The Best Social Media Platforms for Your Design Career

It would seem obvious that best social media platforms for designers and visual artist would be platforms that play to their strengths. Most designers would assume that Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat are the only platforms they should focus on, since the content on those platforms are visual in the form of images and photos. And if they are only interested in people seeing and engaging with their images or building popularity around their artwork, then they might be right.

But let’s assume you want to accomplish one or more of these goals:

  • Get hired for a full-time creative position
  • Find new clients or customers for yourself
  • Have your work featured in publications
  • Potentially sell your artwork or design based products
  • Grow your email list
  • Collaborate with other creative professionals
  • Build credibility and authority in your industry
  • Gain the attention of job recruiters

If you’re trying to accomplish any of these objectives, then odds are that Snapchat and Instagram alone aren’t going to get the job done (it’s not impossible, though, just less likely). It is not about preferences or liking a platform; it’s about engaging with a platform that not only plays to your strengths, but also aligns with your goals and the needs of the people you want to reach.

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image from Shutterstock

When Creative Directors and Art Directors are looking for new talent, they aren’t necessarily hunting it down via social media. However, if you can get their attention or reach them directly in a meaningful way, it could lead to many opportunities.

Twitter and the Power of Direct Engagement

It’s rare that the head of an agency or Chief Marketing Officer doesn’t have a Twitter account that they are utilizing. Twitter is still a very conversational platform, and in many cases, it’s the fastest way to get someone’s attention. While LinkedIn is the professional platform of choice for business and networking, its not as accessible, and even those who use the platform don’t always monitor their account regularly. Twitter allows you to directly engage with just about anyone in the world.

This doesn’t mean you should look up an Art Director and immediately tweet them a link to your portfolio. You should first look at what they are tweeting about and seek to understand more about them, the company and the work they do. You can use this information to begin meaningful engagement. When you decide to reach out them about an opportunity, it won’t be out of the blue, and you have a better chance of it leading somewhere.

Facebook Groups and Collaboration

Facebook may not be the newest and shiniest social media platform, but when it comes to business, it can be even more powerful than LinkedIn. Facebook is where the adults (30+) of the internet are spending more time than any other social media platform. It is also the platform they go to when they want feedback or advice.

The multimedia capabilities are nearly unlimited at this point, but there is an overlooked feature that many designers are not taking advantage of, Facebook Groups. Instead of worrying about getting likes for your Facebook fan page, or posting images for your portfolio (still not a bad idea), you could be networking in established Facebook groups or start one of your own.

If you want to get advice and feedback on your work or find other creatives to collaborate with, then Facebook design groups are your best friend. If you want to find potential clients or opportunities, then Facebook business and marketing groups—even groups for local small businesses—are great options to explore. Facebook groups tend to be highly engaged and conversational, which makes participation a great networking opportunity if you don’t have the resources to attend live conferences that require travel.

Social media isn’t just about promoting yourself or pushing your content, more than anything it’s about communication and building relationships. If there is any platform you can use to accomplish that goal, it is certainly Facebook.

LinkedIn is more than an online resume

Most people use Linkedin as a combination Resume and Rolodex but ignore the fact that it’s also a publishing and media platform. Designers can take advantage of this in a variety of ways. For one, most designers don’t realize they can upload images and video directly to their profile. Doing this helps them stand out from the crowd of unattractive profiles that are just a wall of text.
LinkedIn also owns Slideshare, which is a great place to post presentations, portfolios and infographics to get attention from potential employers, recruiters or clients.

Dig deeper in Roberto Blake’s HOW Design University workshop, Leveraging Social Media as a Designer, and hear him speak at HOW Design Live.

So What Is the Best Social Network For Designers and Creatives?

The truth is there is no “best” overall network for designers and creative professionals. For some, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest or even YouTube is the best platform for them to use—and using these in combination with the platforms listed above is a great way to showcase your work. The most important part of your social media strategy is to identify your goals and use each platform as a tool for accomplish them.

There are benefits to each platform and creative ways they can be used to connect with clients or employers, grow your brand or connect with other creatives. Mapping your social media activities, content, and your online brand presence to align with your goals and objectives is the key. We should be asking ourselves: “What am I trying to accomplish, and how does this platform help me do it?”


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