Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Working Wednesday - "What Are You Doing?"

Hi, all!

Is it cold where you are?  It's been unusually cold here in Tennessee this week, and I've found myself checking in with social medial more often than usual because I don't want to go outside in the cold to interact with folks! So this week I thought I'd work on the section of the book dealing with social media.  

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If you've watched Wheel of Fortune recently, you've probably seen this category - What Are You Doing?  With the advent of social media, it seems like there are lots of ways to let others know what you are doing - and it's a great tool to share your charity quilting efforts with others!

Obviously, Facebook is a simple and easy way to share.  Most people have a personal account and friends already - so posting about what you are working on is a simple way to share.  You can also set up a group page to share the efforts of your charity quilting group, too.  When others like, share or comment on your post, word will spread quickly! (Tips here about how to post to get the widest spread on your posts)

Blogging is a little more complicated, but a very rewarding way to share a longer story.  There are many platforms available where you can build your blog for free, so it can be accomplished with minimal monetary investment.  It does require a good bit of time to maintain a blog properly, though.  Networking with other blogs is essential to build your readership, through blog hops, linky parties, and other activities.  Regular posts will bring regular readers.  Responding to comments that readers leave is a great way to make new friends and contacts, too, along with being simple good manners.  As a newbie blogger, I was very fortunate to have a good example in my friend Kelley.  I became acquainted with the world of blogging when I started reading her blog.  Every time I left a comment, she would write me back, even though we would probably see each other in a day or two.  I loved the extra dimension the emails gave our friendship, so when I started my own blog, I followed her example and responded to every comment left on my blog.  Because of that, I have developed wonderful relationships with fellow bloggers from around the world.  I may never meet these people in person, but I certainly count them among my friends! (Links to great tutorials on how to start blogging here)

Instagram is an amazing way to share your efforts through pictures.  Linking it to your Twitter or Facebook account allows you to spread the word even further!  (Boy do I need more info about this - I think I need to pick my daughter's brain!)

Twitter allows you to send quick, short messages to those who follow you.  Start trends with #hashtags that connect your messages with others using the same #hashtag.  (I need more info on this one, too - can you tell which platforms I don't use routinely?  LOL!)

And never forget Pinterest!  What originally started as a great way to keep track of things seen on the Internet has became a huge social media platform.  You can search for pins on almost anything, follow people whose pinning appeals to you, and promote your business or cause through the pins you add to your own boards.

At this point, you may be overwhelmed, and wondering why you need all these social platforms.  What benefit are they to me?  Well, I can tell you from personal experience that people who read about the quilt ministry on our blog have donated enough fabric, blocks, unfinished projects (more commonly known as UFOs), quilt tops and finished quilts to keep our ministry running with minimal outside funding.  We purchase batting, thread, minor amounts of fabric, and other expendable supplies such as rotary cutter blades, but seldom make large purchases of fabric.  It's almost as if we have a two-fold ministry - quilts for those in need, and a place for unwanted or unneeded fabric to live, relieving the UFO guilt and over-stuffed stashes of fellow quilters! Spreading the word about what you do allows others to receive the blessing of participating in whatever way they feel most comfortable.  Our ministry is so much more than the forty or so active members in our church.  It also encompasses quilters around the world who have joined in our efforts through their donations and encouragement!

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Wow, it feels good to get that down in writing! It's just bare-bones and needs to be expanded, but it's a start.  Obviously, though, I need to take my own advice and brush up on some of these skills myself. Fortunately, my daughter is much more tech-savvy than I am, so I will pick her brain and put the info to good use.  

Is there anything you would add to this section?  What other social media platforms do you use?  Do you have a special technique for getting your information out there? I'd love to hear about it!

Thanks for letting me share with you - it's wonderful to hear what you all have to say, and so very helpful!

Hugs!

Sarah

PS Here's the gratuitous quilt picture - just because it's fun and no post is complete without the picture of a quilt!


