Social media is the avenue everyone expects to use, but you need to understand that the market can be crowded. Tell stories with your work that lets a customer know about you, your business, and your product. Use recognizable themes and marketing materials with which customers in your market can identify. Engage and interact with people and actively answer questions. Passively publishing ad material will not result in the promotion you’d hope to achieve. Entertain, educate, and engage.
When you decide to invest capital in your marketing, social media provides for hyper-targeted paid ads that appear only to the localities and interest groups you specify. Even so, with or without investment, your best bet is to create content people want to share.
The best channel for sharing is the one where your potential audience spends their time. Facebook is an easy bet with its siloed interest groups and immensely pervasive membership. However, Instagram is an incredibly visual channel that allows for our equally-visual medium to make a splash, factoring in hashtags and locality into its method for helping people discover new feeds. Pinterest is a sleeper for some commercial decorators, but for those creating bridal apparel, home decor, and the like, it’s a must.
Show the work you want to do, which means producing what you share. Though that complicated and beautiful piece might get attention, if you did it at a loss and you aren’t set up to do it again, think twice before making it a cornerstone of your content. If you do decide to share, make sure to mention that such custom work comes at a high price.
Reach out to local groups and sponsor event apparel with the provision that any provided garments include your contact information and branding in their decoration. This policy promotes top-of-mind awareness with group members and event attendees. Moreover, this opens you up to a second tier of businesses and groups. Never be afraid to include information on tags and packaging.
Whenever I mention contests in marketing, most people assume I mean providing prizes for contests held by local events/groups. Though this is often a cheaper method to achieve a similar boost in awareness, as you might see with event apparel sponsorship, I’d also recommend entering your work in the contests held within our industry. If you can spare the time and effort to apply, it can raise the profile of your business both during the event and when you win. Being an award-winning shop can act as a form of social proof to potential customers.
Finally, ask every happy customer to tell their friends. The original social networking is still in effect. Direct social proof is a powerful selling tool. Whether that's given through reviews and referrals online or through the grapevine, it eases the path to purchasing for new customers like nothing else.