Instagram (IG for short) is a great social media platform for quilters – there is a great community there and as IG is such a visual platform, it is fabulous for sharing all the beautiful things we make or are inspired by!
I love IG for the inspiration I see daily, the wonderful people I have met (most just virtually but some in real life too), the fabric I get to see and the ability to share my makes and patterns with everyone.
IG is best used on a phone or tablet (it is viewable on a computer but you are limited with the things you can do there). Once you have set up your account you might be left wondering ‘what do I do now?’.
Well now you start having fun!
Actually, before we start having too much fun, let’s make sure you have set up your profile well first.
You will need to have a profile picture and you can put in a few sentences to describe yourself; the type of makes you love, whatever is important to you. You can also put a link to your blog or website or anything outside of IG. Just click on the person icon bottom right to access your profile.
I like to see people’s names in their profile (especially if their IG name is something like sewquiltsalot or something!) it is always nice to know what a person’s first name if when you make comments on their posts.
Your First Posts
Before you start following a lot of people it is best to post a few pictures first. This gives people a bit of an idea of the type of things you like and your ‘style’. They are more likely to start following you if they get a sense of what things they will see being posted by you.
So find a couple of pictures of recent makes or things that inspire you.
Click on the post icon (the middle one that sort of looks like a camera) and select a picture from your photo library on your phone, click next and next again (if possible don’t use filters as they really change the look of your fabric and makes) and then you can write a caption. Just a sentence or two about the photo. Then click on Share. We can get more advanced with your captions and tagging as we go along!
Then you can start following some inspiring people. Your favourite fabric designer is likely to be on here, as is your favourite fabric manufacturers… and your favourite shops…. And the ladies in your quilt guild… and your local café…. Before long you will be seeing all the posts from these amazing people show up in your feed to inspire you!
To follow someone, you can search for their IG name (found on a business card or website) by clicking on the search icon down the bottom, clicking in the search field , clicking on the people tab and typing in their IG name. Then click on the Follow button.
Some people (though not many these days) have their accounts set to private. I suggest not making your account private (people have to request to follow you and you have to approve them) – just make sure that the things you are posting are not too personal and private. Ie I don’t suggest posting pictures of your children too much or the place you live or telling us all that you are going away for three weeks… you know… the usual social media guidelines!
Once you have found someone to follow, you can view their profile and click to see who they are following and follow the ones that interest you. This can be great to do for say a fabric designer you love… you can start following some of the people that SHE is inspired by.
I have loved watching IG in the lead up to a big event such as the Spring International Quilt Market when lots of new fabrics are released… the fabric designers start posting sneak peaks of their designs! You feel like you have the inside track on the latest things!
Which leads me to hashtags… these are great for being able to see posts that relate to a similar thing. Search for a hashtag like #bonnieandcamille to see all the things people are making with their fabric. Most designers have a hashtag for themselves and one for each of their fabrics. For example #pixienoelfabric or #vintagepicnicfabric . And then there are hashtags for events such as #cottonfactoryunplugged a recent event held in Ballart, Victoria that I went to (and helped organise). #quiltmarket is another that will have all the amazing pics of the happenings at the upcoming quiltmarket in Salt Lake City.
Click on the Search icon, you will be shown some random posts that you can explore through (these are shown to you based on the things you have posted and the people you follow so when you first start might show you some strange things!) Click in the search bar at the top and you can search for people, tags, places.
Tagging another person on IG
In your post caption or in a comment you can tag another person on IG by tagging them. Put the @ symbol in front of their IG name. For example @anneboundy in a comment will make a link to me and I will be notified that someone has tagged me in a comment. I can then go and look at that comment and make a comment back.
The activity page on IG (the icon has a speech bubble with a heart in it) shows you the comments and likes that people have given you as well as new people that have started following you. You can click on the image next to a comment to be taken to that post so you can make a comment back if you want.
Community on IG
I think the best thing about IG is the sense of community. We might all have different lives and different stresses and pulls on our time… but in the basics we are the same. We love our families, we want to make beautiful things and we want to help each other get through our lives.
You might get the feeling that everyone’s lives are perfect by the gorgeous pictures they post… but read the comments and the hashtags and you will soon discover that everyone has their bad days, their down days and sometimes it can feel right to reach out and lift that other person up a bit. You never know… one day you might be in need of a lift from all of us!
My parents always said to me ‘if you haven’t got anything nice to say, don’t say anything’. I take that motto with me onto social media. If there are posts that are inflammatory to me… I just keep on scrolling 🙂
Whew… if you are still reading this then congratulations… you are RARING to get started on Instagram!
I will blog again next week with some more tips on some of the other parts of IG such as buying and selling, entering and holding competitions, direct messages and some of the etiquette of IG.
I would love you to come join the IG quilting community. Feel free to follow me @anneboundy and tag me in your first posts or comments. And happy to answer questions in the comments section below.