Ultimate Guide to Marketing T-shirts on Instagram

Ultimate Guide to Marketing T-shirts on Instagram

I have over 18 years of experience in marketing and eCommerce. Amazingly, I just created my first Instagram account in 2020. But I have quickly learned that Instagram is a dire necessity for T-shirt brands. It is the most engaging social platform for B2C visual brands (like t-shirts) today. 

So are you ready to spread the word about your awesome t-shirt brand on Instagram? Do you have stellar designs to showcase on your pages but don't know where to start? If so, you've come to the right place. 

Social media has been a way to move merch, advance a business, promote a brand, or bring awareness to a charity for a long time now. But I have found Instagram to be one of the most engaging social platforms for T-shirt brands. Promoting your t-shirts on Instagram will allow you to target a larger online audience effectively while also improving organic customer engagement.

In addition, you can directly and efficiently market to your unique demographic without breaking the bank.

Below, we'll go over some tips to help you successfully promote your merchandise using social media. Namely, we'll walk you through the best ways to successfully hype up (and sell) your t-shirts on Instagram. Read on for some expert online marketing inspiration!

Here's a Quick Overview of What This Guide Will Cover

• Understanding How Instagram Marketing Works
• Know The Importance of Growing Your Audience
• Making the Most of Affiliates and Brand Ambassadors
• Implementing Promotional Giveaways
• Creating a Promotional Calendar
• Preparing Interactive Visuals
• Picking Appropriate Hashtags
• Including Clickable URLs on Your Profile
• Switching Up Your Post Content
• Posting the Best Instagram Stories to Boost Interaction
• Improving Engagement by Asking for Follower Photos
• Putting it All Together

Understanding How Instagram Marketing Works

Instagram is a highly visual platform that's naturally optimized for viral marketing! Therefore, it's an ideal place to showcase your apparel.

Not only will you be able to post high-quality images, but you can also implement videos and increase your sales by organically targeting a specific audience. After all, Instagram follows are voluntary!

Voluntary customer engagement can be both beneficial and challenging for marketers. However, if you have great t-shirt designs and are using Instagram the right way, it can be a great way to reach new shoppers and grow your business. Don't forget, you can promote and build your branding without spending a penny. So, if you're not planning on marketing on Instagram, you're missing out!

To use Instagram properly, you'll have to understand the platform as a whole. Learning Instagram etiquette and staying on top of the latest trends can be helpful. You'll want to be unique, original, and authentic when posting and engaging with your audience.

In the end, your marketing results will naturally improve as your sales and following grow. For the most part, your success will hinge on how well you engage with your followers and whether or not you can get your merchandise to appeal to their specific tastes. The following tips can be used to help you do this more easily!

Risen instagram

@risenapparel

 

Know The Importance of Growing Your Audience

Before you can begin promoting anything, you're going to need to focus on growing your audience. Followers are the lifeblood of any successful Instagram campaign, after all. These followers will be critical toward successfully promoting and selling your apparel.

Remember, you don't want to get thousands of random followers. Instead, you want a targeted audience that will actually interact with your Instagram account. These kinds of followers will be far more likely to purchase merchandise from your pages.

To gain targeted followers and reach out to your demographic, you'll have to be socially appealing, authentic, and calculated in the way you post. From there, carefully strategized engagement will be key. 

Iron Apparel instagram

@IronApparelUSA

 

Since building an Instagram following is such a critical step in your sales and marketing campaign, here are three helpful resources that you can look into.

Check out these for more help:
1. How to Get More Followers on Instagram - Shopify Guide
2. How To Get Your First 10,000 Instagram Followers - YouTube Video
3. 50 Ways Brands Can Increase Their Instagram Followers - Forbes Article

And we love this new one from Neil Patel: How to Use Instagram Shopping to Drive Product Sales.

Making the Most of Affiliates and Brand Ambassadors

It can be extremely helpful to implement brand representation through ambassadors and affiliates. To do this, be sure to create a page on your website that will directly drive traffic toward your Instagram pages. Also, it can help to utilize coupon codes. Shooting your own images and using Instagram story highlights can be too.

Affiliates are a little different. Essentially, Affiliates get a code to give their networks and you give them a 5-10% commission.  Again, this should be mutually beneficial.  Each partner will have something different that can be of value to you.

But it's important that you get something for that 5-10% of sales using their code, because they aren't spending money to promote it.  Do a joint giveaway.  If they have connections to somebody that does videos, ask about that.  

The ambassador model is exactly the same as the Affiliate Partner model with the exception of discount percentage.  If they have 10k followers, their code might be  15% instead of 10.  Commission is still 5%.  And you can create a "family discount" code that gets them 40% off.  This is offered to Ambassadors and not Affiliates because the affiliates, for us, are other organizations. 

22SierraCoffee

@22SierraCoffee

 

They aren't going to advertise our product and we don't expect them to.  They are just going to tell their networks about us.  If it's a gym, the discount is a perk of being a member at the gym. Ambassadors are extensions of your marketing team, so be selective.  

Remember, you don't always need to make selling products the focal point of your ambassador and affiliate interactions! It's fine to engage with your audience in other ways as well.

Implementing Promotional Giveaways

Instagram t-shirt giveaways can be great for marketing. However, before you start giving away t-shirts left and right, make sure to have a solid game plan in place. That way, you'll generate long term marketing and sales viability.

To successfully market your shirts using giveaways on Instagram, you'll first have to familiarize yourself with Instagram's giveaway rules. Then, you'll want to decide exactly which products will work best for your follower giveaways.

