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Chessie Rosier-Parker

How to Use Instagram and TikTok to Sell More Shirts

A fellow screen printer shares strategies for maximizing marketing impact with minimal effort.

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TIRED OF HEARING marketing advice from people who have never pulled a squeegee or printed a job for anyone? I am. The generic advice about marketing trends and how to use them in your shop is not often easily implementable as a print shop owner.

I have a plan that you can adapt for your studio and customer base that should maximize your impact with minimal effort.

People want to go on a journey with you. Marketing is taking one step back from selling and instead demonstrating why people should choose to do business with you. Customers want to see you get excited about your work. They want to learn as you develop a product and finally launch it. They want to feel like they were on the journey with you.

Recently, I’ve found the most effective use of Instagram is to use the stories feature a bit like a daily vlog. I can bring my followers along on what I am working on and then point to the new video, product, or shirt I just made for them to purchase or watch.

Let’s break that down as a print studio owner. The intention of the video could be to communicate to customers that you have a new outerwear range. You can choose a small selection of jackets and demonstrate how you would decorate them. You can store some of these videos to display them in a bit more of a timeline. Ideally, you would have a customer lined up and just document the process of decorating the jackets, however, if you need to buy a few garments to show off, there’s no shame in them not being for a real customer yet.

In the first shot (or ideally the first shot of you talking to the camera), you tell the audience who your customer is and what the brief for the job was. For example, the outwear you’re showcasing could be best used by builders on a construction site.

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In the second shot, you’re describing the choices you made to choose the garments and application. Tell your audience how you intend to solve the customer’s problem. The problem, in this case, is you need a tough jacket that will accept screen print and embroidery. The jackets are premium, so you want to make them look awesome and the customer even wants a bit of personalization on the left chest. This is when you show how the jackets have this extra thermal layer but also have handy access through a hidden zip which makes them possible to embroider.

The third shot highlights the jackets arriving and you counting them out. You can show a staff member getting the artwork ready and hooping the left chest for the custom personalized name you are about to do.

The fourth shot is of printing and folding, taking extra care to count them and check them against the worksheet while packing them into boxes ready for the customer.

Finally, you can talk to the camera about how the job went. The best option is to get the customer to receive the jackets or try them on in the studio. A lot of studio owners who print for local companies drop off the orders, so is it possible to ask the customer to try the jacket on and record their reaction? If that’s not an option, try posting the review they left.

Always end with a call to action. Round up by saying, “If you need jackets for your business, email us for a quote and we can get started on your project straight away.”

You don’t want to go to all this effort and then the story disappears the next day. Store it, keep it in your highlights section on your profile page, and re-name the highlight as “Print Jobs” or “Happy Customers.” You can always add to the highlight and freshen it up whenever you like.

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In our studio, we’ve been using virtual assistants a bit more for jobs that weren’t adding much value like post-production of podcasts and making social media clips. VAs can use stills from your new Instagram story videos and write a blog post. Make sure they jam-pack the post with loads of keywords for your niche and location. By taking this vlog approach you aren’t producing content that’s out of context as it is already happening in the studio. It’s merely about framing the content and then maximizing the return for your business.

Your clips are likely to be filmed in portrait orientation, which means making them into a YouTube video could look quite ugly, However, you could make them into YouTube Shorts by titling the videos as Parts One, Two, and Three. This can lead people to search your channel for more content or watch the final part of the story. These videos don’t require the crazy lighting and nighttime shots we keep seeing. If you can verbally explain your video it will have a much greater impact than the sexy pan-over drone shot anyway.

Don’t be afraid to plan out the shots you need and even loosely script what you want to say so it doesn’t become rambling. You could even edit the shots in TikTok and have a voiceover effect read out any captions if you’re shy or don’t enjoy being camera-facing. Tik-Tok videos can be easily shown as Reels or Stories and are often automatically stored on your phone for extra repurposing.

Some good questions to answer for this video are:

  • Who is the video for?
  • What am I trying to promote?
  • What features can I demonstrate?
  • Can I include any up-sells to the video? (Personalization, inner neck labels, and complimentary items like beanies might create a more profitable job for the studio.)

The thing to have in the back of your mind when editing the video is to think about yourself when you watch Instagram stories. They need captions applied (as most people watch Instagram without sound whilst doing other things like watching TV) and visually interesting clips, but not really frantic clips where you can’t see what is going on. To try and squeeze all the value out of the finished video by making it into different content will give you back real value for your time.

A couple of printers who use a good mix of storytelling and product features are Black Print Ink and Agenda Trading Company. Both were recent podcast guests of mine and were chosen because of their charismatic approach to business and social media. I hope you make a rich piece of content this week that your audience values and engages with.

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Chessie Rosier-Parker is the studio owner of Squeegee & Ink and also Blind Maggot streetwear brand. As a screen printing teacher for 10 years, Chessie has built a presence on a range of social media platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, and Youtube and has an active blog, podcast, and email newsletter. Chessie reveals the steps to making a marketing ecosystem that once built will funnel your ideal customers to your business. Check out free resources on the squeegeeandink.co.uk website and subscribe to the Youtube channel for notifications of new videos.

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