Social media can feel intimidating for creatives, especially as the list of responsibilities assigned to the average designers grows. However, social media can provide great opportunities for designer if it’s used effectively. Today’s employers and clients tend to search the social media profiles of potential candidates, in addition to their portfolios and resume.
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Taking full advantage of your presence on the web could easily mean the difference between being memorable and landing an opportunity, or just being another name in the stack. These are some of the most powerful platforms for designers to build a social media presence on:
Facebook Strategy for Designers:
These days, Facebook users tend to be an older demographic. It is also the platform where most adult users spend their time, particularly those who could be your prospective employers or clients.
As a designer, your public Facebook profile should show you talking about things related to design and the design industry. It could be useful to have your own Facebook Brand Page showcasing your work and sharing design articles and resources and your thoughts on the industry, as well as self-initiated work that may not be in your portfolio.
This strategy helps establish your credibility and passion for your career when employers, clients and recruiters perform a search about you in social media. Consider posting a short Facebook Video as a “pinned post” at the top of your page introducing yourself and why you started a career in design, to help show off your personality and friendliness.
LinkedIn Strategy for Designers:
For career professionals, LinkedIn is a powerful social network and a source for those seeking to hire new employees are vendors. Designers often underestimate LinkedIn and write it off as stale when compared to platforms that play to their strengths, like Instagram and Pinterest. But underestimating LinkedIn is a huge mistake. In addition to being the online equivalent of a resume, it gives you an opportunity creatively to take advantage of multimedia and design in ways few other platforms offer.
LinkedIn recommendations go a long way towards building credibility, but LinkedIn Media posts under your job experiences allow you to post images and videos as well. Consider having clients or previous employers who have recommended you provide you with a video testimonial and post this in the section under that position. This is very impressive and something very few people take advantage of.
If you can take advantage of video testimonials, then consider posting images of the projects you worked on in that position. This will help you be more memorable than everyone who is simply posting a wall of text, highlighting their accomplishments.
You can also make presentation decks of your work via Slideshare, which is also owned by LinkedIn and integrates directly with your profile. This is perfect for showing off your PDF portfolio and making it accessible to employers, clients and recruiters.
Dig in further in Roberto Blake’s HOW Design University workshop, Leveraging Social Media as a Designer.
Twitter Strategy for Designers:
There are few social media platforms that provide you direct access to nearly anyone in the world. Twitter is still a very strong platform for building relationships, getting attention and engaging with people directly. What most people don’t realize is that is also a great listening and research platform.
When applying to a job, you can find out a lot about a company, its employees and its leadership via its individual or corporate Twitter profiles. Interact with their posts, share them and also ask questions. This can go a long way towards building a relationship and avoiding “cold calling” or “cold emailing” when you apply to work with them.
Instagram Strategy for Designers:
While many designers are using Instagram to showcase their work, there’s more to a strategic approach than just sharing snapshots of your work. If you’re a designer primary interested in attracting local clients or local companies, then taking advantage of geo-tagging your post is critical. If their are specific individuals or brands that you want to gain the attention of, commenting their post and tagging them is a good way to grab their attention and build rapport.
The other facet of Instagram overlooked by many creative professionals is its video sharing functionality. With a quick video you can showcase a time-lapse of a creative project, or provide some quick commentary on a piece from your portfolio. Instagram video tends to get more attention and engagement that static images.
Periscope Strategy for Designers
Live streaming is something that has come more into mainstream awareness over the past year, largely due to the mobile live streaming app Periscope. Using your Twitter profile, you can create a Periscope account and turn your smartphone into a broadcasting platform with just a few clicks.
For designers, it’s a great opportunity for the community to get to know the person behind the work and even to show off some of your abilities in real time. This strategy is great for reducing the anxiety of working with a stranger and making a real human connection. You can show the behind-the-scenes work of a project, arrange a Q&A session or offer advice to potential clients about what it’s like working with you.
YouTube Strategy for Designers:
There are several ways to take advantage of video marketing for any profession and to show off the quality of your work. YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, and the largest video content network in the world.
If an employer or client is interested in hiring you, it’s helpful for them to see your creative process in action. You may have before-and-after images in your portfolio, but a static image doesn’t have the same impact as a time-lapse video breaking it down in 2-5 minutes. Having these videos available to show clients or employers can often help eliminate some of the anxiety they might have of working with someone new or eliminate their desire to have you do a “test project.”
Social Media is Just Another Tool
Any tool you’re unfamiliar with can be intimidating. Designers are more comfortable helping produce materials to market their clients, not themselves. The evolution of social media reflects the evolution of the design industry, and those who embrace it will find themselves with more opportunities, in much the same way as those who moved from “paste-up” artwork to digital print production. Social media can allow you to showcase your work to the people who need your skills or provide you with valuable insight into who you may be working with.