Social Media Planning for Apparel Decorators

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Social Media for someone into printing custom t shirts, running an embroidery business or especially making and selling rhinestone t-shirts or transfers can be an incredibly effective marketing tool

One of the biggest struggles that custom t shirt printers, and others face when constructing an effective social media marketing program is just getting out in front of the work involved and getting it handled early.  Shops that wait until the last minute often do not have much in way of consistent messaging.

This article will focus on some easy to do tips to effectively plan and build your program.   It’s full of information not only for custom t shirt printing businesses like screen printers or direct to garment printers, but for any business at all.

What we are going to create is a working content calendar, and along the way I’ll suggest some things that can help you develop the content too.

Your Custom T Shirt Business Social Media Calendar

First, it helps to have an actual calendar.  This can be a huge whiteboard version on your wall, one on your desktop in Outlook or Google, or even one of the promotional calendars you get from a supplier or trade show.  The trick is to use whatever you are currently using for other things, as that is apt to have other information you need to plan.  Especially if you are marking off your vacation days or other pertinent notes.

Next, you need to decide what type of content you need to push out and what actions you want to have from it.  Are you wanting more brand awareness for your shop?  Do you need more people buying from your website?  What is the goal from this effort that you want, and how will you know you have achieved that goal?  Write out your goals and post them.  I know it sounds corny, but making this goal public can help you a few months down the road.

Using your calendar, look ahead a month or so from now.  Any big dates coming up?  Christmas, the 4th of July, the anniversary of your shop opening up, maybe even something local, like the start of school or a sports season.  You can’t wait until those events happen to talk about them, you need to start talking about holiday season production in October and suggest ideas.  For summer picnic or 4th of July, you would start talking about these weeks earlier too.

You can listen to more information on the Social Media episode of the CASPodcast

Simply put, you can create your content well in advance and schedule it on these dates on the calendar well before they are due.  For example, it’s fairly easy to create a great looking template in Photoshop that has your logo, website and phone number on it.  Simply switch out the picture or content that goes underneath.  This can be a motivational quote, an action photo of some production aspect from your shop, even suggested things people can buy like a custom t-shirt for a family reunion or a custom printed hoodie.  Make a list of these posts you want to create and spend an hour or so creating the visuals. If you aren’t capable of doing the graphics yourself you might explore online services that create graphics and might specialize in social media ads.

Then use an app like Hootsuite or Buffer and schedule the content out weeks in advance.  Maybe every Monday you post a pic from your shop or highlight an employee.  The third Thursday of the month you could ask a question like “what’s your favorite t-shirt color?”  What if every Tuesday you described another add on piece for a custom t shirt order, like a printed bag with the same design, or like an embroidered logo or puff embroidery in a short blog article?

You can even tailor newsletter pieces to the most commonly searched words people use to look things up online.  I use a free website answerthepublic to see what people type in for keywords.  Just type in t-shirts, or embroidery, or fleece with the country you live in and see what comes up.  It is a great idea generator.

As you start developing your calendar and begin to throw your ideas together to support your custom t shirt printing business or embroidery business, you will naturally think of things that aren’t needed at the moment.  Maybe it is the winter and you just thought of a great pool party idea.  Write it down on your calendar.  The benefit of doing things this way is that when you think of things from a 30,000 foot viewpoint, it’s easy to see where they link up.

Think big picture and what you want to be working on the most in your shop.

Next comes the hard part.  Developing the content.  This is a task that you are going to have to budget some time for, to hit the dates on your new calendar. Do things early.  It doesn’t have to be difficult as there are some apps or tech that make it easier.

Think about each month and assign a day and person to create the content that you want to share.

Blogging for the Custom T Shirt Business

Write a short article detailing how to solve a problem for your customer.  A good place to start is your FAQ section from your own webpage.  Take one topic and write a few paragraphs about it.  Some examples could be “Vector vs Raster Art Files”, “Printing on Performance Apparel”, “Using Tonal Ink or Thread”, or even “How We Print Customer Supplied Inventory”.  Detail each article so that it addresses a common problem.  Then, when it pops up in your daily life you can just shoot the customer the link to the blog article on your website.  Include a picture or video to really add some depth.

Social Media Posting Tips for the Custom T Shirt Business

This could be a #FF (Follow Friday) where you post on Fridays to follow your top interactors.  Maybe a weekly showcase of something.  Even highlighting your employee’s service anniversaries or birthdays!  Show how friendly your staff is with examples.

Photos are vital to custom t shirt marketing, and you social media – Using your camera phone take great pictures of jobs in action.  Wide shots of the production floor or even close up shots with detail.  Create a Pinterest account and use that as a working gallery.  Link that to your website.  Take pictures all week and every Friday push them up to a shop Pinterest board.  Once a month, push the Pinterest board link out to your social media feed and call it a “Virtual Shop Tour”. Posting pictures of your life around the office, your employees and what’s happening in your printing shop or embroidery shop will typically get more comments, likes and shares than any other!

Infographics – Tons of people love looking at infographics.  These are easy to create with any design software, but there are apps like www.visme.com that allow you to create them from templates with animation.  You can upload your own logos, art or pictures.  Make each relevant to solving some problem for your customers, and they will be liked, shared and retweeted.

Newsletter – You can create great newsletters with apps like www.mailchimp.com and use them to highlight what’s going on in your shop.  Include a coupon or two, suggest ordering a new type of garment, or even repurpose your blog article you’ve already written.  To get your customer’s to keep the newsletter, try including a secret dessert recipe or other handy tip. Make sure it comes out on the same day of the month every time for continuity.

Industry Events or Awards – Did you go to a trade show?  What did you learn?  Highlight your trip and show everyone!  Maybe you won a design award or have been recognized by the local chamber or business group for you awesomeness.  Don’t keep that a secret!  Shout it out from your social media platforms!

Seasonal Content – Just as it sounds.  Post about relevant topics that you customers will want to know more about.  Stay timely.  If you want to learn what’s going on with any day of the year..

The main idea here is to plan as much as you can for your content and do it in advance.  Remember the 90-9-1 rule.  90% of people online read, view or consume social media content.  9% of the people that viewed the content will like, share or retweet it.  However, only 1% of the people linked to social media are actually creating the content.

To differentiate your shop, you want to be in that 1%.  That’s what is going to drive more business your way.

For more information on printing custom t shirts visit: www.dtgprintermachine.com

You can also learn more about the apparel decorating, embroidery and custom t shirt business at: www.caspodcast.com



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