Then make sure you make your rules clear to followers. Here is an example of how we have run promotions:

T-shirt giveaway to 2 winners!

To enter:
1. Tag 2 people in this post
2. Follow @316tees
3. Fill out the quick form on our contest page (see link in profile)

We will select 2 random winners on 1/6/21.

We will announce the winners here and email them for details on the color you want + where to ship!

You can use giveaway to build your instagram followers, or to build your email list. Or you can do both. The above method focuses on both.

After that, start promoting your giveaways to build engagement. Using ads can help with this. Finally, track your results. That way, you can see if your giveaways were timed right and are yielding actual results. Many different forms of software are available to assist you with this.

simple

Creating a Promotional Calendar

A promotional calendar will help you make the most of sales, giveaways, upcoming events, and so much more. These calendars will also help your followers build trust in your brand and want to engage with your page.

The simplest way to manage your promotional calendar will be to layout dates that match up with your overall campaign. Pre-shoot the images you want to use, schedule your posts, and have a solid game plan in place that will work with Instagram's latest algorithms. Never spam the pages of your followers and try to make your calendars as organic as possible.

Preparing Interactive Visuals

When it comes down to it, Instagram is a primarily visual sharing platform. As such, your visuals will need to be varied and on point. This means taking high-quality photographs of your t-shirts with carefully edited filters or alluring lighting.

Showcasing some models wearing your shirts helps alot as well. Try to keep things as honest and natural as possible without sacrificing aesthetic appeal or visual interest.

Grunt Style instagram

@GruntStyle

 

Picking Appropriate Hashtags

Although hashtags can feel unimportant, they can actually have a very significant impact on your page growth. When used correctly, unique hashtags can drive targeted traffic to your page in drives.

As of today, you can use up to 30 hashtags per post. We like posting the hashtags in the 1st comment after you submit the post. 

Also, by choosing the appropriate trending hashtags, you'll be able to ensure that your images and posts will be seen in the right places and stay relevant. On top of that, hashtags can help you keep things organized across all of your social media platforms. There are many research tools available that can help you optimize your hashtags on Instagram. We recommend looking into these tools.

One tool we have found to be helpful is called Flick hashtags. Flick allows you to search a single keyword and their software generates a wealth of related hashtags that you can use in your post.

Including Clickable URLs on Your Profile

Since Instagram won't let you create clickable links in your posts and photo captions, you'll have to add them to your main profile page. This will make it easier for followers to access your website and other platforms quickly and easily.

You can add web URLs to your page by clicking the "edit profile" button on your Instagram profile. After that, simply make sure to tell interested buyers to click these links if they want to buy your t-shirts.

In your posts, if you are running a giveaway or posting about a new shirt design, it's handy to edit the profile URL to reflect what you are posting about. Then tell your followers to "click the link in the profile". You can also use Instagram shopping to link to products in your post.

Consistency and Variability in your Post Content

It's a good idea to have consistency in your posts. The best brands on Instagram have consistent logos, colors, fonts, and posting schedules. This way, people will recognize your posts visibly as they see them in the feed.

Use variable post content. This will keep your followers interested. Flat-lays, apparel models, real-life customers, and attractive store images are all great ways to show off your rockin' t-shirt designs.

Don't try to sell on every post. That is the quickest way to lose your followers.

Think about what you'll discuss in each post as well. If your followers see the same content day after day in their feed, they may get bored and keep scrolling or hit that dreaded unfollow button.

Instead of spamming, keep each post as interesting and unique as possible. Following your posting schedule will help you prevent spamming or flooding everyone's news feed. The key is to post interesting content frequently without overwhelming your followers.

DiscipleThreads
@disciplethreads

Posting the Best Instagram Stories to Boost Interaction

To further diversify your content, you'll want to consider alternating between posts, videos, photos, and stories. That way, you can break up the monotony and keep your followers interested and engaged.

When you make videos, you can use trending music and hashtag it into your descriptions. Or, you can simply talk about your brand. You may also want to consider creating non-promotional videos and images so that your users will keep liking and investigating your content regularly. Don't forget, return customers are just as valuable as brand new ones!

Improving Engagement by Asking for Follower Photos

Never hesitate to ask your followers to showcase themselves rocking your apparel with unique hashtags! This is one of the absolute best ways to promote your designs while also increasing sales and growing your following.

You can show off the images that your customers send through hash-tagging or by actually posting them to your pages directly. Since Instagram naturally propagates viral imaging, this can be a great way to improve your t-shirt sales for free.

The easiest way to do this is run t-shirt giveaways, then ask the winners to send you a picture of them wearing the shirt (optionally). They almost always say yes.

Putting it All Together

So there you have it! Promoting your t-shirts on Instagram can be a great way to improve your sales and grow your brand.

Always strive to be authentic, unique, and entertaining. Content variation and visual appeal are important too, as Instagram is a highly visual social media platform.

Then, hash-tagging and affiliate marketing can be used to increase your following and reach a wider audience. We hope that these tips have been helpful and wish you the best of luck as you embark on your Instagram t-shirt marketing journey!

Send us your questions and we will be happy to help! We do not believe in competition. So if you are another Christian t-shirt brand, we are happy to help you grow your own brand. 

 

Bryan E. Robinson is the owner and founder of 316Tees. He is a Veteran of the U.S. Army (10th Mtn. Div). He has over 17 years experience as an entrepreneur and marketer and has worked with Fortune 100 brands, eCommerce, and B2B companies. Bryan is passionate about helping others to grow their brands and find ways to fund their ministries.

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