10 comments:

  1. Social Media.... It was a big step for me to start blogging. (I'm not on FB or any other social media) I have grown to absolutely love the creative outlet and virtual quilting guild blogging has provided. I think anymore social media, for me, at this point of my life, would be quite overwhelming and time consuming. I have found my perfect little niche in a very, very techy world.

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  2. I'm on FB and I love blogging, although I haven't always posted regularly, depending whatever has been going on in my life. Now i have stopped working I'm making a much more concerted effort to blog. I have yet to explore the world of Instagram and I can't be bothered with Twitter!

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  3. I've been blogging for about 5 years. I do not do FB, but have recently been using IG. My daughter put it on my phone when she was traveling to Australia, and it was a great way to keep in touch and see what she was doing. There is so much social media that it can be pretty overwhelming, plus very time consuming. I've also noticed not as many comments, and I'm sure it's because we only have so much time and we need to choose it wisely. I'm glad you have been able to benefit from the SM outlets for your ministry.

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  4. Thanks for all this information I blog and read facebook but don't post as much. We are fortunate with my ministry that we had 17 boxes of fabric donated this year. Last year I did about 90% of the sewing and this year I have people sewing the quilts - I just need to organize and work with a Memory Care to tie the quilts. I also do the binding. This has been a great ministry for me. My goal this year is to work with the scraps (haven't had much time for that though) - we will get there eventually.

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  5. Great post! I have a FB fanpage, Flickr, Pinterest and IG to go with my blog. To make life easy for me, when I have a blog post, it also automatically posts to my fanpage. On IG, when I share, I also have it share to my flickr photo stream. All these connections make it easy for me to share through a all the social platforms I use.

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  6. We have 15 inches of snow up here and "real feel" is -17 degrees! I think a chapter on social media is essential in today's world. I personally use Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and LinkedIn (for my day job). I've attempted twitter and got a few followers but it just didn't hold my interest at all, so would it hold my fans interest? I've found the most success on Facebook. Thus far I only have about 150 "likes" but I've gotten custom orders right off of Facebook a few times! I think you should really go into more detail about how to effectively use these platforms to promote the ministry. Why do you think you've accumulated quilt tops from people via Facebook? How do you think the ministry's Facebook page has affected the ministry as a whole? I think those would be fabulous questions to answer in this chapter so those who are thinking of starting a ministry, but are not sure about promotion via social media, can get a better idea about what they're diving in to! Keep up the awesome work! I can't wait to buy your book :D :D :D

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  7. You mentioned that they might feel overwhelmed, so I would mention starting small and then building upon what they use. Balance in life is so important. If they spend all their time on the social media, they won't be creating as much to draw the audience in. I think people like your blog so much because you draw them in with pictures, stories, and your fun linky. ;)

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  8. Valerie says it so much better than I could. I loved reading blogs for a year or so before I wanted to blog myself. Since then I started FB to get into the world of my grandkids... then they moved on to something else. FB is just a bit too broad for me. So much "young people jargon" that I have a hard time reading it.
    Actually I spend the whole morning reading blogs - I really need to pare down the list, or I'll never get anything done. (Some blogs I just skim or just look at the photos. Brutally honest - I just skimmed this one today. Social Media is really just a waste of time, in my opinion. So sorry Sarah, but there's only so much time, and at my age there is less and less.)
    Hugs

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  9. One of the most successful things I think you have done is host the linkup each Friday. The opportunity to share a link to my blog, and to see what others have shared, drew me to your blog on a regular basis. That is how I have learned about your ministry and all the wonderful work you are doing. Can's stress how much that one thing -linking up - has done to share your ministry message.

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  10. When it comes to social media, I really needed to prioritize what I wanted to do, I love my blog, but it will gather dust if it wasn't for linkys and shows, facebook just makes me sad, I've read things I'd rather not know about people LOL. I'm addicted to pinterest but have found that I need to get away at times because it seems to suck away my creativity after seeing so many other quilts. The other ones you mentioned made me laugh, I know about as much as you do and I'm fine with that. :)

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Comments make me smile!! And I always respond if I can - if you don't hear from me, you're probably a no-reply blogger - so leave an email address if you are!