Tips on Running a Successful Instagram Strategy

laser cut word search letters

If you struggle to come up with new (let alone exciting or engaging) content on social media, you're not alone. Andrew, marketing guru and two-time quilt shop manager, is sharing his top insights on what works (and what doesn't) in marketing to your shop's Instagram audience.

(If you don't currently have an Instagram account for your shop and/or feel intimidated by the idea, watch the 8 minute YouTube video below that walks you step by step through setting up, navigating, and posting to Instagram. Remember--you're a quilting genius! You can do anything. Instagram is easy stuff.)



1. pair hashtags with beautiful photos to capture & engage quilting customers

-Research and use hashtags wisely: 
Don't just use any old ####! Research hashtags, and find relevant ones that your competitors and quilt industry leaders are using. For example, if @rileyblakedesigns is running a SAL (Sew-A-Long) or QAL (Quilt-A-Long), and you happen to have that fabric collection, jump on board and encourage your customers to, as well!

Or, start your own hashtag, like we saw @trollbrothersquiltmama doing last week! If one of her customers purchases a pattern or kit from her shop, finishes the quilt, and posts it to Instagram with the hashtag #trollbrothersquiltcomplete, they qualify for an entry in a monthly shop giveaway! Not only does this tactic encourage people to purchase a pattern from her shop, it increases the amount of social media engagement that she sees. Boo-yah.

-Make your caption relatable, raw, and real:
Don't make every post a sales pitch. Ultimately, your end goal is to increase your bottom line, but great marketing equates to showing your future customers, not just telling them, that your products are worth purchasing. For example, showcase your shop's classes partying it up on UFO day, your employees giving great service, and the slew of beautiful new fabrics entering your doors.

-Use images that inspire emotion in YOU:
If even you don't like the image you just posted, there's a high probability your customers aren't going to stop scrolling for a second glance. Beautiful pictures mean more engagement.

2. use quilty giveaways or contests to reach a wider audience

-The point of social media content is ultimately, to increase your bottom line. How will you achieve this? When running a quilting giveaway, determine a desirable prize and your contest's rules. For a lesser prize, just ask them to follow you. To win a larger prize item, require that they tag 5 quilting friends, too, or repost your content. Think outside the box to find engaging, fun ideas!

For example, we were laser-cutting letters for a quilt kit, and thought it'd be awesome to do a word search post (see top picture). We offered a prize to the person that could find the longest word using the laser-cut letters. That post had TONS of engagement and gained us several followers. Plus, it was fun to see everyone's responses and didn't seem automated and robotic in promoting our product!

3. interact with your followers and others in the quilting industry

Like and comment on posts from other industry leaders and your followers to gain traction...Remember--it's harder for someone to "find" you organically than to attract their attention by tagging them in your post, commenting on their photo, or liking their content.

Here's a few non-traditional methods for attracting attention:

1. Reach out to a designer whose fabrics you often have in-shop and that you LOVE...Ask to interview them, and post the interview on your shop's blog, YouTube, or vlog (video blog). Then link your Instagram url to the blog post.


2. Find your competitors (other quilt shops)...who's following them? There's a good chance that if they're following one quilt shop, they won't hesitate to follow another one (YOU!). So comment on their finished projects and UFOs (if their profile is public).


3. Prepare content for your blog that features a pattern and/or fabric designer. Reach out to those makers and just request that they share it :) You'll be surprised at how often they'll be receptive! That being said, be patient if you don't hear a response or if they say no. Providence rewards the persistent!

Now go get 'em! Don't overthink it (like we sometimes do). It's better to post something than nothing at all, and you'll learn as you go!

Want extra free marketing or business advice from a serial entrepreneur? Ask Andrew a personalized question by clicking the button below!
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