What’s New in Social Media for Custom Apparel |Social Fresh Recap
Social Media – Social Fresh Conference
Today we’re talking about Social Media. Mark and Marc went to a big conference in Orlando – Social Fresh. A lot of social media managers are there – Jet Blues, The Weather Channel, and many more. The idea or goal of this conference is to share information between each other and also to get industry experts to weigh in on what they’re doing on social, what they’re finding successful, and to pass that on to the rest of us.
We want to share some of that information with you. You’re a small business owner and whether you’ve been one for a while or you’re fresh into it, you might not be using social media to the best of your business. That will help bring success to your business, help make you money, and not waste your time.
What are some of the things we learned that left a lasting impression?
Customers and potential customers want to engage with you on social media. It’s very easy, it’s very comfortable, it’s very trusting. They can find your brand online, read about it, and what other people have to say, read how you interact with other people, see if the message you deliver resonates with them. Social media gives your brand a personality.
Our philosophy has always been to be useful to our customers and to be wherever they are. Not where we want to be. As an example, we were in the habit of going to trade shows all the time, because that’s where we thought the best place to interact with customers was. But then our customers were clamoring for more interaction on social media platforms, because most of them are not going to trade shows every day. They want a way to connect with Coldesi or Colman and Company first thing in the morning, or at lunch. Instead of having to set aside time. They’re already on Facebook, or Twitter, or Instagram, or Pinterest. You should be there too.
That was how the Custom Apparel Statups Facebook group started. There wasn’t any comfortable, high trust place where people with small businesses could go that were in custom apparel and they could talk about things like, how much should I charge for stuff, where do I get this, how do I do that, without fear of looking like they weren’t professional.
What we found and learned in our research and at Social Fresh was that out of the social media platforms you can choose from, there’s one that you have to be on. You can make make money if you’re not on Facebook, but it’s harder. There are so many people on Facebook, that it really doesn’t matter anymore if you want to use it personally. You don’t have to, but you do have to be there for your business. More than likely, almost every person you’re going to do business with, is on Facebook.
More and more people are going on to Facebook first and looking up a business. Before Google sometimes. They’re searching for businesses, seeing if their friends like any businesses, or inquiry among their friends if anyone knows an embroidery business. The Coldesi Facebook page grows, not because we advertise our page on Facebook, but because our customers know we’re on Facebook and find us there. They know they can interact directly with a person, through the messaging system.
There’s than just posting images to Facebook, you can also sell something and accept a credit card. So if you have a business Facebook page, you can get all the information/steps on how to sell on Facebook. Essentially what you can do though, is set up a product for sale, link a merchant service provider, and someone can buy the product directly on Facebook. This is a particularly good idea if you make unique items.
You can do paid advertising, you can do video advertisements, or live broadcasts. You can almost completely substitute a website with a Facebook page. You can dive into the community, build a following and that is your business on Facebook.
Regardless if you don’t want to turn Facebook into a big thing, keep it simple and interact with people. You’ll still get business from it. What Facebook wants to do is provide no resistance in helping people get what they want. So if you create a Facebook ad, and potential customers are talking about needing custom apparel Facebook will push that ad to them. If you’re in in the bling business and your customer is in cheer, Facebook is going to attempt to bring you together.
By simply having a page, people will accidentally find you who are are looking for what you have. You still have to put a picture and information about what you do. The more things you have on there, the easier it’ll be for people to find you.
Use video in whatever way you can. Right now a big thing that is happening with video is Facebook Live. When you’re making an order for a customer, you can pick up your phone, hit that Live button on Facebook, and start recording. You can do these short little videos to let customers know what you’re working on, and it can be fun. Don’t be discouraged if only 2 people see your video, because that video will live on Facebook and over time, more people will watch it and react to it.
On the Colman and Company Facebook page, in the past year, we’ve had almost a half million views. It’s a powerful place. There are videos that when we made them and posted them, they only had 4 views, and a week later it only had 9. But when we look at that video 9 months later its at 1,000.
The benefit of doing live videos on Facebook, is that Facebook will look for people who are online that are connected to you and they’ll notify those people that you’re doing a live broadcast.
