Future Implications

knitting club

Social media plays a huge part in every company anymore, including the world of knitting. I have talked about this in a few previous posts about how social media changes how knitting is shared and taught and maybe viewed by some. It’s important to see how it has affected the business side of the knitting world as well.

One of the ways social media has changed the knitting world with business is sales are announced. Texting coupon codes and emailing them has been around for quite some time and with smartphones it makes it easier to use those as not only a reminder for customers but for ease of remembering the coupons. Twitter has changed this way of reminding customers yet again. Companies are staying more in contact with Twitter and Facebook but by posting about their sales it keeps the company in the forefront of everyone’s minds, like this one.

knitting promo

The next truly big way that social media has changed the knitting business is by how business is done. Knitting goes back to ancient times and has, for the most part, involved people physically going out to buy the end product. As ecommerce emerged, it allowed knitting to make a bigger splash and have a wider pull of people. With social media pushing beyond that basic ecommerce and some of the specific knitting social media sites, like Ravelry, allows for sharing of ideas and finished projects. Ravelry in particular is great in changing the knitting world, having so many ways to electronically keep track of patterns, your yarn stash, finished projects, and having a way to link them back to other sites – like an online store – is great! This changes the dynamic a lot for how people go about finding projects and patterns, because you don’t need to buy them as often anymore, and creates a larger community for knitters everywhere to share and grow in together.

So join a knitting community and find a way to share this greatness with the younger generations, like this group below has done!

generations of knitting

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Viral Marketing Initiatives

When you are talking about viral marketing initiatives, knitting is not usually something that comes to mind. Most of the time when you see knitting involved in commercials it’s on the obscure side or the comical side; like these commercials.

So what is viral marketing? It’s direct definition is “a marketing strategy that focuses on spreading information and opinions about a product or service from person to person, especially by using unconventional means such as the Internet or email” Which really just means that anything that’s quickly spread over the internet or with the help of the internet. Having something go viral is huge for a marketer because word of mouth does a lot of the marketing for them; you just have to make sure that it’s done positively and not with a negative influence.

There are many viral marketing campaigns that are successful without the coziness of knitting, maybe some should reconsider that, but first a company really needs to look at what makes the initiative go viral in the first place.

  •  Get involved. A marketing campaign will not go viral if there is nothing in social media for the masses to link back to the company and interact with them. Put simply, the company should have at least a Facebook account, and Twitter account and YouTube Channel wouldn’t hurt them either.
  •  Get emotional. The best campaigns tend to tug at the heartstrings or cause laughter galore. In one of my previous posts I talked about the sweaters for penguins – everyone wants to help out animals and being able to see what they do for them is key.
  •  Show results. If your campaign is something tangible, like the sweaters for penguins, show the results to people. When people can see what happens with viral marketing they are more likely to support it or at least talk about it, which still helps the message go viral.
  •  Have a point of view. A company should always have a point of view in their marketing campaigns, whether it’s something more serious or more comical doesn’t matter. What does matter is that they carry that point of view and attitude throughout all their campaigns for a cohesiveness that makes it easily recognizable as part of that company.
  •  Keep it simple. In marketing sometimes it’s hard to limit something to the bare bones or the basic idea but when it gets too complicated people don’t stay interested and sometimes aren’t sure of what the message is at the end. Confusing the customer is not a way to sell things or have their initiative go viral.

Now that we have covered what helps to make a marketing campaign go viral, I want to share a viral campaign with you – and yes it involves knitting!

This is a campaign from 2013 with Coke Zero and Ugly Christmas sweaters, if you watch the video it shows how successful they were with their campaign and just how many people they reached.

Bonus: There was another sweater campaign from 2013 in the UK with Budweiser, but it didn’t take off as well compared to the Coke Zero Campaign because the sweaters weren’t customizable even though it was supporting the designated drivers during the holidays.

Knitting Love

knitting love

Everyone who knits knows how relaxing it is and often jokes about how its cheaper than therapy and better than it too. Over the years there has actually been some research done on how crafts – and in particular knitting – helps people similarly to therapy.

Aside from the obvious of knitting being relaxing because you are doing something that you enjoy – there are some real benefits that have been uncovered in research. Knitting is a repetitive motion that helps to calm, center and focus a person much like running can do. When a person does an activity that is repetitive like this they get almost into a meditative state and can achieve a “flow” that helps to further remove them from their troubles.

