“Isn’t Instagram full of people taking pictures of their dinner?”
I wasn’t surprised when I heard this comment from a small crafting business owner, after suggesting she start using the platform.
It’s a line I’ve heard many times once I started banging the social media drum at my former newspaper ten years ago.
This is why on Thursday, August 10, Brighton Sewing Bee founder Stacie Madden invited me to explain how to use social media and blogging to reach out to fellow enthusiasts and potential customers.
Social media platforms like Instagram bring communities together, much like the old chatrooms of the early internet in back in the 1990s.
Stacie discovered a huge community of sewists when she joined Instagram a few years ago.
From this community she created the SEWMANCE Festival to bring everyone together.
Look at what I can do
Instagram is a great fit for visually creative people.
Whether sewing, crocheting or knitting, sharing images and particularly video of your work and/or product attracts attention.
Be inspired by others or their inspiration.
The key is to make sure your pictures are fun, interesting and use a useful selection of searchable hashtags.
#SewersofInstagram has more than 89,000 posts on the site, however, #KnittersofInstagram has a mighty two million plus fans.
Claire Griffiths of Yellow Bear Wares asked about hashtag shadow bans, which are a concern for people trying to reach out.
Instagram does suppress some hashtags, not because they’re popular, but when they’re hijacked for less than wholesome purposes.
It’s always a good idea to search before using a tag, just to make sure it is active.
Varying the tags you use also keeps your account fresh.
At the moment, Instagram seems to like video and is particularly pushing the stories element at the top of the feed.
These posts certainly get most of the action on the Brighton Sewing Bee and SEWMANCE Instagrams — did I mention I’m Stacie’s social media manager?
As part of the fun I created a Boomerang of Stacie’s new necklace, a gift from regulars to celebrate Brighton Sewing Bee’s third birthday.
Tell me about you
Blogging is another key tool for crafters and people setting up small businesses.
It is more than a diary, it is about giving your brand and ideas a voice, your voice.
Tell people what you love about your latest creation.
Explain the techniques you used and why you chose the material.
Write about your passions.
Stacie invites people to share their sewing stories for her SEWMANCE blog.
Sewing stories brought to life are an essential part of the SEWMANCE Festival, giving the blog crossover appeal.
Style and inspiration
Pinterest is terrific for reaching out to fellow enthusiasts by adding posts with a great photograph.
Can you post your Etsy wares on Pinterest? You certainly can.
If your items look great then it can help bring traffic to your shop.
Good light and clear focus are essential along with good framing.
Mood and idea boards tell your potential customers about you, too.
Are you like them? Then they may buy into your style.
Brighton Sewing Bee is at St George’s Church, Kemp Town on either the first of second Thursday of the month.
Stacie also hosts Brighton Stitch ‘n’ Bitch at Brewdog on the third Thursday of the month.