For all the hype it receives, social media has one thing going against it: It’s temporary.
Posts come and go every day, and if you post something at the wrong time, there’s a chance that no one will see it.
After all, the average lifetime of a Facebook post is less than a day.
But what if a small business embraced Facebook as a business platform?
That’s exactly what happened when t-shirt business Teefury was founded in late 2008.
Co-founder Jason Gutierrez explains that, since the beginning, social media has served as the primary means of promotion for the business.
That’s why Constant Contact recognized the business as a 2011 All Star for having achieved one of the highest social reaches of any customer.
Here are the three social media tips that you can learn from this online business:
1. Make Your Customers a Community
The emphasis on community within a social network has practically become a cliché, but Teefury takes it to a new level: Every day, there’s a new design on a new t-shirt available for a single day.
Fans get a sneak peek of upcoming shirts on the company’s Facebook Page. Each post showing off a shirt often gets over 100 Likes, more than 50 shares, and dozens of comments.
In part, that’s because the t-shirt designs come from fans themselves. Artists from around the world can submit designs to the site.
“Our focus is creating a platform that helps artists gain exposure and make some money,” Jason explains.
Artists get paid $1 per shirt, and often earn $5,000 or more.
Fans vote on designs through a Facebook feature called “Wanna see it in print?” That makes it easy to see which illustrations are most popular.
Having fans create and review each product, every day, takes user-generated content to a whole new level.
2. Keep It Themed
The charm of Teefury’s emails and social media channels is that they are consistently themed around a certain subject.
To celebrate Valentine’s Day, for example, two t-shirts came out for two straight days. The email was sent out on February 13 with the subject line “Are You a Lover or Are You a Fighter?”
Jason makes sure to share each email through Constant Contact’s Simple Share feature, and this can net upwards of 1,800 views for some emails.
The secret is that every theme, whether it’s about video games, movies, or television, is contemporary and engaging, so fans are sure to talk about it when they see the email on Facebook.
3. Acknowledge Your Fans
“One of the core aspects of our whole business is keeping things non-corporate and casual,” Jason says. “We want to be smart, but we want to stay casual and conversational, too.”
(That’s a smart strategy — we’ve covered the value of non-robot speak on Facebook before.)
Teefury holds regular Facebook giveaways for fans to show their appreciation, but the emails take it a step further with the regular “Friends of the Fury!” feature. Here, the business highlights fans and other companies that happen to be wearing Teefury shirts.
Not only that, “Friends of the Fury!” makes sure to thank fans for spreading the word about Teefury in each email.
Working the Teefury Magic
Not every small business and organization can offer a new product every day, nor can fans always be as involved in the creation of the products.
However, most of Teefury’s strategies can be emulated by other industries with a few creative flourishes.
Email marketing and social media are both great ways to showcase how customers are using your products. Having a contest about a product’s use or features can go a long way in engaging fans of the business.
And you don’t have to make a new product every day to post it on Facebook — just look at what you have in stock and think of creative ways to show it off.
Since being founded, Teefury has defined its Facebook Page, not the other way around, and every small business has the power to do the same.
How do you engage fans with products? Share your secrets in the comments field below!