Customers can also leave reviews on business pages. So right now, if a customer goes to the Coldesi Facebook page, one of the first things they’ll see is the 4.6 out of 5 stars rating. Then they’ll read a few comments from customers.
All the other platforms you can do alongside Facebook and you can use them to enhance and build your social media presence.
Instagram is huge. It grows really fast, and if you’re not familiar with it, it allows you to share pictures and videos. Not only is it a great social media platform to keep in touch with people, but it’s a great business platform as well. If you do really good work or artwork, if you do unique work, practice taking good pictures of them (because that is going to be extremely important on Instagram), with your phone. In our office we’ve used LED flashlights to get shine off rhinestones and spangles. Where is the best lighting in your shop or home? We had one customer who had the best lighting in her bathroom. It can be a simple solution. You don’t have to spend a thousand dollars to get it set up.
Always keep in mind before posting: is it something worth looking at?
The thing with Instagram is that it is not a click and buy platform. It’s a community and customer building platform. It’s a purer social media (than Facebook), because you’re really just sharing pictures. You’re creating a fan base of people that will follow you and like your stuff. In the end when they need something, they’re more likely to come to you. Or if they know someone who’s looking for something, it’s really easy for them to share your Instagram pictures.
Some of the best things that work on Instagram for Coldesi is the short video clips of the machines running. Because someone who’s never seen an embroidery machine embroider onto a cap or has never seen a CAMS machine run, it’s a big deal, it’s hypnotic. Doing a 30 second video of you making a product, will get shared.
It’s not something that’s going to eat up a lot of your time and is a long term thing. You can’t do it once a month and ignore it. You’re building a brand. You’re doing long-tail marketing.
One of the companies that spoke at the Social Fresh conference delivered fresh food. They had a great idea in that they found local chefs and home owners that had big followings on Instagram or Twitter and they invited them all in for a free cooking day. Everybody cooked up their favorite dish with the food provided by the company and the only requirement was that they share everything they were doing on Instagram and Twitter in real-time. So there were 5 or 6 people at the event, with several hundred followers each, sharing each other’s posts. This means that all of those people in their networks are hearing about this company and their food.
If you can figure out a way to do something like that – tap into other people or company’s network – perhaps it’s your delivery day, when you go to drop the product off at the company or sports team. You encourage whomever you’re dropping it off to, to share a post at the same time.
How can you build trust in your business and brand? This is a way you can be in business for three months and get reviews, followers, and people saying things about you.
In our blog post, Beating the Competition by Being Different, we talk about what can you do to stand out in a saturated market. What are the chances that all of those other businesses are really good at Facebook and have a good presence. What are the odds that they’re on Instagram? What are the odds they have a big Twitter following? Those are all holes in the marketplace that you can fill with your marketing.
Twitter is a very tech savvy, hip crowd. They’re very engaged with public platforms. It is a crowd of celebrities, famous athletes, and big brands. It is a way to interact with all those things and people. You might have a lot of people who absorb their news and social media from Twitter. And the way to find out, is to simply ask your customers – what social media do you use and enjoy?
Find out what they use and communicate with them through it. Even direct messages can be sent on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. It will set you apart from everyone else who is trying to sell them something, and is just emailing them.
The social media platform that is growing the quickest is SnapChat. 41% of the population under 24 are on SnapChat. You should get it because it’s fun. If you’re selling to that demographic at some kind of event you’re going to want to SnapChat the entire time you’re at that event. It’s another way to build a community that’s in your target market. If you have a really bubbly personality and you talk to that crowd you can really build a large fan base.
Just like you need to be able to be found on Google, you need to be on Facebook, because that’s another way to be found online. Referrals are awesome, going out to events and making sales is awesome. But so is also doing nothing and having someone call you. When you’re participating in social media you’re planting the seeds to make that happen.
Just like everything else it’s going to be frustrating at times, and you may get a bad review, so it may seem scary, but it gives you the opportunity to respond to that customer (publicly, privately, or both).
Our goal is always to encourage. The people who get encouraged, take action. The people who take action, see results.
Have a great business!