Need customers? They certainly are out there. The good news is that it is even easier than ever before to get them to notice your shop and become your newest customer singing your praises.
How do you do that you may ask?
Using the power of social media to aid with marketing your screen printing shop. Not just any social media though. It needs to be content rich, powerful and accurate to what you do every day to help marketing your screen printing shop. The goal is to directly connect your post with the needs of your audience.
But first let’s define what social media is and isn’t. For a lot of shops, they’ve tried posting things on Facebook or maybe even Twitter occasionally with little success. It just sits there like cold French Fries. Nobody wants to touch it.
Before we even get into discussing the best practices on how to use social media we need to spend just a few moments detailing how you should be thinking about it. First, it’s social. It’s meant to be interactive and almost like a conversation. Your shop needs to clearly define your “voice” in that conversation. Let’s take a look:
● Role in the Marketplace. What is your position in the marketplace? Are you a thought leader? A follower? A disruptor? A creative thinker? Are you the lone voice in the woods? Take a few minutes and think about the position your company holds in the industry. Even if it is a “what you aspire to be” position. If you say you are the number one shop, or the most creative, all of your social media posts should be backing that up. You can’t say you have the best artistic talent in the area, but regularly post cat meme t-shirt designs that you stole off of Facebook. Position your shop with well thought out and highly distinctive posts that illustrate your position in the marketplace.
● Selling Points. Think about how you describe your shop to others you meet casually. Do you discuss your speed in which you can get an order out the door? Do you offer delivery? Maybe you handle discharge printing or embroidery applique? Scoop up everything that makes you different than some other shop down the street and list these as advantages or benefits. Use these as idea generators for content.
● Your Marketplace. Who are you to your customers? Just a supplier? A trusted partner? A commodity? Think how your customers view your shop. How do you think they would define that relationship? After all, you are going to be targeting and engaging with them with your social media posts. Do you need to change their perception or reinforce what’s out there already?
● Where Do Your Customers Hang Out? This is the most important research you can do. Where do they hang out online? Twitter? Facebook? Instagram? Pinterest? LinkedIn? Maybe a combination? Do they follow, like, share or retweet other companies posts? If they do, what type of posts are they? Pictures, infographics, videos, or blog articles? What seems to gain their interest or make them happy?
Once you have added these up and determined your voice and direction for social media, the next step is to really get down to brass tacks. What do you want? There are four questions to consider:
1. Do you want simple brand awareness? This just means that people should know who you are, but you aren’t trying to sell them anything.
2. Do you want to show off your skills? This is important, as maybe they don’t know you can print with metallic ink or handle puff embroidery on snapback hats.
3. Do you want to drive your audience to your website? Super critical these days, as more eyeballs may mean more business. However, you still need to convert them once they are there.
4. Do you want them to buy something? Hoodies in the fall, t-shirts in the spring. Maybe you have an apparel line. Action here means dollars in your pocket.
These four questions, with the combination of how you are positioning your shop in the marketplace, should be used to build your content for your social media calendar. Your goal is to think about what you are trying to achieve with the post. Then, decide how will you know if your post is a success.
What does success even look like? Can you track it? Let’s discuss these four topic points more in-depth.
There is a great term for this that accurately describes what you are shooting for here, and that is “Top of Mind” placement. This occurs when you keep showing your audience what you do, so when it comes time for them to use the services you provide, they naturally think of you first.
Here are some tips that will help drive Brand Awareness:
● Make it visual. Photos or videos are easy to understand. Our industry is complicated. Want people to know you can use metallic foil or can screen-print over a hoodie zipper? Show them!
● Solve a problem. Anytime a customer asks you a question or has a need, take this a clue to post an answer on your social media feed. Where one customer has a question, another one goes unasked. Make it easy!
● Post relevant content. Your social media posts shouldn’t be all about you. Share things that your audience will find beneficial. You know them. What will be interesting to them?
Show Off Your Skills
For the most part what we do in the decorated apparel industry comes off as magic to most people. How many times has someone asked you “How do you embroider a hat?” or “What is the advantage of using waterbased ink?” Have you ever explained what a “satin stitch” is or the difference between a “vector and a raster file”?
