Social Media Workshop at J.P. Knit & Stitch

by Judy Tucker

Last night I attended a workshop on Social Medial for Sewers, Crafters and Makers at J.P. Knit & Stitch in Jamaica Plain, MA, given by Meighan O'Toole who is a social media and digital strategy consultant and Abby Glassenberg who sews and and designs patterns for stuffed toys and soft sculptures. She blogs at While She Naps and has an Etsy Shop.

I have to admit, that I have been a bit wary of social media.  Not so much about what social media is, but concerns that it will overtake my day and I won't get any designing or quilting done.  If I'm not being actively creative, my blog isn't going to thrive. The blog is my social media priority at the moment.

Meighan talked a lot about using social media to build a business that is financially successful.  Twitter is particularly useful when building a business.   Both women talked about how they have used social media to build a community of like-minded folks.
They also both are advocates of newsletters which they write on a regular basis.

Both Meighan and Abby talked about how important it is to respond to everyone who takes the time to comment on a post on your blog or other social media. It engages folks and helps to build your following.

Abby had some great tips and advice about use of social media in the midst of a busy life.  She has 3 young children.  She actually went through her day and told us where in the day she she fits in time to check a variety social media.  She is very organized and clearly can set limits for herself!

Here are some tips from the workshop that I plan to integrate into my quilting and blogging life.  These are from Abby's part of the workshop.

  1. Pick 2 social media platforms that are a good fit and commit to using them regularly.   
  2. Blog on a regular basis.  Plan to post on the same days each week... and do it!  Abby posts on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
  3. Let folks know what's going on in your life that makes it possible to be creative.  Abby said she posts her income, expenses etc so folks can see what it costs to run a business based on sewing. Now that's transparency!
  4. Share things that other folks are doing that you have found helpful or appreciate.
  5. Share your skills.
Here are some thoughts about how I plan to incorporate Abby's tips into my use of social media:

  1.  Using 2 social media platforms: I came right home last night and signed up on Instagram.  Check out the new button on the right side bar!  Find me @sleepingdogquilts.  Quilting is such a visual activity that using a social media that is based on photographs makes so much sense.  
  2.  Not yet sure what blogging on a regular basis means for me.  I post several times a week, but I post when I have a project in progress which I want to share.  I do see the wisdom of posting on specific days--followers will know you are going to post and can look forward to the next post.  I know I'd like that as a reader.  I'm thinking about how to make the blog better too.
  3. Backstory.  I try to do that when I talk about the process designing quilts.  I'll have to give some thought to other possible things to share.
  4. Sharing.  Book reports!  Using Pinterest to post other folk's work would another way to do this. 
  5. Skills.  Writing tutorials is an option Abby suggested. I enjoy writing tutorials so will continue to do that.
I'm really glad I attended this workshop.  I got a lot of great ideas and I loved what the women had to say about building an on-line community which can truly be world-wide.

I also really appreciate the workshops that J.P. Knit & Stitch has offered.  This is the second one I've been to this year. The speakers have all been committed to their crafts, so open and thoughtful about what they are doing and so generous about creativity of other people in the sewing/quilting/crafting community.  This is brilliant booking!  Kudos to the store's owners!