How to Keep Your Jewelry Business Safe on Social Media
Jewelers are increasingly turning to the internet and online social media as effective ways to build their brands, raise potential customers’ awareness of their offerings, and boost sales. And with every revised web page, blog entry, Facebook post, YouTube video, photo upload, and Tweet, Jewelers are hoping that members of their target audience are viewing, reading, and taking interest.
Remember, however, that members of another audience are also logging in and taking interest. The statistical findings that Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company (JM) and Jewelers Security Alliance (JSA) have repeated over the years continue to hold true today: nearly all crimes against jewelry stores are preceded by days or even weeks of close and continual observation — casing — performed by individuals with criminal intent.
Today more than ever, that process of researching and casing an intended target includes digging up as much information as possible online. Unfortunately, because of the type of information that jewelers are unwittingly revealing with their posts, criminals are finding that there’s quite a lot of useful, and potentially business-damaging, information to be gleaned.
In their attempts to engage closely with their online audiences, jewelers are giving away information that could help criminals plan their attack.
Law enforcement agencies and Jewelers Mutual have published very few hard-and-fast rules about information sharing via online avenues and social media. The broad variety of topics and the diverse content of jewelers’ online communications make the development of a comprehensive checklist of dos and don’ts impractical.
However, there are some broad considerations that every jeweler may contemplate before posting information to the public via the internet and/or social media. These considerations all relate to the discipline of stepping back and assessing your communications through the eyes of individuals who are intent on committing a crime and taking your valuable merchandise:
- Does the information help criminals identify members of our staff?
- Does it reveal patterns regarding our staffing levels at particular times or on particular days?
- Does the information give away too many specifics regarding our travel plans or transport of merchandise?
- Do posted images reveal specifics regarding our store’s physical configuration, location of merchandise, or placement of security equipment, the safe, the vault, etc. that could help criminals plan a crime?
- Does the information indicate when the store is receiving a new line of merchandise?
- Do our promotions of trunk shows or special events tell criminals about after-hours activities at the store that could present robbery opportunities?
The challenge is to walk the fine line between marketing your business and avoiding the disclosure of information that could be beneficial to criminals.
Also, by stepping back and viewing your communications through a criminal’s eyes, you’ll remain cognizant of occasions where you may need to beef up your security.
For example, you might very well want to promote an after-hours trunk show via social media. By wearing the “criminal’s glasses” as suggested above, you’ll be reminded that you may need to hire security for the event and find ways to include references to the event’s security in your communications:
“To attend our special event, please call us at 555-0123 to provide your contact information and to request a guest pass. Be sure to bring your pass to the event and show it to the security professional at the door to gain admittance.”
By including a statement such as that, you might dissuade a criminal from targeting your store.