The great thing about social media is that it is a perfect format for you to create content that puts you in front of your customers as an expert. All you have to do is just develop your ideas and push them out. People want to feel at ease that their order will be handled properly, and nothing says that I know what I’m doing better than a hundred photos, or even a short video demonstrating that point.
● Quality photos work best, so try to create a fantastic visual when you are snapping a photo. Color, lighting, textures and angles are all interesting. Experiment with different ways to take a shot. If you are showing a particular technique, try a close up of the design.
● Create social media portfolios using Pinterest or Instagram. These work as gallerys of your work, and are great to send customers when discussing relevant topics. With Pinterest, you can create boards for different ideas or themes such as “Embroidery” or “Screen-printing” or even “Cool Pics from Around the Shop”. Instagram works differently as you can’t categorize images, but you can create hashtags to drive engagement and make your pic more searchable.
● Infographics work great too. Try creating ones that will last year over year such as “5 Best Shirt Colors for Halloween”, “How High Density Printing Works”, “Quirky Hoodie Placement Ideas”, or even “A Day in the Life of Our Shop”. Tailor these to your demographic.
Drive Your Audience to Your Website
Online, your website is your sole identity. Websites are created for different fuctions. Some are just placeholders or an information delivery system. Other websites function as a store, and drive business to you with orders. Which platform describes yours?
Either web platform should function easily on multiple devices. If your website doesn’t work on a cell phone or tablet, you could be in big trouble. Make sure you get that redesigned pronto!
● Multiple pages or tabs should have different content ideas. You could have an online quoting system, shop gallery of printed shirts, facts about your sustainability or causes you support. If each of these different ideas are on different pages on the site, these can be included in individual social media shares. Make each tab something that is important to your shop.
● If you have a blog on your site, make sure you included hyperlinked references to other posts, pictures or videos. Include references to you other social media accounts such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram. This drives more engagement and will boost your followers. Make sure you check “Open in Another Window” option when building the hyperlink, so the user won’t leave the main site to go see what you have referenced.
● If you are selling something on your site, make sure you spend some time and “think like your customer” Your customers want to order easily and not get bogged down with too many steps. The number one reason why people abandon carts is that the process is too long or is too complicated. Simple is better.
It’s All About Selling Something
There is a famous quote that I like that goes “Nothing ever happens in business until something gets sold.” All of your social media efforts have to be based on this fact. Your efforts must be linking you to the customer, and the customer to the sale. At the end of the day, are you asking for the sale?
And by sale, this doesn’t mean discounts or giving something away. There’s nothing wrong with promoting your services and having a sale, but if you do them too often you are training your customers to wait for that discount to happen before calling you. A better plan is to promote value, rather than discounts. Remember, value is long term, price is always short term.
The best approach is to demonstrate your value in the selling proposition in your social media posts. For your shop, what is that? Here are some tips:
● Sell your shop’s strengths. Got a great creative team? Maybe you can print on dri-fit polyester without dye migration? Show your stuff! Post these on your social media channels on a regular basis as you work on orders. Don’t be afraid to repeat some images, especially the ones that seem to resonate with your audience. Remember, as your social media follower count grows, the new people following you didn’t see that video you posted last April. Share it again!
● Show how you solve problems. Maybe you offer free delivery. Show your delivery truck bringing in boxes of shirts somewhere and a happy customer. Social media is great for demonstrating exactly why someone needs to do business with you.
● Make it personable. People don’t do business with their enemies, they do business with their friends. Create a video, podcast, blog or even just a simple gallery of pictures that demonstrates your friendliness. Show what’s behind the curtain with smiling, happy people. Humor sells. Don’t be afraid to be goofy.
In closing, remember the 90-9-1 rule. 90% of the people that use social media will view, read or watch your content. Only 9% of the people that view the content will actually like, share or repost the material. But here’s the outstanding fact: only 1% of the people on social media actually create the content that everyone enjoys.
This means it pays to by in the 1%. Create your content. Get noticed and drive more business to your shop!
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