Today I want to talk about Instagram. We most likely all have the social media app and most likely we all enjoy scrolling through the endless feeds of photos!
Aside from Pinterest, Instagram has become a favorite social sharing platform. It has also become my #1 place to get to know and interact directly with other makers. Since changing from a mommy blog to a maker blog I have gotten to know some REALLY talented and amazing people!
When I started my Maker Monday series I was suddenly introduced to a whole new world of makers. For instance, meeting people who make in niches I don’t. Some of those would include pottery, watercolor, hand lettering and more! It’s been a privilege and an honor to get to know these people. I truly see the value in connecting with them on this platform.
One example has been my interaction with Chelsea from Chelsea_Crochet_Photography. She was working steadily for over a month on this incredible knitted sweater. Every day she would post a new photo of the progress she was making as she went along. It took her over a month to complete but by the end of it, there were so many of us who had become “involved” in the project we were all cheering her on when she finally completed it.
What was really neat about this experience was how one person’s maker feed led to others joining together to cheer this person on. By the end of it, several of us were talking about how we were now motivated to complete some of the bigger projects we had been putting off. Chelsea was great about encouraging me and saying she wanted to see the progress of my big sweater project once I started.
Now as a little maker in a GIANT maker pond I was impressed to see someone with such a large following on Instagram as well as someone who has crazy good talent, take the time to comment directly to me encourage me in my project endeavors.
This type of connection isn’t something you see in every blogging niche. I’m not saying the maker blogging community is perfect because there have been a few I have reached out to that have never said a word.
I can see, however, the value which can come if you are taking the time to get to know the other makers in the community. Because honestly, this isn’t a competition. We should all be united and supportive of one another. I will also say we should know the “why” when we comment on a maker’s Instagram
Years ago when I first started blogging I would leave comments on other blogs simply because I was told that’s what you need to do in order to build a big following.
I have since changed this way of thinking.
My husband laughs because there are many times where I will refer to certain makers on Instagram by their first names and then continue talking about them as if we just got back from having coffee together! But it’s true how much I do feel like I know them. They share their art with us by letting us see the design process and sharing snapshots of what real life as a maker is for them.
When I talked last week about how blogging is important for your Etsy shop, I spoke about this idea. I talked about how a blog is an intimate portfolio where your potential clients and customers (readers) can come and see who the person is behind these adorable blankets, beanies and more.
Instagram is like the mini version of a blog. You have the opportunity to make this connection via a snapshot and then from there you can comment, like, reshare and even message directly these amazing people who inspire and encourage you in pursuit of your maker dreams.
One of the major ways I have built relationships is by seeking out makers who have a smaller following than I do. From there I incorporate them into my editorial calendar and feature them on my Monday series. I have developed relationships with these people I have written about and I have seen the even greater potential for collabs and more down the road as a result of making these investments.
I think you will find yourself to maintain a loyal following by showing your genuine care and support of others in the maker community.
I will be first to say I am not the best crocheter, knitter or DIYer. In fact, there are countless others who far exceed my making abilities! One thing I do want to be good at is being a cheerleader for others, learning from them and making connections that will last a lifetime.
Never pursue business relationships with what you can get out of it. Instead, you should look at those relationships and see how you can contribute to them and their making endeavors. I have been in awe of how taking the time to praise someone for their talent has created a huge return for me. It’s important to note I NEVER set out to praise others to see what they say and do for me! I have not asked one time for the makers I feature to say one word about me. However, one by one they have done so on their own accord and I have been humbled by it.
Being a part of the maker community has been refreshing. I have never experienced so much support and encouragement when it comes to my efforts in the realm of handmade goods.
Sometimes it is hard to be the only one “tooting” your horn! I get how hard it is to be your own cheerleader. I have had moments where I have sat making something and while I’m working I’ll think to myself, “Why am I doing this? Who am I even making this for?”.
The beginning road of building a customer base and brand is hard and difficult. There is nothing glamorous about it! I’m sure if you were to interview all the top 10 makers they would each give advice and wisdom in regards to not giving up in those beginning years.
One of the ways I have dealt with the lull that comes when all you’re doing is making and waiting, in the beginning, is by making those connections with people who are far above where I am in my maker career and then those who are below me. By receiving encouragement and then handing it out as well I can feel energized and ready to keep pressing forward.
When I started out pursuing others and what I could do for them as makers I have been blessed to be see how putting others first has led to some amazing new friendships and opportunities I would have never imagined!
More than anything I want to encourage you with this. Becoming involved in a community has to be about what you can do for others. You cannot allow it to become about yourself and all the ways you can be served etc. Instead, when joining a community be it on social media, through a blog, local artisan class or even church. Make everything you say and do about others .
If you approach business in this way and especially the maker community in this way, you will be shocked at what huge blessings will be in store.
Instagram is a great place to start when getting involved in the global maker community. There are so many amazing people! I discover new ones every single day and I will honestly say I am so grateful for the connections I have made. I look forward to connecting with even more people in the future and seeing what we can do as a tribe together!
QUESTIONS TO ASK:
What are some of the things you have learned when being a part of an online community?
Have you had opportunities you wouldn’t have had if you weren’t apart of this online group?
What are some of the ways you make efforts to genuinely connect with people in your niche online?
Have any of those people become your best friends?
What are some practical ways you can begin investing in other makers on Instagram?
In this day and age, we are bombarded with all of the thousands of ways we can step on others to get ahead. There are even famous sayings like,
“Every man for himself”
It doesn’t have to be this way. We can stand united and supportive of one another and still be successful in our own ways. Success looks different for each and every individual. What works for me may or may not work for you.
My talents might not be your talents and vice versa. But, together we can accomplish amazing things and truly bring change to the world in the areas we are seeking to make a change.
Start by making the effort to connect with others and be genuine in your relationships with them! Don’t hide behind a screen and pretend to be something your not. Use Instagram as an opportunity to invite others into your real life snapshots. Speak and photograph from the heart. Comment on other maker’s work and be their cheerleader! Even if they have 67k followers and you have 400, that person will still appreciate a genuine comment of praise!