Hobbies like running help people relax through endorphins and dopamine being released during the activity. A person can train their brain for this feel good mixture to happen more often with things like knitting. This happens through repetitive movements but also with the finished product – having something to show for your efforts and hearing the positive feedback from it not only raises self-esteem but gets the feel good chemicals going. Being in this state lowers anxiety and general stress but it also helps the mind to stay sharp. Doing crafting activities or puzzles can help a person maintain their memories and cognitive processes 30-50% better than those who don’t do anything.

One of my favorite stories about how knitting helps others to heal from their past and struggles is the Knitting Behind Bars program. A friend of mine told me about this a few years ago and the story was amazing that people who believed in the power of knitting and all it can offer would be able to charge in help others out so well.

Knitting has the amazing ability to help you out whether you have something serious going on or need a little pick me up. There is the added benefit having something beautiful at the end but also being able to see your journey in the yarn. Yarn is a beautiful way of telling a story and having others appreciate your work and journey which makes the best of all worlds.

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Differentiation

In the world of knitting and crafting there are two main stores that come to mind – Michael’s and JoAnn Fabrics.

Both of these stores are very active in social media and have great ways of not only sharing new patterns and ideas for crafting but for also keeping in contact with customers.

Some of the sites that JoAnn’s and Michael’s both use are more second nature in thought the process with apps, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and Google+. All of which are used well by both companies and they keep up to date with reaching out to customers and replying back to them with any concerns or issues that they are having. They even answer back and ask for customer to share their completed projects!

micahels

joanns

This shows a level of engagement with the customers that only keeps them interested but makes them more loyal. If it’s one thing that all knitters, crafters and DIY-ers love its being able to share their creativity and get feedback on how it looks or suggestions on how to add something else to it.

Obviously, these stores are competitors of each other but they are known for slightly different things. JoAnn’s is known for the fabric crafts – it’s even part of their name – and Michael’s is more the DIY craft mecca. They have used their social media accounts to their benefit to show off what they are best at and it’s best seen through their YouTube accounts.

Until recently I hadn’t known that either one of these stores had a YouTube Channel – I should have but I had never looked before to see if they did. Anyway, these accounts are great for sharing their ideas!

Michael’s has a whole bunch of holiday craft ideas like the one shown below that really showcase how to put a different spin on things that we already do.

JoAnn’s channel also has a holiday section but more of their videos deal with sewing, knitting, and other fabric crafts instead of the DIY crafts that Michael’s has on their site. JoAnn’s also had videos with Project Runway (which is incredibly smart drawing in on that fan base as well) and customers wishing them a Happy 70th! Here’s a sample of the type of videos that JoAnn’s has – and one that I have been meaning to learn myself!

So no matter if you are more of a crafty DIY person or more into the fabrics and knitting either one of these stores would be ideal for helping out and you should check out their sites for inspiration on your projects because sometimes we all need a little help to get it just right!

Blogging and Tweeting Practices

Before starting this blog – and even picking a topic to write about – I took a look around the internet to see what kind of blogs there were and how they wrote their blogs. Knitting is something that is heavily populated with blogs and useful resources online and creates quite a buzz. It’s the best way to not only stay in touch and learn new things but to also hear the latest news like when the next craft fair will be in town or where the next knitting convention will be held, which makes social media practices very important.

Now I have said before that Knitters love to be social and because of that social media is perfect for them all around. Finding out the best practices with blogging and tweeting to stay in touch is something vital to helping this happen. Writing a blog and using twitter have a lot of similarities in good practice of them:

  • Using a distinctive voice: in both blogging and tweeting having your own distinctive voice makes you recognizable and easier for you to get followers. When you have someone else tweet or update your blog for you it loses that distinctive voice and your followers can easily lose interest in what is being said.
  • Stay current: blogs should be updated regularly just like Twitter – though not as often. Mark Schaefer who wrote The Tao of Twitter recommends that you should tweet three times a day to get the most out of Twitter and to create a good list of followers. Blogs should not be updated that often but they should still be kept up to date and relevant to what is going on with your followers.
  • Show your passion: this might sound like having a distinctive voice but it really is different and for any success in life, especially through social media where others cannot physically see your reactions, its vital. Being able to convey what you’re passionate about is the best way to have people want to come back and see what else you have to say about these topics and you wanting to right about them. So make sure what you decide to write about it something that truly  matters to you.

yarn love

These three guidelines should help you to get started but each blogger and Twitter user needs to find their own pattern for doing this – like any routine that is started in life it’s going to be a little rocky and nerve wrecking at first but one you get the hang out it everything will fall into place and you have a following in no time.

