If you are a custom apparel business looking for local or national business and you are doing word of mouth marketing then you should consider using LinkedIn.
Here’re some tips to improve your LinkedIn profile:
– Change the background image that represents what you do.
– Use a picture of yourself and not a logo.
– Use the tagline area to pitch your services.
– Use about section to pitch your company and explain exactly what is it that you offer.
– Highlight your past experiences and education.
– Ask people to recommend you and endorse your current skills.
– Join the groups and start a conversation with other people.
Look at LinkedIn as a mini website and an opportunity to market yourself and get new business.
Welcome to the Custom Apparel Startups podcast, your best source for information, news, tips and tricks to get you off the ground running, and earn success with your custom apparel decorating business. So, get ready to soak up some knowledge!
Now, here are your hosts, Mark and Marc!
Hey, everyone! Welcome to another Custom Apparel Startups mini-cast. These are the brand new very short little additions to our Custom Apparel Startups podcasts.
My name is Mark Stephenson, from ColDesi. I’m going to spend the next ten minutes or so doing a qualified pitch for you guys participating in LinkedIn.
Let me qualify this and say that if you are an apparel business that is looking for local or national business, and you are doing this active word of mouth – you’re going outside of your daily routine and you’re networking, you’re looking for ways to actually generate business, then I want you to consider LinkedIn as a profile, especially if corporate is your gig.
I’m just going to run through, on screen here, I’m going to try to be as descriptive as possible in audio, as well, the things that you should look for, when you are creating your LinkedIn profile.
Now, Tom Rumbaugh, he is one of our marketing guys here at ColDesi. He has kindly agreed to let me look at his a little outdated business profile here on LinkedIn, so I could give a few examples. Basically, what I’m looking at is if you’re familiar with LinkedIn at all, you’ve got the opportunity to put a profile picture. This is your personal profile, not a business.
You’ve got an opportunity to put a profile picture, and a background image, just exactly like in Facebook. I want you to treat it the same way. You shouldn’t leave the standard background image there. You should have something that represents what you do. So, if people stumble upon your page, it’s very clear.
You should use a picture, not of your logo, but of yourself. Tom has got a great picture on here. He’s smiling into the camera, very personable. He looks like somebody that you want to do business with.
Then, you have a spot for your name. Under that, there’s where normally most people would put their title, and then a description about their position. Now Tom, down here, has President of Logo ASAP. It’s a company that he used to own. “Embroidery, screen printing, promotional products, etc.”
That’s fine. You can definitely do just that. But you might also consider pitching your services and your company, and what you can do for the people that are looking at the profile, as opposed to who you are.
So, it might be “Hi. My name is Bob Smith. I make custom t-shirts and polos for businesses just like yours,” or “I create spirit wear for sports teams in the Minneapolis area,” or “I specialize in 24-hour turnaround of custom apparel. My thing is hats. I can do different things. I can do promotional products for you.”
You get the idea. You want to use whatever language you talk about your company with, you want to use it there. Because it’s important who you are, but it’s more important what you can do for your customers. If someone is looking at your profile, they see your name. Next, they don’t want to know what your title is. They want to know what you can do for them.
It might be “Hi. I’m Bob from Bob’s T-shirts. I make incredibly high quality custom t-shirts at a fair price, and I do it quickly!”
Whatever that pitch is, that we’ve talked about on so many episodes, you should do something like that.
Now, you can move down and just go through your profile. You can scroll down to the “About” section. This is a great place for you to actually pitch your company again. You want to use the keywords here that you use to advertise your company, so whatever your unique selling proposition is, whatever your calls to action are.
It can be “Call us now, if you want some very high quality custom polos! I specialize in fast turnaround times for people in the Tampa Bay area.” And then, the rest of that description is about the kinds of things you do at your company, different shirts that you might use, your philosophy behind choosing apparel.
You really want to pack in the “About” section with things that are geared toward your customer. Again, not really about you. You’re using this as an opportunity to sell, not an opportunity just to say things about your business.
I hope you understand the distinction there. ColDesi sells embroidery machines, but that’s a big reduction on who we actually are. Right? We’re the leading provider of getting people into the custom apparel business, and the way we do that is providing people like you with the equipment choices, the training, and the opportunity to be incredibly successful at this business. Two completely different ways to look at the idea that we sell embroidery machines.
