Social media can be an effective personal branding tool for creative professionals, but only if used properly. Launch into it without deliberate intent or forethought of its consequences, and you could find yourself with an ineffective or, worse, a negative online presence that jeopardizes your current job search or position, and future career prospects. To avoid that unfortunate fate, here are eight social media tips for creative professionals.
1. Do use LinkedIn. Although not as flashy as some other social media platforms, LinkedIn is where many recruiters and human resources managers go to find talent. To get noticed:
- Upload a flattering headshot
- Write a catchy and persuasive summary
- Use plenty of relevant keywords, such as “user experience” “HTML” and “CSS” (as long as they accurately describe your abilities, of course)
- Add links to your best media: PDFs, videos, websites, etc.
2. Do explore other social media platforms. The best social media sites for your professional brand vary by position. If you’re a graphic designer or photographer, for example, consider joining Instagram. Web designers can position themselves as industry experts by creating a YouTube channel and uploading tutorials and tips. You can also livestream via Periscope to give followers a behind-the-scenes look of your creative process.
3. Do curate your content. Make sure everything you publish online supports your career goals. Want to attract cutting-edge companies? Don’t clutter your profile with designs from your more conservative clients. Instead, show a mix of work that appeals to a diverse audience. Looking to attract legal and financial firms? Don’t post risqué projects. As with a digital portfolio, only put your best and most recent work on social media platforms.
4. Do make your page attractive to visitors. A compelling visual look should come naturally for designers, but some do a surprisingly ho-hum job with their Facebook cover photo, Twitter header photo and other aspects of their online profiles. If you’re serious about branding yourself using social media, it goes without saying that images should be of high quality. Retweets and shares should also be consistent with the image you want to project.
1. Don’t be invisible. Because of privacy concerns, more people are using pseudonyms or deleting social media accounts altogether. As a creative professional in a field that relies on visuals and accessible, fresh work samples, your virtual presence is paramount to your success. If you can’t be found online, potential clients or employers may not reach out to you. At a bare minimum, have a complete LinkedIn profile.
2. Don’t overshare. While it’s fine to occasionally post baby or high school photos on Throwback Thursday, avoid publishing anything that connotes indiscretion, including negative commentary about current or past employers and clients. You never know who might see the content.
3. Don’t “set and forget” your settings. Social media platforms are notorious for tweaking privacy settings. Put a reminder on your calendar to regularly review profiles so the public presentation is appropriate for all audiences.
4. Don’t abuse hashtags. You probably have at least one friend who goes overboard with hashtags, which can be hard to read and annoying. Random, vague or excessive use can hamper your credibility, so stick to just a few on Twitter and a handful on Instagram.
In a competitive creative job market, don’t raise red flags with potential employers or clients by committing easily avoidable social media mistakes. Instead, tip the scales in your favor by building and maintaining a polished online presence.
Online Course: Using Social Media as a Business Tool
with Paul Boag
Signing up for a social network like Twitter or Facebook is easy. Getting the most from these platforms is hard. That is where this course will help. Whether you have a product to promote or you wish to build your personal brand, social media is a key marketing tool. This course will teach you how to engage with your audience through relevant content and discussion. It will turn your social media feed from a list of dull press releases or pointless personal updates into a thriving community. It will teach you how to manage many social networks. It will explain the difference between platforms and the roles they perform. It will also introduce you to various tools to make the management of social media easier. Learn more and register.