Number fifteen of our weekly interviews in which we discover how real businesses are making Social Media work for them. Please meet Anna Ryan from Quilting the Grain.
Who are you and what do you do?
I have a number of roles:
- I work for Gloucestershire Adult Education working with vulnerable adults across the county as a Soft Skills teacher. I teach them sewing skills to boost their confidence. Learners may be ex-offenders, young mothers or people with mental health issues. Through learning to sew they also learn social skills and they get used to being in a classroom environment. Once they have built some confidence they often feel happier about going on to attend literacy or numeracy classes, which in turn could lead to employment I won Tutor of the Year this year with Gloucestershire Adult Education. Currently, I work predominately with women, but I hope to work with identified clients of both genders in all situations.
- In the evenings and weekends I work with local art centres teaching quilting, sewing and bag making courses and I also teach sewing to children in an after school club.
- I am building a global profile as a quilter and a designer of quilting patterns.
How do you use Social Media?
I blog most days about the quilting projects I’m working on and the colours I see around me. I love Instagram and Twitter. They are easy to use and provide instant connections and feedback. There is a huge quilting community around the world, and it is fantastic making connections with others in the community. I also have Flickr, Pinterest and YouTube accounts.
Can you share a Personal Success Story?
Through Twitter and Instagram, I have just had my first design accepted by an online, modern quilting magazine. I have been sent the material to put together the quilt design which, including the design instructions, will be featured in the Christmas issue of the magazine. This is really big for me as it is the first step in building a brand as somebody who designs quilts.
I have just created my first quilting pattern and through requesting testers on Twitter have found 4 people to test the pattern and give feedback to make sure it will be easy to use for beginner quilters. I did have 25 people reply to my request for testers, which was phenomenal. I will then be able to sell the pattern on my website confident that it will meet the needs to those new to quilting.
I have been quilting for 17 years. When I started making quilts, it was really difficult to get help and break into the community of existing quilters. Now, through the use of Social Media, I have discovered a whole world out there of people who quilt. The craft of quilting has grown with younger, modern quilters being able to share and communicate through social media. Worldwide quilters can now access the biggest quilt shows in the World held in America through the eyes of the lucky quilters who get to attend using Instagram and Twitter.
Can you give our readers a top tip?
Look at what other people are doing and use other blogs as inspiration. Think about your brand and what you want to say on Social Media. After taking a look around, you do need to jump in though – don’t be scared. If you are comfortable with what you write, somebody somewhere will also like it! Show your personality don’t just advertise about you and your achievements, sharing your mistakes can be just as useful as sharing your triumphs. Talk about you as a person – but only share what you are happy to put out in the public arena.