Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram…these are all familiar terms in today’s world and just about anyone with a computer or smart phone uses at least one of these platforms on a daily basis.
What you might not know is that these every day outlets are extremely powerful marketing tools for your new t-shirt business and can bring you remarkable success. Social media marketing is defined as a form of internet marketing that uses various social media outlets to market a product or service and achieve branding goals.
It primarily covers activities such as social sharing of content (or your t-shirts), videos and images for marketing purposes, as well as paid social media advertising. This is a market that did not exist just ten years ago, however it is projected to generate nearly $11 billion in revenue by 2017.
In 2014, over 80% of business executives identified social media as an integral part of their business and retailers have seen increases of 133% in their revenues from social media marketing — with results like these, it’s a no-brainer to implement social media marketing for your t-shirt company.
It takes a mixture of listening to your audience, sharing a relevant message, and enabling others to share that message. Each platform offers its own unique form of marketing and often requires different techniques and strategies to reach followers. An effective social media strategy is now fundamental to the growth and success of almost any new or existing business.
Social networking websites allow individuals and businesses to interact with one another and build relationships and communities online. When companies join these channels, consumers can interact with them directly. These sites act as “word of mouth”. The internet’s ability to reach billions across the globe has given the digital word of mouth a powerful voice and far reach.
Social networking sites and blogs allow followers to “repost” comments or images about a product being promoted, which occurs quite frequently on social media sites. By repeating the message, the user’s connections are able to see the message, therefore reaching even more people.
Because this information is being put out there and being repeated, more traffic is brought to the product/company. Through social networking sites, companies are able to stay in contact with individual followers and this personal interaction can instill a feeling of loyalty into followers and potential customers.
The great news is that social media provides the perfect environment in which you can promote your clothing line since social media is all about sharing images, pictures, visuals and videos. This gets the images of your t-shirts in front of real, potential customers and engages them.
With social media, the images of your clothing line can be delivered to literally billions of users all across the world. On top of that, it appeals to the same demographic that is also interested in the latest fashions.
There are several different social media platforms, each using a variety of techniques to engage the customer, but the ones we will focus on are the social media heavyweights—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and blogs.
As one of the oldest forms of social media, nearly everyone has some sense of what Facebook is. Because of that popularity, Facebook can be a huge marketing source for your company. The pages on Facebook are more detailed than most other social media sites and they allow a company to provide video, photos and longer descriptions of products.
The interface also allows for testimonials as other followers can comment on the product pages for others to see. Facebook also offers the ability to link back to other social networking sites, such as Twitter or Instagram, as well as send out event reminders for events such as special promotions.
As of 2015, 93% of businesses used Facebook to promote their brands. However, Facebook recently made changes to their algorithms that have reduced the audience for non-paying business pages unless the page has at least 500,000 “likes”. This is why it is important to use several different social media outlets and not just focus on the one site that appears most popular!
Twitter allows companies to promote their products in short messages known as “tweets” which appear on a follower’s home timeline. Tweets can contain text, hashtags, photo, video, or links to products or other social media profiles. Twitter is also used by companies to provide customer service. Some companies make support available 24/7 and answer promptly, thus improving brand loyalty and appreciation.
A good tip is to mix up your normal, official tweets relating to specials and news updates with some fun and quirky tweets to attract attention. Be sure to retweet when you get a compliment from a customer and interact with your followers as much as possible.
In May 2014, Instagram had over 200 million users. The user engagement rate was 15 times higher than of Facebook and 25 times higher than that of Twitter. When it comes to brands and their businesses, Instagram’s goal is to help companies reach their respective audiences through captivating imagery in a rich, visual environment.
Instagram also provides a platform where user and company can communicate publicly and directly, making itself an ideal platform for companies to connect with their current and potential customers.
Many brands are now heavily using this mobile app to boost their visual marketing strategy. Instagram can be used to gain the necessary momentum needed to capture the attention of the market segment that has an interest in the product offering or services.
Instagram is easily accessed by mobile phone users, as well as by the internet, making it an ideal platform to increase exposure, especially to a younger audience. On top of this, marketers do not only use this for traditional internet advertising, but they also encourage users to create attention for a certain brand.
Many companies will ask their followers to post photos of themselves wearing their products or showcasing their latest purchase, which further creates opportunity for greater brand exposure. Encourage your consumers to submit photos of themselves wearing your t-shirt brand and feature a customer once a week or use a hashtag to associate your brand with your followers’ photos to create a community of followers.
YouTube is often underestimated for its marketing power. However, a good YouTube channel can reach thousands of followers and get consumers excited about a product through user videos. These videos can then be shared on other various social media outlets for exposure.
Most businesses try to create video content with the aim of it going “viral”, but in reality those chances are pretty slim. Instead, focus on creating useful and instructive videos. These videos also have the added benefit of ranking on the video search results of Google, so don’t underestimate the power of video content!
It also is sometimes beneficial to look back at content you posted in other avenues of social media and rebrand it for YouTube. Many business have found that content on their Facebook pages or blogs reaches more people when put into a video format and posted on YouTube.
Pinterest is a photo/image sharing site that was founded in 2010 and was intended to be a “catalogue of ideas”. The site now has over 100 million monthly active users and 500,000 business accounts. This platform is a fantastic visual marketing tool and It caters particularly well for fashion and design. In fact it’s possible the most effective social media platform available for marketing fashion.
Users customize their homepage according to preferred categories (fashion, design, home, etc) and “pin” items of interest. Items “pinned” by a user will also show up in a news feed, so users are continuously spreading new trends and content around the network. Each image can be linked to the site of where to purchase the product, so the content linked to the image is just as important as the image itself.
Blogs are definitely not new to the internet. However, they offer a great way to stay connected with consumers and create a following that will create brand loyalty. Companies that recognize the need for originality and accessibility employ blogs to make their products popular and unique.
Recent studies show that consumers view coverage in the media or from bloggers as being more neutral and credible than print advertisements. Blogs allow a product or company to provide longer descriptions of products or services, can include testimonials, and can link to and from other social network and blog pages. Blogs can be updated frequently and are promotional techniques for keeping customers, as well as acquiring followers and subscribers that can then be redirected to other social media sites.
Having a strong social media marketing plan and presence on the web is the key to tap into consumers’ interests and it is simple to achieve using one of the many platforms available. The use of platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and blogs, your business will be able to effectively manage the four key assets that consumers possess: information, involvement, community, and control.
By engaging your customers through social media posts, you increase the likelihood of that individual not only continuing to follow your brand, but also to share it among their own followers. This gives your marketing campaign a life of its own as it is shared among thousands of like-minded individuals.
Research shows that businesses are benefiting greatly from using these platforms. If implemented correctly, marketing with social media can bring remarkable success to your business.
In Part two, we will discuss exactly how to use specific techniques and tips to grow your social media empire and how to analyze its effectiveness at achieving the goals you have laid out in your social media marketing plan.
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