Social Media Marketing Tips from Experts

March 29, 2022
Nicole Rollender
A Black woman using a ring light and stand to record on her cell phone.

Isn’t everyone on social media these days? With more than 53% of the world's population using social media (that’s about 4.62 billion people), it’s vital that your brand-new t-shirt business uses social media to build your brand and connect with the people who’ll become your customers and biggest fans.

Add to that, 54% of social browsers use social media to research products. Plus, each person using social media spends an average of 2 hours and 25 minutes on social networks and messaging. These statistics should get you excited about using social media to build your t-shirt brand and forge relationships with customers who are actively looking for your products.

Using social media correctly is expensive or time consuming. However, you do need to brainstorm upfront to determine where to put your efforts. The good news? Lots of veteran decorated-apparel shop owners are happy to share their expertise about social media success.

The Experts Weigh In On Marketing Your T-Shirt Business Via Social Media

We consulted with veteran t-shirt business owners and other industry experts. They offered up to their best advice (and lessons learned) for newbies about how to market their t-shirt business on social media.

Q. What’s your best advice for starting to promote my t-shirt business on social media?

Howard Potter, CEO, A&P Master Images: First, start by creating Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter pages to get started. As you start posting, you can see what profiles reach your target audiences the best, and get the highest level of engagement. Them you can decide which platforms work best to promote your t-shirt shop brand and make sales. 

Lee Romano Sequeira, Co-Owner, Think of your social media accounts as your own magazine, and you're the editor-in-chief. You want to create a nice aesthetic, look and feel to brand your look. A consistent look across the platforms you choose will go a long way in your branding and brand recognition. Yes, it will take some extra time, but choosing your brand colors, the look and "feel" of your t-shirt business will be worth your efforts in the long run. 

Look at the social accounts of t-shirt shops or other businesses you admire. You'll gain some inspiration to collect ideas for your own account. Just be sure to make them your own.

Kristine Shreve, Director of Marketing and Outreach, Applique Getaway: One of the best ways to connect with your target audience on social media is to build an engaged community. This can be a group or a page, or it can just be the connections you make on a platform and interact with often.  Building a community requires time and dedication.

You have to do more than just "post". You must like and comment on and share other people's content. You must foster engagement on your own profiles, by replying to comments people make on those profiles and by reacting to the things people say.   

Tyrone M. Robinson III, Owner, Opportunities 2 Serve: My best advice for a newbie decorator who wants to build an audience and connect with potential buyers on social media is to do three key things: 

  • Plan ahead, and have a rhyme, reason and cadence for your posts and schedule.
  • Incorporate reels and stories.
  • Post frequently and share posts from followers who endorse you and your products.

Q. How do I get my customers to buy t-shirts on Instagram using social media?

Kristine Shreve: First, providing value is key. Make substantive comments, not just an emoji, "LOL"  or a short, two-word sentence. Let people know you’ve thought about and appreciate what they’ve taken the time to say about your post. Also, make sure you allow people on social media to get to know you, what you care about, what you think is funny and what matters to you. You’re behind your t-shirt brand, so they need to get to know you. When people know, like and trust you, they’re more likely to buy from you and become loyal customers. 

Plus, don't sell something every time you post. Be as well-rounded a person on social media as you are in real life. One of the biggest mistakes people make on social media is to focus only on selling and to ignore everything else. No one likes to be constantly pushed to buy things or do business with someone. Creating a relationship and then asking for the sale will work much better in the long run.  

Tyrone M. Robinson III: As Kristine said, don’t rush the process, as if you’re only trying to get the sale. Build your audience organically and through relationships.

Howard Potter: Start off with posting your work that you’ve produced for different clients or sold to individual buyers, and tagging them in the post. If you can’t tag them in the post, then try to share your post on their page. That will bring some attention to both of you, which win/win.

Also, invite all of your friends to your business page to build followers up quicker. This takes you less than five minutes a day to do and it generates leads, faster, more cost-effectively.

Lee Romano Sequeira: Building on what Howard said, follow other business owners in your industry, and engage. Leave a meaningful comment on their posts. Let them know who you are, and many times, they’ll return the favor. I also love the idea of sharing other people’s content. Be sure to tag them in it, and give them credit. That can go a long way toward building true relationships and connections.

Show your behind-the-scenes in your new t-shirt business, like how you choose your designs or how you imprint your t-shirts. Let people in for a peek—a small peek will do.

Remember, you can also post some of your personal side. However, if you like to post many photos of great times with grandma, the kids, family vacations and your sweet pets, have a separate, personal account. That being said, know that people love seeing the human side of your business too—which is you. Do cross paths here and there—who doesn't like adorable photos of the furkids? My other best advice is: Don't forget to have fun!

The Big Takeaways

When you’re starting your t-shirt business and want to market it like a pro on social media, there are some steps you can take as a brand-new shop owner:

  1. Set your goals. Determine what you’re looking to achieve, such as establishing your brand, building your loyal customer base and selling your cool t-shirt designs. If you understand who your clients are, you can create the types of content they’ll engage with the most.
  2. Scope out your competitors. Locate other t-shirt shop owners and check out their social media accounts, to see what they’re doing well and what they can improve. You might even discover gaps that you can fill in in your products and on your social media.
  3. Plan out your content. When you’re starting out, you can experiment with different types of content, from photo and video posts, to stories and reels, to see what attracts your ideal buyers. Lots of business owners are busy, so many use social media scheduling tools like Hootsuite or Sprout Social to schedule out many posts at one time.
  4. Don’t ignore your data. You can eyeball your feed and posts to see what types of posts, whether it’s a photo or a video, get the most engagement. You can also review your engagement statistics on your social media platforms to get more granular insights on what’s working. You can make tweaks in real time. You can also allocate some funds to hire a social media manager or strategist to help you out.

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