Knitting and the Law

knitting and the law

When someone starts knitting, they don’t think about potential problems that they can encounter with the law. Not to scare to anyone as this is something that doesn’t come up too often and it’s hard to prove but it can happen.

Knitters and designers are artists just like painters and musicians and therefore they have copyright on their patterns. Again not something that is usually a big issue – this really only applies to people who intend to sell the patterns. So you can breathe easy as you look through your patterns for the next project you have in mind.

I’ll be honest, this isn’t something that I had ever really put much thought into before because you have either already paid for a new pattern book or you found it free online. Unfortunately, it is something that needs to be considered if you have a shop – especially on Etsy since it’s well known for all kinds of artists and crafters. So here are some things that you need to know about the law and knitting patterns:

  •  Check the pattern before you use it to see if there are any copyright or trademarks that could be a potential. Trademarks really only come into play with fandom creations like Firefly or Doctor Who but it doesn’t hurt to check.
  • The copyrights can expire – so if you’re using an older pattern then chances are you are ok and won’t have any issues.
  • Finally, copyrights are to protect an exact copy of the pattern – including the type of yarn and color. So if you make any kind of changes to the patterns as you make the project you’re completely fine.

So not that I am saying you should go out there and test the limits but these are things that you should be aware of in the knitting world as a possibility. Whenever I knit something, I almost never follow the pattern exactly because I’m always playing with different yarns for a different texture or changing the edging so that it doesn’t roll in on itself with the yarn I chose. This works out well for me because I am one of many sellers on Etsy and I understand how much it can suck when something goes wrong to this magnitude because all you want to do is share these creations with everyone.

Social media has helped to spur knitting as more trendy and available – and it also means more pictures and sharing of patterns as well. Now I have always seen as a good thing because who doesn’t want to show off their creations and get feedback on how make it better the next time or how to put a little different twist to it? No one. Knitting is actually a very social thing because it’s the perfect thing to do while catching up with people, so it makes sense that when knitters aren’t close together anymore that social media takes their place to share and discuss projects and patterns and why knowing what the limitations are is a very good thing.

Knitting on the Go

One of the most frustrating things that happens to me all the time when I get to a yarn store is trying to remember what I do and don’t have already for my next knitting project – or trying to find just the right yarn for that next knitting project. I feel like this is sometimes a constant struggle when I try out new patterns and can never remember just how much I need or if I really have the right size needles for it to turn out right – and then I just plain get distracted in the store and can’t focus on what I came in for in the first place.

It’s just too difficult not to be distracted.

So one of the things that I have found to be exceptionally helpful is an app called Stash2Go and it is just amazing! Basically it’s having the joys of Raverly right at your fingertips when you are out of the house. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Ravelry allows you to upload your yarn stash, needle collection, save patterns and join groups with other knitters; among other things. I think one of the best parts is being able to keep your yarn stash and needle collection on record so becoming lost and confused in yarn stores doesn’t happen too often.

This app allows you to do everything that the full site does – which makes traveling and taking your knitting with you even easier. All your patterns are right there for easy access and so are all your fellow knitters when you need advice or are confused about how something will turn out.

Here is a video from Stash2Go’s YouTube Channel that shows everything that the app can do in detail for you! Fair warning it is a little on the long side and there is no commentary or other noise with it but, it is definitely worth watching to understand everything with the app and feel more comfortable with it to dive in!

The last thing that I want to mention with this app is that there is a yarn store finder built into the app! That’s right you can search for yarn stores based on how close they are to you or where you are traveling to with this app – which is pure gold; because as every knitter knows, there really isn’t such a thing as too much yarn.

What Knitters Can Achieve

dream knit

For a little inspiration for my fellow knitters or those aspiring to be one!