The other things I want you to do is just kind of an audit of your LinkedIn profile. I’m going to try to find – there was a great pdf that I had seen, from another company, on tweaking your LinkedIn profile, that kind of inspired this. If I can find it, I will put it in the show notes.
But you want to go down and triage your experience, as well. If you currently are the owner or the President of this custom apparel company, but the last job that you had was in car sales, and the one before that, you were a bartender, or if you spent 30 years in construction or in manufacturing, and now you’re in the custom apparel business, that doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t have an impact.
Tailor your experience. Tweak it, to highlight anything that you’ve done, having to do with apparel. For example, in my background, I’ve done a lot. I’ve done sales management and marketing, and all of that stuff. If I am creating a profile to sell myself, looking for a new job, or to sell any of those skills, then I think that’s important.
But if I was in the custom apparel business, I would talk about the little store that my wife and I first opened up, after we got married. I would talk about when we tried to import bamboo custom shirts from India, when bamboo was just coming out. I would talk about anything having to do with my apparel experience, in this list.
Don’t feel like it has to be a resume, and that you have to list when you were working at McDonald’s in high school. You want to make this about your current business, and what you do. The same goes for education. The only time that I’m going to say that you shouldn’t do this, or you should leave other things included in your profile here, is if you might be using that for prospecting.
For example, I went to the University of South Florida. If I think that someone that I’m prospecting may also be a Bull, then I might leave that in there. If I grew up in this town, then I might mention that this is the place that I live.
Just go through all of this stuff, with an eye toward this business. That goes for the description, what you’ve got your name and your title. You want to make that the skills that you talk about. You want to make the “About” section a pitch for your business.
If you’ve got volunteer experience at a place that might demonstrate your commitment to the community and the community that you are doing business in, that might be a great thing.
For your skills and endorsements, I would ask people to actually endorse you for what you do now, for running a custom apparel shop, for making great shirts. You can ask people for skill endorsements, just like you do for reviews for your business.
The same thing goes with recommendations. If you’ve got somebody that is willing to do a short recommendation for you about this business, or referring in some way maybe to your integrity or your honesty or the way you do business, then I would put that there.
The same with accomplishments, with interests. You should really look at this as another little mini-website, and an opportunity to market your business.
I’m going to try to tell you how to outbound market, or how to use LinkedIn just like you would use Facebook, to find new business. If you are watching on the video, what I’m going to do is I’m just going to go up here into the Search bar, and I’m going to type in “Tampa,” because that’s where we are.
I’m going to hit Enter. Then, when you look across the top, you’re going to see you can choose people in Tampa, jobs, content, and there should be a little caret there for more. I’m going to pick Groups. I would treat this just like a Facebook group.
When I look up Tampa groups inside LinkedIn, I see that the Tampa Bay business network has just under 20,000 members. There is a Mastermind group that has 10,000. There is the Tampa Bay Marketing Professionals, which you are now, that has just under 9,000.
I see a really healthy set of LinkedIn groups. Now, what I’m going to go do is I’m going to join all of these that make sense, and I’m going to work them like I would Facebook. I’m going to join the groups, I’m going to participate in the conversation, and when I have the opportunity or the opportunity presents itself, I’m going to let everyone know what I do.
Maybe I’ll do a quick video on a shirt I just produced, and I’ll put it in there. Maybe I’ll just talk about a big corporate order. Or maybe I’ll answer somebody’s questions about marketing their business, telling them how important branded apparel is.
This is something that you can do over time, that will really have an impact on your business. What you want is you want somebody that sees you in one of these groups, when they look you up, and they will look you up 100% of the time, when they look at your profile, that makes sense, too.
What I don’t want is I don’t want you to participate in the Tampa Bay Business Networking group as a custom apparel maker, as a promotional products professional that serves the Tampa Bay area, and then I go back into your LinkedIn profile and it says you’re still in the insurance business. Right? That doesn’t make sense.
This is a quick little tip on going to LinkedIn, fixing up your LinkedIn profile in some very basic but specific ways, and then taking that next step and looking for places that you can market yourself in the groups on LinkedIn, just like you do on Facebook.
This has been Mark Stephenson, from ColDesi, and a Custom Apparel Startups mini-cast!
You guys have a great business!