Diamond Fans unite on Facebook -- thanks to a Baltimore jeweler
One of the most popular destinations on Facebook with ties to Baltimore isn't connected to a sports team or a national brand, but to a downtown jewelry shop.
Ron Samuelson, of Samuelson's Diamonds on West Baltimore Street, operates the “Diamond Fans” page on Facebook, which recently surpassed more than 500,000 fans and is now the largest jewelry page on the social media site.
By comparison, Zales Jewelers, a national chain, has 27,000 Facebook fans, while Kay Jewelers has fewer than 600 fans. Another local company, Baltimore-based Under Armour Inc., has 390,000 Facebook fans, while the Baltimore Ravens football team has 252,000 fans.
The most popular page is Texas Hold ’Em Poker, with 27 million fans of the Facebook game.
“It’s just so incredible,” Samuelson said. “Here we are sitting on Baltimore Street and we have the largest jewelry page on Facebook.”
AllFacebook, a website that tracks Facebook news, recently ranked the “Diamond Fans” page as the 63rd most popular page in the fashion category of Facebook, beating out Hugo Boss, Levi’s and Versace.
Thousands of small and large businesses, pro athletes, celebrities and nonprofits maintain fan pages on Facebook. Facebook users become “fans” of the pages to keep up with news, events and promotions that are offered through the pages. Increasingly, having a Facebook fan page is an integral part of a company’s marketing strategy.
Samuelson claimed the “Diamond Fans” page about 2 1/2 years ago, and he has been diligently updating it with photos and links to news, facts and trends in the world of diamonds. He does occasional promotions through the page for products for sale at his Baltimore store — but pushing advertising about his business isn’t the main purpose of the page, he said.
Instead, Samuelson is using the page to build a worldwide community of fans of diamonds, who incidentally might choose to buy jewelry from his store. He regularly polls the fans of the page to gauge changing tastes and trends in jewelry. For instance, do they prefer yellow or white gold, or platinum settings?
His Facebook fans can tell him which kinds of products to focus more on selling in his bricks-and-mortar store, he said. Online revenue from leads generated from the Facebook page is still small, he said.
“This page, much like social media, is not about pushing deals in people's faces,” Samuelson said. “Much like any other medium, it’s all about establishing trust and communicating with people, and then the business comes.”
Samuelson’s grandfather opened the shop in 1922, and the grandson has taken the family business into the age of social media. An early adopter when it comes to Facebook and Twitter, Samuelson has used the services to build the brand reputation of his jewelry business. Thousands of followers of the Diamond Fans page live abroad, he said.
Samuelson also has a Facebook page and a website for his own business, under the name Baltimore Diamonds. But when you search for just diamonds on Facebook, Samuelson’s “Diamond Fans” page is typically the first one that shows up.
Samuelson’s strategy “looks brilliant, to use a term for diamonds,” said Jeff Davis, partner with Sawmill Marketing Public Relations, a Baltimore firm with an expertise in social media.
Davis said that Samuelson was smart in claiming the generic name “diamonds” on Facebook, because that term would be searched more than his business’ name.
Looking at the degree and quality of interaction on the Diamond Fans page, Davis said it appears that Samuelson is having great success with his followers.
“That’s an incredible number of people ‘liking’ the fan page,” Davis said. “So obviously they've seen value in the content.”
(Below, the Samuelson's Diamonds store in downtown Baltimore.)
This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location: baltimoresun.com/balttech