Editor’s Note: This article expands on Roberto Blake’s 2016 HOW Design Live session on creative self-promotion and social media marketing. Watch the full video of his session at the end of this article.
The 4 C’s of Social Media and Marketing for Creatives
Creative Presentation and Approach
Originality isn’t always about doing something entirely different or unique. Sometimes it comes down to your approach or they way you present things. Given the same brief and information, a dozen creatives will produce different results.
Everything is up for interpretation, and everyone has a unique perspective to offer. Instead of worrying about saturation, worry about authenticity and representing your style. Focus on reaching the people with whom your work will resonate
People worry about over-sharing in social media, but they also feel overwhelmed by the prospect of consistently posting on multiple platforms.
If you are providing true value and it is something you can sustain, you’re not over sharing. As for being overwhelmed, that’s a matter of finding a practical execution for your content strategy.
If you’re a graphic designer, a practical and sustainable approach would be posting a case study about a project you worked on, either for a client or a piece of personal work. You could also break down the process and post weekly behind-the-scenes images on Facebook or Instagram, or record it for YouTube using Screenflow or similar software.
Consistency is also about your message and tone. Visual consistency is about presentation and style. We connect with messaging that is familiar, which is where repetition can serve you without being boring or stale. Apple is a good example: Just try getting someone to switch from an Apple device to a different brand…
If there’s one I would stress most to anyone marketing themselves, a company or a product, it would be to have a healthy respect for context.
We often generalize and categorize because it is convenient. In communication this can be considered lazy and thoughtless. Be as specific as possible in your communication, brief isn’t necessarily better.
I like to say “clear trumps clever.” It’s an easy way to prioritize communication: Were you clear, or were you too busy trying to be clever?
Context can come down to audience, timing or how the information is being delivered. Sometimes people try to cheat at getting out content in multimedia by simply ripping the audio out of a video and calling that a podcast or transcribing audio and video and calling that an article. The problem is that content should be intended to be consumed in a specific way, and it may not always adapt well for audience consuming it in another format. Visual cues and expressions change the tone of a video in a way that readers or listeners won’t be able to interpret. They are losing context.
As inconvenient as it is, expanding on a short video and going into more detail on an audi- only podcast makes more sense. Taking bullet points and notes and creating resource links to build an article around that is going to create more value for readers than a simple transcription.
Each social media platform also has its own context. Take the time learn the context of the platforms you deliver content in.
Too often, people will make content for the sake of making content. There isn’t an intent or purpose behind it beyond checking off a task in a box or “showing up.” While goal completion and showing up do matter, they matter more when aligned to a specific goal, such as triggering a conversation with the right type of person.
Let’s assume you are a logo designer, and you wanted to attract more clients. Creating content like “How to Choose a Logo Designer” is in your best interest and will likely bring you at least a few inquiries for projects. However, a piece of content like “Top 5 Famous Logo Designers” is more likely to attract other designers. If that was your goal or you want to show how knowledgable you are, that is perfectly fine.
Ask yourself whom you want to connect with, where you want that conversation to go, and what content can lead you to one another.
There is clearly more to social media and marketing than I can concisely put into this article or even a 45-minute speaking engagement, but this is a good foundation for a marketing mindset. Focus on the upfront value you can deliver on through your content and how that aligns in the long and short term to your goals.
Remember that you have the advantages that come with being a creator and that you already know the process for turning “thoughts into actual things”. This is a skill that will always be in demand and has never been more valuable.
See Roberto Blake’s full HOW Design Live session here:
Learn more in Roberto’s online workshop, Leveraging Social Media as a Designer.