Social media is a big thing within the knitting world and being able to connect to everyone for help, ideas or getting a business going. One of the biggest forms of social media to help with these is Pinterest. Not only do people share the photos of their creations but once you follow the link you can find patterns and other blogs to come together and be able to ask the questions you need to for a project. Using Pinterest as a starting point for inspiration is perfect but also not the only starting point to look for in social media.

I mentioned this one earlier but it’s worth noting again because one of the best starting points for those learning knitting for the first time or new techniques is YouTube. There are some many knitters out there to help with learning new things and it’s easy to check up on them to learn – I frequently use the YouTube app on my phone to double check something with a pattern when I haven’t done it in awhile or something new like double point needles like in this video.

Facebook is another really great platform for knitters to be able to connect and ask questions because there are so many types of knitting pages out there. Starting with just a plain knitting site to draw people in but there are pages for magazines like Vogue Knitting, or specific types of knitting, like Arm Knitting – which I have always thought was really cool but haven’t gotten around to learning yet. Facebook is also a great way to connect to different causes that knitting helps out with across the world.

One of the things I saw this past summer was all this hype about Penguin Sweaters!

penguins sweatersWhich are made to help Blue Penguins who get stuck in Oil Spills and need to wear the sweaters to avoid ingesting the oil when the preen after they have been washed. They have a call to knitters to help by sending in sweaters for these little guys to wear and stay warm until they are all better. Which they do through their Facebook page and thank those who helped them. This year they had so many donations that they needed to tell knitters everywhere that they were not in dire need of any sweaters at this time and thanking them for all their hard work and concern.

This got me thinking about other ways that knitters help out in the world, and not just the small scale projects done in the communities. I came across  World Vision’s website where they ask knitters to download a pattern for a hat, sweater, or blanket to be sent to those in need. It just goes to show that social media has a spiral effect with everything and can help to promote more companies and organizations than just the one you initially come across.

Social Media Changing the Knitting World

yarn stash

Not to exclude any of the men who knit but this is one of the most accurate yarn memes I have come across about the life of any knitter.

Social media has had a huge impact on projects for knitters, aside from the memes depicting our stockpile for the endless list of projects, it is a great to learn new things, find great patterns and stay connected.

ravelryOne of the best sites that I have come across for knitters to share everything is Ravelry.com – and anyone who has visited it knows why! A site completely dedicated to the ability to share projects and connect with other knitters while also helping to organize future projects to use up that yarn stash that always seems to grow is the perfect helping hand.

Having not only groups and people that you can find, similar to Facebook, helps in staying social and knowing where all the good knitting events will be taking place. One of the best features that I found on the site is the ability to load your yarn stash on the site to help find projects that will be a perfect match for it. When you put a new pattern in queue it allows you assign yarn from the stash you have loaded to make it easier.

The other really great thing about Ravelry is that on your profile page you can have all your other social media sites linked and listed there so that more people can follow you and your projects. No I am little behind on some of the social media bandwagons but this is still the perfect way to keep everything connected and get the most publicity for a company or just feedback from others who have tried the project before or have more experience.

youtubeAnother way for knitters to get help quickly or share with each other is YouTube. This has been my saving grace so many times when learning a new pattern! I sit there reading the pattern and see something like “T4R, P2, SSK, P2, T4L” and think to myself “What is that?!” YouTube is definitely the first place I turn. Knitting is one of those things where just reading or listening to the instructions will not help you if you have never done it before, so this way being able to see how the stitches are done with an explanation is truly great if you do not have someone there to help you.
etsySocial media has helped the world of knitting expand and grow – or at least be more seen by those who aren’t already knitting – a lot more than in the past. It has also been a lot easier for knitters to find a place for their finished projects through sites like Etsy. Etsy is not just a knitting or yarn community, but rather a community for all types of artists or suppliers for artists to sell their goods and finished projects to others. It’s also a way to make a name for yourself more easily in more than one country with the ability to ship internationally and track where people are you have viewed your items. Etsy is connected through other sites like Twitter and Facebook to share projects and “stores” much more quickly and ties in with sites like Ravelry where the site can be listed as well.

These are just a couple of social media sites that have changed the way knitting is viewed and increased the world of knitting. It has also been a social activity to enjoy, talk, and learn from others but now it is something that can be done on the go and internationally with more inspiration just a click away.