A HUGE thanks to Diana, Holly, Lindsey, and Cristy for being on our panel last weekend and sharing their Instagram expertise! Read on for a summary of their thoughts....
Panel Members: Diana Steffen @dianaelizabeth, Holly Hughes @hollygetsquilty, Lindsey Neill @penandpaperpatterns, Cristy Fincher @cristycreates (pictured above, left to right)
What's your favorite thing about IG?
Diana: Pushes me to think creatively.
Cristy: I really enjoy sharing my ideas, projects, and sometimes my mistakes, and getting feedback from other quilty friends.
Holly: I think that has changed for me over the years. Initially I was excited to find a quilting community that was working on more modern styles. I was learning to quilt from two much more traditional quilters so finding like quilters with a more modern aesthetic is what really pulled me into the quilting IG world. Now I see it as more of a place to network and find support, while also providing/receiving feedback and inspiration.
What would you attribute your account growth to?
Diana: Hashtags, collaborating with other bloggers and posting regularly.
Cristy: My growth is in large part due to the friendships and partnerships that I've made with other quilters and artists. When we work together on giveaways and projects, we all grow and reach new people.
Holly: Learning to take and edit better photos really seemed to be a game changer for me. You can make truly beautiful things but at the end of the day Instagram is a visual medium and if your pictures aren't well lit or staged then you are going to find it harder to attract followers. There can be a lot of pressure to continuously create original content as well, but I have found that the quality of your work and photos can be more of a draw then if you post something new every day. I also got to a point where it just made sense to split my accounts into my public quilting account, and a separate family account. I still share occasional photos of my life on HollyGetsQuilty, but I know that isn't what most people come to my account for, so I try to keep it mostly sewing and crafting related.
What's the best tip you would you give to someone who wants grow their IG?
Diana: Know when to post for most views/reach. For me it’s around 7 pm or later on a week night. Focus more on your post’s reach than engagement to know if it was a good post. You want more eyeballs on it, it doesn’t matter if people like it. Also see what your most popular posts were so you know what your audience likes.
Cristy: Engage with the people you enjoy following by liking and commenting on their posts. Also, comment back to those that leave comments on your posts. Using good hashtags in your posts, not just fun, novel ones, help people to find and follow you.
Holly: Take time to look through your feed and what draws you to follow certain accounts. What about their aesthetic do you like? Take time to look up tutorials on taking better Instagram photos--there are lots of free apps and blog posts that can seriously up your game and draw in more followers. Also, don't be afraid to engage with fellow instagrammers. Offer to test patterns, reply to comments on your photos, comment on other accounts and engage in some back and forth, find fellow quilters to collaborate with. The more connections you can make with other quilters the more people will start to recognize your account and take interest. Most importantly, BE AUTHENTIC. Don't post things you don't like just because you think it will get more likes. I think people are drawn to authenticity.
Closing thoughts from Panel Members:
- To encourage people to regularly comment just notice people that regularly comment on your post and try to comment back. Or, at least five times in a row if you can (different posts over a course of a few weeks) and you will be noticed and hopefully they reciprocate. I have a few friends who I can count on that I know if they see my post they will comment if they aren’t busy.
- You can also create group pods where you message each other in the group on Instagram to let them know of the new post so they can comment. I find it a bit too time-consuming but if you limit it to one per post and maybe five people in a group it’s a good start. The point of getting more comments is that it tells the Instagram algorithm that post is relevant content and they will show it to more people (more reach).
- You can also use hashtags on Instastories
- If I were a quilter I would make sure to tag the fabric people, stores, pattern and as many people as they can and not only the caption but also the photo itself. You might get a share on their large following and gain followers that way. People also tend to look at favorite brands and other accounts That have tagged them so that’s another exposure avenue.
- If you start a quilting project it might be fun to create that specific quilt it on It’s own # so people can follow along with your project