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Hip in Detroit’s Sadie Quagliotto Shares Local Love, Social Media Savvy

Hip in Detroit’s Sadie Quagliotto Shares Local Love, Social Media Savvy

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Feb. 21, 2021)

Ferndale, MI – Sometimes you see her; most times you don’t.  But if you’re in the metro Detroit area and you’re on Facebook, there’s a good chance that you’re seeing something posted by Sadie Quagliotto on behalf of a social media client.

With a catalog of clients that includes Planet Ant, Brand Labs, Downtown Ferndale, r.collective salon and more, Quagliotto’s earned her reputation for social media savvy.  Recently she even celebrated an international win, having her food photography featured in Food Network Magazine.  It was a shot of a plant-based Reuben sandwich made with jackfruit at Old Shillelagh in Detroit. 

Oakland County Times met virtually with Quagliotto to talk about her love of social media, and ways that other people can do theirs better, as well as about her online zine called Hip in Detroit.

She explained that every client is different.  While some social media consultants have set packages with a formulaic approach, Quagliotto looks at the needs of each client and what they are trying to accomplish.

People who don’t understand social media think that numbers are the goal.  “Finding numbers is a weird thing.  If that’s your goal there are plenty of people out there that will do that for you,” she said.  “But if you want people to like you that will help your business, that’s different.”

For example, “If a client has 10,000 likes, but only 5,000 of them are in the area and likely to come visit, then that’s not a good job.”  Quagliotto explained that Facebook only shows a post to a small percentage of users.  If those users don’t engage, then Facebook’s program won’t run the post as much as if there is initial engagement. “You need real eyes, and real interaction,” she said.

So while others are racking up the like count, she is more likely to be scrubbing away – deleting spammers, bots, and people who aren’t in the target audience.

But it’s not just about reaching the right number of initial responders, there’s also the skill of knowing what to post and when.

“What works for social media is if you’re using it like a real person,” Quagliotto said. “That’s what they want.  They want to keep you there. That’s how they make money.”

Another common mistake is trying to follow trends.  “What’s popular doesn’t work for everybody, and by the time its popular, it’s too late,” she said.  Memes featuring Bernie Sanders wearing mittens were a good example.  People online were cropping Sanders’ picture into all kinds of backgrounds.  Even businesses were getting in the act, sharing scenes from their shops and restaurants with him added in.

But it wasn’t long before people were sick of the meme and letting their attention be led elsewhere.  “If you weren’t making Bernie memes that first day, you were already too late.”

The last big mistake is spending money on Facebook ads, especially if it’s done haphazardly.  “Unless you have a lot of money, putting money into social media is useless,” Quagliotto said.  “It’s a better investment to hire someone to create a post that works organically.  You need someone who can tell your story in a way that people notice.”

“One example was the year I spent with The Rust Belt Market,” she said.  “We didn’t spend $1 in FB advertising, instead I crafted a story that attracted people and connected them with the artists.  We were able to get 10000 organic followers in less than a year without investing any money into ads! This is proof that content is king!”

The team at Downtown Ferndale is digging her work too.  “Sadie has been a gift to the Ferndale DDA. She started with us at the beginning of the pandemic, and we’ve seen our engagement increase every week,” said DDA Director Lena Stevens.   “She is a true professional who cares about this community and wants to help promote our businesses in any way she can. I personally can’t wait to get a cocktail with her this summer!”

Quagliotto is also the creator of Hip in Detroit, a website focused on local bands, restaurants, and other fun things that she and co-creator/BFF Christie Laabs want to help promote.

“Christie is my oldest/longest friend,” Quagliotto said.  “We met when we were 12 years old in science class. She was wearing the same Vans as me and I said ‘nice shoes, do you like music?’ We have been friends ever since. “She is my polar opposite in every way and the only person that I could ever do the blog with because we balance each other out. She is really good behind the camera and I love to be in front of the camera. She films and edits all our videos and handles the technical side of things. When we host our podcast she sets up all the sounds and records and edits the whole thing on her own and she can do it quickly. She is really smart, she works hard and she is loyal as can be. I ‘m so lucky to have her friendship.”

The blog helped launch Quagliotto’s social media career, enabling her to start her own business after ten years of doing social work for a major hospital system.  While her heart was set on helping people, her days were dragged down by the bureaucracy.

“Hip in Detroit was what I did at night in order to keep going,” she said.  “I’d work all day then come home to do this just to forget about my day.”

Following her heart was a great decision, and while there is joy from social media consulting, Hip in Detroit remains an important part of the mix.  It is her place to be herself.

“I have to talk in everybody else’s voice all the time,” she said.  “It’s really fun to have one thing that’s in my own voice.”

“My favorite article from last year was our Shop Local or Die feature because it helped local businesses,” she said. “I love to support local people and this is the best way that I can do it!”

Check out Quagliotto’s consulting service at and her blog at

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