This is the first in a series of short articles designed to teach quilt shop owners and other professionals in the industry how to use the internet to market themselves. All were written by quilt shop owners and their marketing specialists. This will give you guidance right from the experts.
You are probably on Facebook, or Instagram, maybe even Twitter. But is your quilt shop on social media? It should be!
I could give you a bunch of numbers and data. I could research the amount of consumers that have a smart phone and that have social media apps they use daily. I could come up with numbers of how many people shop direct from social media. But I am only going to give you one number: Zero. The cost of using social media for advertising!
Of course, you can buy ads, you can buy followers, and you can add on programs to it. But as a whole, social media is the best free advertising you can have! With social media, you can advertise your products but even better you can advertise the type of store you are.
Today’s shopper is online. I’m sure we all already know how important a solid website is. But add on a strong social media presence and you have transitioned from a shop to a community. A place where quilters will come to learn, to share, and to be inspired. All from their laptops and smart phones!
Your social media presence is an outreach of the type of shop you are. You can use social media to sell. Of course, you can share products and depending on which platform you use, you can even sell directly from it. But consider everything else you can share! You can share project inspirations or behind the scenes photos of your team at work. You can share store classes or charity sewing group meeting times. You can share upcoming sales or photos your customers' finished quilts! All of these different types of posts will get the attention of your customers, show what type of store yours really is, and in turn, bring more people through your door.
Okay, let’s talk a little bit about numbers. The way social media works is if one follower likes/hearts/tweets your post, their ten friends will see it. One view becomes ten. Let’s say those ten respond and like your post. Now you have each of their ten people’s friends see it. You are at 100 views. Say one person in that group shared your post, did you just hit 100 more? And more and more! So let’s say over 100 people saw that you are supporting a charity sewing group in your store. Those 100 people will now know you don’t just sell fabric – you are a place that cares about others. The next time they are in your area, I bet that viewer will want to stop at your shop and will probably buy some fabric while they are there.
I’ll leave you with one real world example. This past Fourth of July, our shop was honored to hold a Quilts of Valor presentation. It was a wonderful experience and you can bet I took photos and posted them to Facebook that day. That single post reached three times greater than what our normal product posts reach. These photos became one of our highest engaged posts and we gained new followers from it.
Social media is the way to get attention! Get your store online, make some posts, and start building a community. Followers will come and more sales will come with them.
We at QuiltingHub wanted to create an educational series to help quilt shops (and other businesses) see what makes shops successful. Calling on all the shops to help them realize the value of a QuiltingHub member listings has given us a window into what makes some shops so popular and why others struggle. Ellen Ault is the marketing specialist at Happy Apple Quilts in Tampa Florida. This is a prime example of a shop that has gotten it right. They are strong and growing. They have a QuiltingHub member page that is used properly (see best results) and they use social media the right way. We wanted you to learn from this shop. Ellen, Karen, & Sharen from Happy Apple Quilts agreed to help you grow from their success. Stop by and thank them.
QuiltingHub is committed to helping the quilting industry grow through education and providing resources to the entire industry. Please make use of our resources and if you would like to help or write an article, contact us.
Check out the most popular tool on QuiltingHub. Use the search 'Map Of Resources' or the 'Resources Trip Planner' to the right (or below).
Ellen Ault is a professional long arm quilter. Her quilts have been in national quilt shows and in numerous publications. Ellen is a graphic artist and assists local quilt shops with social media.