The idea of using your Instagram account to sell T-shirts or merch can be overwhelming; you’ve worked hard to organically grow friends and fans, so do you really want to start shouting about your new commercial project?
We hear you, it’s a relevant concern and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. However, over the years we’ve had the pleasure of watching some of the world’s most creative brains doing it brilliantly, and we’ve been taking notes. Turns out it is possible to promote your work on Instagram and to do it in a way that doesn’t alienate your community.
Another thing to consider when reading this are the stats – approximately 40% of Everpress sales from social media in 2018 came via Instagram – by far the most out of all the social media platforms. With this in mind, there is clearly an appetite for great things that are authentically made and sold.
We’ve prepared a few tips on promoting your designs on Instagram, picked up from our own learnings and by watching our community – we hope you’ll find them useful.
Show the process
It’s time to move away from thinking that Instagram is for staged, professional photography only. Some of the most effective Instagram marketing campaigns are built on behind-the-scenes access. For you this could mean:
- Documenting your journey as authentically as possible. Post a regular stream of photos and videos from your office, studio or workspace, anything that shows you are human and that your artwork or process is unique.
- Using plain english. Again, people want to follow humans, not robots. Talk to your community like you’d talk to a close friend.
- Using Instagram Stories. We find Instagram Stories is a great tool for this kind of content, and we use it daily at Everpress HQ.
- Trying not to overthink it. Your brand is everything, we get that. With the tools above you have a number of ways to post more frequently in a way that doesn’t compromise what you’re about.
Tip: Typography specialist Josh Saunders does this incredibly well, read our interview with him on how he effortlessly showcases his process on Instagram.
Tease & hype your campaign through content
There are two key dates in the life of your campaign; the launch of your tee and then end of your campaign. With this in mind we suggest you:
- Get a sample: In most cases it makes sense to get a sample of your tee. This can help you get started early with marketing. Get in touch and we can sort this out for you.
- Tease: You want to intrigue your fans, you want to stir their curiosity. Build the feeling that your tee going on sale is an event that people shouldn’t miss. Let them know something’s coming, but don’t give too much away.
- Hype: Have a new T-shirt design dropping tomorrow? Don’t wait to let your fans know. We recommend posting 2-3 days ahead of launch, telling your fans exactly where and when your tee will be available. Again, make it an event they don’t want to miss.
Use Instagram Stories
Your mantra with Stories should be to keep it simple, and to keep it coming. Don’t overthink. Just post. The benefits of Stories:
- Your chance to be authentic. Stories are the best way to show your fans you’re a real, living, breathing person.
- Every time you post to Stories your account is pushed close to the front of the queue in the Stories bar at the top of the mobile app. Keeping your account in the front of your audience’s mind.
- Swipe up; Those of you lucky enough to have verified accounts or 10,000 followers will be able to link directly from a story a designated website. However, keep in mind that your account will need to be a business account to access the ‘swipe up’.
- Those who aren’t verified shouldn’t be disheartened, Stories still drive good traffic when you direct people to the link in your bio.
Create Highlighted Stories Albums
You can now save your Stories to Highlight ‘albums’ that sit at the top of your Instagram profile. These albums will be one of the first things mobile users see when they land on your profile, presenting a great opportunity to get more eyes on your content.
It’s easy to do, simply hit the ’love heart’ icon on any of your newly posted Stories, create or select the album, and it will automatically be added.
Definitely Use Gallery Posts
Gallery post is a brilliant way to get more bang for your buck. A single gallery post can and should include a mix of your designs, product mock-ups, model photography, quotes, and even video.
Think about when you shop online. You normally need to see the same product from the back, from the side and to see the detail, right? Use this thinking when putting together galleries on your Instagram feed.
Link in Bio
The link in your bio is the main connection point between your Instagram fans and your tee. The best campaigns on Everpress understand the power of the link in their bio. We recommend you change the link in your bio to your personal shop URL while your campaign is live. Make sure that every post you do promoting your tee is a accompanied with a strong call-to-action asking your community to click.
Time (or lack of it) is your ally when selling tees.
Only 1 day left for fans to buy your tee? Don’t just hope they’ll remember, use that as an opportunity to sell some more tees. The goal is to create a sense of urgency in the final days of your campaign.
As a general rule we recommend:
- Posting a 3 day warning to your community (3 days left!)
- Posting a 48hr warning
- Posting a 24hr warning
Tip: Stories is the ideal place for hyping – the 24hour lifespan of a Story means you won’t have a ton of count- down posts on your feed. Though, even if you do, you can always use the ‘archive’ function to clean up your feed after a count-down.
It’s all about momentum. Once your campaign is live you need to find creative ways to keep your tee on people’s minds.
- Unpacking photos with product. Grab a sample of your Tee and use it as an opportunity to post. “Just landed! Head over to Everpress to grab yours.”
- Execute a basic photo shoot with a friend and post photos & video from the shoot throughout your campaign.
- Show happy buyers in your tee. Gather photos from happy customers and friends who have purchased and share this on your feed. This is one of the best ways to add credibility to your campaign, and to get people buying, especially in your 2nd and 3rd campaigns.
Tip: Everyone is looking for authentic content to share, from brands to magazines. The picture above was shared to Refinery29’s Instagram feed, resulting in a ton of great awareness for Wednesday Holmes and their Everpress campaign.
Follow these tips and you’ll be giving yourself the best possible chance to grow your audience, to make new fans who support you for you and, ultimately, to sell T-shirts. In addition to the above, we also recommend using the #EVERPRESS hashtag and to tag the @everpresshq Instagram account in your photos. While we can’t share everyone’s creations, we’ll always do our best to highlight our favourite campaigns when we can.