When it comes to T-shirt printing, there’s a lot of miscommunication out there, especially in the niche world of water-based and discharge inks, says Jordan Schiller, director of business development at Real Thread, an Orlando, FL-based screen-printing shop that specializes in super-soft screen-printing techniques. Being an educational resource for customers is one of the reasons Real Thread launched a blog on its website, www.realthread.com, and became active on social media.
“We care and put so much thought into what we do,” Schiller says. “We care about our customers more than anything.” In addition to posting twice a week to its blog and recording regular podcasts, Real Thread shares photos and regular updates with 3,800 Instagram followers and 2,000-plus Twitter followers. The shop is also active on Facebook and Google+ and is even considering dabbling in the photo-messaging app Snapchat.
Real Thread’s social media philosophy boils down to creating authentic conversations rather than worrying about making an active sales pitch online. “Consumers are smart,” Schiller says. “They’re going to see right through you if you’re just tweeting because you think it’s going to drive sales.” Instead, focus on creating compelling online content and interacting with the community; referrals and sales will follow organically. “Anytime there are genuine people connecting with other genuine people, it creates a movement,” he says.
Schiller recommends keeping social media marketing efforts in- house, since farming them out to an agency is a quick way to lose authenticity. He also advises those just starting out to be patient and keep trying. “It’s taken us four or five years to get to where we are,” he adds. “Just take strides at it, like anything else.”