today I would class myself as digitally savvy. It has been part of my philosophy over the past few years – I’m constantly looking to increase my knowledge in the digital sphere. This ranges from listening to podcasts in the car to researching online – I am always looking for ways to utilise digital space to enhance client experience.

Do you incorporate digital planning at a strategic level for your business? If so, why is this important?

It is an important part of our strategic planning. I think the buying pattern of clients has been changing over time and never before has the power of social recommendations been as strong or beneficial as it is today. But you do need to approach it strategically, with measurable goals.

How is SEO relevant to Brisbane’s SMEs, including Xennox Diamonds?

SEO is particularly relevant when writing my blogs. I have published more than 70 to date, utilising key words that are going to drive traffic to our website. One of my recent popular posts was ‘Should we get married or install a new kitchen?’ Again, through optimal SEO our website experiences greater traffic and this of course leads to more customer interest and engagement. Blogs are a great way to do this and, as well as being informative, are also entertaining and allow us to develop our corporate brand in a more authentic way.

What’s next for Xennox Diamonds and digital?

I have written a book entitled Rock Her World. It contains the very best information and expertise available in our industry. It’s taken 20 years to develop and involved conversations with more than 5000 couples. It is the ultimate guide to helping prospective bridegrooms through the often-daunting process of choosing an amazing engagement ring for their partner. We will even be making some of the chapters free to download. Overall, we want to establish ourselves as industry experts in the field of diamonds and jewellery.

From when XD started using SEO, how long until you saw tangible results?

That’s a tricky one, especially with the new Google updates. I would say from our helpful rich content plan, great results were evident within a couple of months.

What type of approaches should SMEs take to utilise SEO? What approach does Xennox Diamonds take?

I believe there are some things you can outsource, but there are plenty of things you must do yourself. You could outsource SEO, but not social media – it definitely needs to have your voice. It needs to be managed by someone who is experienced and knows how to authentically engage with your target market. If it’s not social and genuine, people won’t engage.

What do you wish you knew about digital and SEO when you first started?

In the beginning we used digital, especially on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, as more of a push-feed mechanism rather than a tool for engagement. We learned that just pushing out will only take you so far. It’s really about investing the time and really engaging with your clients. Don’t expect to see results for six months. You need time to build up goodwill and an "emotional bank account" of knowledge and trust. And always be prepared to respond to and engage with your client base in an authentic, genuine and timely fashion. There’s never been an opportunity like this before to show clients how you can deliver what they want in a way that totally exceeds their expectations.

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