Social media is like going to a party…

If you stand there with your products on display telling people how much they cost, they will likely feel awkward about chatting to you and go speak to someone else. If, however, you are chatting to a small group of people in the corner about your skills and talents, doing a demo and also asking them what projects they are up to, you’re more likely to hold their interest and keep them engaging with you.

I find that when I speak to the camera people engage much more than if I show yet another photo of a T-shirt I printed. People love to know what makes a good T-shirt, it lets them speak about the technical aspects so when they come to order they feel confident and knowledgeable. I have customers who now know that a side seam on a shirt is a good indicator it won’t shrink and twist, and others who know that water-based ink will have a softer hand-feel. As my emails come in they increasingly start with, “I saw on your Instagram about hoodies” or “I know nothing about screen print but I love your channel, what polo shirts should I get?”.

Social media is a place where you can present yourself as an expert in your field by giving tips and insights to your followers (and remember that it is better to have a few very engaged followers than have all your Facebook friends and auntie who are not likely to be customers). In our business, I estimate over a third of our enquiries come directly from Instagram, and a lot of existing customers see other projects that we are working on and want their own version.

Your task this month is to stop hiding behind the camera and start talking directly to your customers. Tag me in your videos @squeegee_and_ink so I can see what you’re up to.

Chessie Rosier-Parker is director and studio manager of Squeegee & Ink, a screen printing and embroidery studio that also provides pre-exposed screens and film to printers along with tutorial videos and resources.