Thursday, January 26, 2017

Social Media for Quilters

had the pleasure of giving a presentation for my local guild on Social Media. I think a lot of people use it casually, adding anyone they might know and want to keep up with, but I also knew some people were kind of stumped as to how to become more integrated in the quilting community on the various networks.  I kind of poked around some of the networks I wasn't as familiar with and put together some ideas for my fellow guild members. (I'm skipping YouTube altogether because if anything, it deserves its own post.  You can learn anything on YouTube!)

~What Is Social Media?

Social Media is a term that refers to websites and apps on which people can interact with each other by uploading photos, typing updates, or sharing articles, memes, and other information.  These sites include Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Linked In, and Ello, just to skim the surface.

Linked In, I understand, has a vast quilting community, however I have not gotten myself lost in it yet, and the same is true for Ello, which is a site exclusively for makers.

Pinterest is fantastic for gathering ideas from all over the internet.  You can search "blue modern quilt," for example, if you want to make a blue modern quilt, and then save the ideas that pop up for future inspiration, or even full-on patterns and tutorials.  You can save these ideas on their own "boards" so they are easily retrievable.  Pinterest is mostly for visual inspiration or short bursts of information, like recipes.Twitter is largely verbal.  It's a great way to guide people over to your blog or your instagram page, but you can also share photos there.  I like it as a place to follow politics or comedians, as well as writers who are adept at getting their full point across in 120 characters (or whatever it is).

Facebook can be a great place for quilters.  There are large "groups" to join in which you can ask specific questions related to your craft and REACH THE RIGHT AUDIENCE for your question.  More about that in a minute.  On facebook it's very easy to share information that you want other people to see.  You can write, with words only, or you can share a picture with no caption, or you can combine them.

Instagram requires a photo which you can then add a caption to.  Because it is all photos, it's a great place for artists, who are visual people.  They're aren't a bunch of words in the way of our pretty pictures!  We can look at fabric and quilts all day.

~How Can I Control What I See On Social Media?


Like what you like.  Heart what you heart.  Comment when you have a comment.  Downvote what you want to downvote.  You can tell Facebook "I don't want to see this."

Follow the people you want to follow.  If you're creating a new account this is very easy.  If you have an existing account that you want to shape into a quilting haven, that might require unfriending people who might get their feelings hurt.  For this reason, I keep facebook as a personal family and friend sharing place, and instagram as a public forum for my art.  I was able to create my instagram account from scratch and mold it into what I needed it to be.

~How Can I Get More Likes and Followers?

Find the right audience.  When I post a picture to my personal page of my mail art, I might get ten likes.  When I post to a Jamberry Nails group with 20,000 nail fanatics in it, I might get several hundred likes.

The same goes for quilting!  Maybe not all your personal friends understand what goes into a quilt, but everyone in "Quiltville's Open Studio" certainly will!  Obviously, your worth is not determined by likes and followers, and you certainly can't rely on the opinions of strangers to feel validated in your art, but if you're trying to reach the right people and receive more exposure on the internet, it's important to find the right audience.

Use hashtags!  Hashtags are a method of categorization.  They immediately fill your post into the appropriate category.  If I post a picture of the Fancy Forest Quilt I made out of Moda fabrics, I'm going to hashtag it #fancyforestquilt #elizabethhartman #showmethemoda .

This way, every time ANYONE searches those hashtags, they will see my quilt!  This might provoke them to go to my page and see what else they like, and frequently this is how you get new followers.

Tag the appropriate people!  In the same post I might also tag @ElizabethHagh, the pattern designer, so she can see what someone has made with her design.  If I'm using Alison Glass or Kate Spain Fabrics, I'll tag them as well.  This has occasionally resulted in that designer sharing your photo on their own personal account!  Suddenly your exposure has increased exponentially.  By tagging the Fat Quarter Shop in my Snapshots Quilt picture last year, I had my photo shared by the Fat Quarter Shop and Moda Fabrics.  Thousands more people saw my quilt than would have if I had not used the appropriate tags and hashtags.

Participate in swaps!  Swaps are one of the most fun parts of instagram.  When you see a swap open, fill out the form and you're in !  You make something for a stranger, a different stranger makes something for you, and almost everyone else in that swap will follow you!  They'll do this because you clearly have similar interests, AND they want to see what everyone is making and guess which one could belong to them!  They're a really fun way to meet new people and make beautiful things.

~How Do I Find People To Follow?

Click on someone's profile who is a quilter (hint: I'm one).  On the top part of the screen you'll see how many people they follow.  You can click on "following" and you'll get a list of all the people they follow!  If it sounds like they're a quilter, sewist, or fabric designer, follow that person!  You can always unfollow them later if you're unhappy with the content.

~How can social media actually help me as a quilter, though?

Because of instagram, I was introduced to Alison Glass and Elizabeth Hartman and found fabrics and patterns I really, really, loved.  Because of Facebook I learned of Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilts and Leah Day's Free-Motion-Quilting designs.

Simply by existing in the community you will see and be exposed to new patterns, new fabrics, new techniques, and new people!  It's really fun to see what the designers and big manufacturing companies have coming out soon and what they're excited about!

Maybe you, 52Q follower, already knew all this, but I bet you know someone who hasn't taken the plunge yet who could stand to read this!  Give it a share and see what happens :)


1 comment:

  1. Mmm.. good to be here in your article or post, whatever, I think I should also work hard for my own website like I see some good and updated working in your site.