If you thought that becoming a graphic designer was hard work, wait until you have to compete daily with thousands of designers for the same projects. The competition between designers today is fierce, thus they utilize different mediums to promote themselves and make themselves more marketable. One medium is social media.
Over the last decade, social media has emerged as the go-to tool to promote any business, product or brand. Designers, like other craftsmen, use it to establish their online presence in order to appear reputable and professional. Let’s talk about a few social media mediums that are a must for any new or experienced designer.
LinkedIn – Where all the Pros hang out
This should be the first platform graphic designers turn to. Over the years, LinkedIn has become an online place where both employers and job seekers alike can interact. It has interactive features that will make your profile stand out. But that’s not all. LinkedIn also allows people to interact with other members and gives them an opportunity to contribute.
- Join LinkedIn Groups. This is where members can get involved and participate in discussions, sharing their knowledge and experience about a particular subject or query.
- There are dozens of LinkedIn Applications that can help designers gain prominence. Apps like the Creative Portfolio Display allow designers to showcase their work online.
- LinkedIn Answers is another useful tool. Go to the search bar at LinkedIn and select “Answers” from the drop down menu. This will bring you to an entire database of questions currently being asked by other members. Provide competent answers to questions being asked to help gain reputation.
Update your LinkedIn profile and customize it. Remember that LinkedIn profiles get indexed and ranked in search engines. People searching for your expertise, professional experience and services can easily come across your profile if it is properly customized. You can also ask for recommendations from clients, colleagues and bosses to post to your profile and strengthening it. This helps provide great business and career opportunities.
Twitter – Tweet like a Professional
With over 500 million subscribed users, Twitter has established itself as a popular platform to share information and interact with the world. While there are millions of tweets going out every day, many people don’t utilize Twitter’s search function to the fullest. It is one of the best places for designers to look for work, analyze existing work, and explore future opportunities.
- Personalize your Twitter profile. You can add a simple description about yourself, adding your expertise or get a little creative with words. You can also add a link to your blog, website or online portfolio to be viewed.
- Follow & be followed. Use Twitter’s search feature and look for those in your industry. Follow people you like the work or follower base of. Follow back the interesting people who follow you and invite relevant people to follow you. Remember to balance the ratio of followers and following. Don’t go overboard at once and start following 200 people while you only have <50 followers.
- Understand the dynamics of Twitter. Learn how to build a fan following before you start using this social tool instead of just spamming other people. Engage in conversations and Re-tweet often.
- Post relevant information & comment on other people’s tweets. This will help to start a discussion or ask a question. Twitter is a great way to interact with the international community in real time. You not only get to learn a lot, teach others and even get great employment opportunities.
Aside from employment opportunities, designers can use the search box to promote their work by putting themselves in the user’s place. By sharing design portfolios using a hash tag for related terms like #web design, #info graphics, #logo design. You can promote work on Twitter and establish yourself as the go-to source for graphic design.
Google+ – Socialize and Interact
Even though Google+ is a long way from its arch-rival Facebook in terms of active subscribers, it holds a distinct advantage of being the product of the leading search engine. Recent updates to the Google Search Algorithm now make the use of social signals from Google+, making it more valuable when it comes to people finding you. Apart from SEO, Google+ allows users to create social circles of varying nature. Graphic designers can use this feature to keep in touch with leading experts in the field and even previous clients.
- Add a cover photo on your profile page that features your work. It will attract followers and business contacts; it’s an easy way to show off your design skills.
- Share images and videos via Google+. Create a portfolio of your work within your profile.
- Create a write-up for the about section. Promote yourself by providing links to your website, blog or online portfolio. Market yourself but be sure to not boast untruthfully or sell yourself short. Add your expertise, milestones and reach out to other people. Participate in discussions and comment honestly on other people’s posts.
Google+ is great to help you rank in the searches. This is another platform other than LinkedIn that you can use to promote yourself, find recognition and career opportunities.
Pinterest – Pin what interests you!
One of the most exciting trends to unfold during the last few years is the amazing success of Pinterest, a highly innovative and unique way of sharing content. The last year has been extremely successful for the company and in a recent survey, it overtook Facebook as the most preferred and likable social platform in 2012.
- Create your own set of pin boards and categorize them accordingly. This is a great place to find inspiration and see other creative artwork.
- Pin stuff you like for inspiration so you can come back to view it later. You can even create a board to act as your own portfolio.
- Re-pin items from other people’s boards and follow people or specific boards of interest.
- Link your Pinterest account to your Facebook or Twitter page. This is great if you have a strong profile and would like to show-off your work on other platforms.
Pinterest is different from other platforms in the sense that it puts images and visuals in the spotlight, instead of written content. This is a win-win scenario for graphic designers and a perfect opportunity to show off their portfolio. If you are not on Pinterest now, you should be!
Remember a graphic designer’s success in today’s world depends not only on skill, but on how reachable he/she is. Social media platforms are a great way for designers to promote themselves. With more and more people now looking to the internet to reach others, it is absolutely necessary for graphic designers to ensure they a have rock solid web presence.