October 1, 2020
As I have been preaching in this column from the beginning, the best kind of content either educates, entertains or inspires. Promotional copy is appropriate on occasion, but it should be sprinkled lightly among your other posts.
You might be wondering what educational content looks like from the perspective of a decorated apparel business. So for this piece, I spent some time browsing social media to find some good examples.
If you want to visit a Facebook page of a decorator who has had a lot of success using social media to promote his business, I recommend Envision Screen Printing and Embroidery, Dubuque, Iowa. Tom Rauen has an energetic and enthusiastic personality, which he uses to good effect by regularly posting content that definitely entertains and solicits interaction. He’s does an especially good job with video taking you on his travels to customer’s locations and events.
In the example I have provided, you’ll see Rauen grabbed an infographic from the Advertising Specialty Institute of which he is a member. Infographics are a great way to make a point in a visual, fun way. You may be able to find something on the Web, or there are specialty apps making it easy to create your own.
Another well-known industry educator and social media expert is Erich Campbell. Many of you may know Campbell from his industry articles, seminars, webinars and social media posts. No matter what positions he’s held in the industry (decorator or supplier), he’s always offered a steady stream of useful information on all things embroidery and digitizing.
He’s currently hosting a weekly show called The Takeup. Held every Friday afternoon, he talks about a wide range of techniques and business topics. While this does not target consumers, you’ll see in my next example how to make this applicable.
Another decorator hosting a weekly show is Northwest Custom Apparel, Milton, Wash. It’s also scheduled for Fridays, and it’s hosted by Operation Manager Erik Mickelson and Ken Burns, sales rep. The show is called “Referral Sender,” and it focuses on inviting local county businesses or groups who want to promote themselves to social media followers.
An open invitation was posted to the company’s Facebook page along with a link to fill out an application. As an extra incentive, participants receive a Referral Sender T-shirt after the show. All interviews are done remotely making this a safe and effective method of gaining new exposure.
This show is a win-win for Northwest and its guests. It is connecting them with the community, generating interaction and helping their customers promote to their own clients. Every show is also shared by the people or company participating, which is exposing Northwest to new viewers, some of whom may have never heard of them.
TS Designs, Burlington, N.C., is a screen printing operation that has long been known for its commitment to sustainable products and practices. So a lot of its educational content has revolved around people, companies, and strategies to lessen one’s footprint.
For any client who is interested in offering organic, recycled and/or environmentally friendly T-shirts, they would instantly know after spending several minutes on this company’s social media that this is a focus. In my example, TS Designs offers an educational blog about a specialized printing process it developed to lessen its impact on the environment. This is a process available only through them.
The blog compares traditional screen printing to this new process as well as discussing the difference between plastisol and water-based inks. Blogs are a great way to educate your customers and build a relationship with them.
Most companies have one or more areas of focus and expertise. While you don’t want to post 500 words in social media about it, creating a blog you can share along with an impactful photo is a great way to drive traffic to your website and educate clients in an area that sets you apart.
These are just a few ideas I hope will inspire you to create your own educational content. It never hurts to ask your customers when you already talking to them if there are topics they would be interested in learning more about. Next month, I’ll have more examples to share.
Deborah Sexton is the former editor of Impressions Magazine, where she worked from 1981 to 2001. She now owns her own company, Saracen Communications, doing digital media marketing, copywriting, and public relations for companies in the decorated apparel industry. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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