How an Athens, Georgia Solopreneur Gets 200% Facebook Reach [CASE STUDY]

Marybeth Tawfik had a career as a photographer and an engineer, but her real passion is quilting.   She’s lived all over the world, including Asia and Europe, and she’s won European awards for her longarm quilting.

She returned to her Athens, Georgia hometown and turned her passion into Cambridge Lane Studios, a local longarm quilting business.  She rents space in the artsy Chase Street Warehouse district and collaborates with a University of Georgia (UGA) art professor for a line of custom pillows.

But when it came to marketing, Marybeth wasn’t quite as inspired. She was unsure what the best social network was for her business:  would it be Facebook, Pinterest, or what about Google+?  She had a clean, beautifully designed website:  did she really need a blog too?

The sheer volume of online marketing choices and the work involved in them was overwhelming for this solopreneur to wade through:  which one would offer the best results for promoting her business?

After some initial experimentation, Marybeth found Facebook to be the highest-performing social network for Cambridge Lane, and her results are nothing short of incredible — 200% Fan Reach

Compare that to the 17% reach for the average Facebook page, and Marybeth gets almost 10x that — making her a social media phenomenon.

How’d she do it?  Think you need a huge fan base to get awesome results?

Read on for details, including screenshots, stats, and how you can apply her tactics to your own Facebook page.

Cambridge Lane Studios By the Numbers

  • Facebook Page:  established 2011
  • Page Likes:  155
  • Highest Post Reach:  315
  • Most Viral Post:  50% (avg virality for a FB post is 1.92%)

While Cambridge Lane Studio has a small number of fans, they’re highly interested in Marybeth’s longarm quilting, so they are far more valuable than a fan base of thousands who have no interest in her products.

Her concentrated fan base also contradicts the notion that you need a huge fan count to get results on Facebook.

How Marybeth Did It

Marybeth will be the first to admit she doesn’t have a marketing background, nor does she really enjoy promoting herself.  She views her Facebook page as a true community, listens to her fans, and posts what interests both herself and her audience.

It’s All About the Photos

Marybeth is an excellent photographer and she takes a lot of photos of her client’s quilts, both in progress and finished.  In effect, she’s offering the most popular part of any quilt guild meeting:  show and tell, done online on her Facebook page:

Photos get the highest engagement of any post on Facebook.

Give Your Fans Their 15 Minutes

The beauty behind what Marybeth does as a longarm quilter is her work is a collaboration:  she finishes the quilt top that her clients have lovingly made over weeks, months, and sometimes years.  Every quilt has a story, and each quilter (or quilt owner) wants to show off their finished quilt.  By sharing photos, Marybeth brags a bit about her clients.  Their friends, family, and quilt guild members get to see the beautiful quilts right on Facebook, and prospective customers get to see her work.

Asking for opinions gets more engagement, Likes, and Shares.

Marybeth also asks her fans’ opinions about the quilt photos she shares, and they love giving their replies.

 Listen. Then Educate

Are you listening to your clients?  What are their biggest questions?  Answer them publicly on Facebook.  This tactic gets huge responses from Marybeth’s fan base, especially about hot topics like pricing:

Link to a helpful resource, tie it to fan questions, and ask for opinions.

The Path to 50% Virality

What is virality on Facebook, exactly?  It’s the percentage of fans who have interacted with your post (Likes, Comments, Shares) divided by the number of fans who actually saw it.  So if you have 300 people see a post, 50% virality means 150 people interacted with it.

The average post virality is 1.92%.  It’s not easy to get people to interact with your posts, as Facebook is a noisy place.  It’s like trying to be heard on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

But Marybeth does it.  Her highest post virality is 50%, an astounding achievement:

Virality is critical for your fans to continue seeing your posts in their NewsFeed.

Notice the top 6 posts on Cambridge Lane’s page are all above 10% virality:

How Can You Get Similar Results?

First, realize that quilting is a social & visual business.  That makes getting engagement somewhat easier, as Marybeth does have a visual product to start with, and one that gathers women & men together in social communities to quilt, share, and learn in quilting guilds and bees.

If your business isn’t visible or social, don’t let that stop you.  In last month’s Visual Social Media bonus webinar, I profiled multiple brands overcoming this obstacle, including Waste Management, Southwest Airlines, and others.  If they did it, you can too.

Here are the key tactics for Cambridge Lane Studios that you can learn from:

  • Take photos.  Every post Marybeth does includes a photo.  Use your iPhone to take compelling photos & videos.  Refer to the Visual Social Media bonus webinar for detailed examples and tactics.
  • Show off your client’s work.  Give them their 15 minutes of fame.
  • Ask for your fans’ opinions
  • Listen to your clients, your fans, and refer them to excellent resources.
  • Did I mention photos?  Yes, it’s really THAT important!

If you enjoyed this case study, let me hear from you in the Forum!  And look for more case studies soon, including one small business owner who got 800 new fans in one week!


Maria Peagler is the founder of Maria Peagler Digital, a serial entrepreneur, and award-winning author/publisher of nine books. She is an award-winning artist in both watercolor and quilting. She is married to her husband of 30 years, mom to two adult sons, and enjoys hiking in the north Georgia mountains.

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