The Art Institute InSite Interviews Skybox Creative on how designers can effectively use social media to promote themselves. Read the Q&A below.
1. Why do you use social media platforms?
We utilize social media to build relationships online that we further strengthen offline and vice versa. Say we go to a networking event and meet a few people, we usually try to add them as a friend on our company Facebook or LinkedIn, this allows us to stay in front of them and open up ongoing dialogue. We also search social media sites for companies/people with similar interests, for example being eco-friendly. We will add them as a friend and then post specials for our green printing company, this way the message is more targeted.
2. What is the best way for an artist or designer to use these outlets?
Well, a lot of the sites are interwoven now, so it’s important to do a little research and make a list of things to do/profiles to set up/link together. For example, Behance.net allows you to display your portfolio on LinkedIn.com, that’s huge. LinkedIn is still the top Professional social media site, so to be able to have your portfolio displayed on your profile is huge. LinkedIn also offers the option to share your updates on Twitter, we linked this feature, now we primarily use LinkedIn and it will automatically keep our Twitter up-to-date. There are a ton of portfolio sites, like CarbonMade.com, Behance.net, Coroflot.com, etc. I think a designer looking for work should be on all of the top portfolio sites and actively add friends, get involved in discussions, join groups, etc.
Another smart thing to remember is that “to give is to receive”, its a good idea to give recommendations to people you know on LinkedIn, then you can ask for the same in return. Or help a friend get introduced to someone via LinkedIn, these kind of selfless actions can really help in building relationships and helping you get more recognition for yourself. Also when posting updates and links on Facebook for example, try to offer an idea or resource that will help others instead of only being focused on your work.
3. How has Facebook and other social media outlets affected your business?
It has helped keep us in the forefront of people’s minds. Whether they are a potential client or not, if they are thinking about us, they tend to refer their friends and clients to us when they mention “web design” or “cost effective printing”. We host a lot of networking mixers and this has been a great way to promote the events as well.
4. Are there certain social media musts for artists and designers or does it depend on the individual?
I think you should pick a few and focus on them. It’s very easy to become overwhelmed with social media because it can really be a full time job. As technology moves, more and more sites will pop up too, so it’s important to try to watch the trends. Sites like Mashable.com help keep you up on the latest trends. There are sites like Ping.fm that allow you to update several profiles at once and other applications like Tweetdeck.com that allow you to streamline the Twitter process, schedule tweets and sort your contacts into groups. One thing we’ve done several times is submit our designs to the Designer Spotlight on iStock. If you used an image from their site in a design, you can submit the artwork. If they accept the design, you get free iStock credit, but more importantly it is a form of recognition you can use to help promote yourself (as profile updates, blog posts, etc.)
5. Any tips and tricks for successfully using social media for art/design work?
Networking is key to success online and offline. Sites like Meetup.com have great niche groups like “Web Design San Diego”, I would recommend finding groups that have similar interests and attend an event or two each month. Even if you are surrounded by your peers, you might be surprised by how many clients you can get from it. We’ve gotten quite a few clients from web design meetups. Not only can you learn from your peers but since people typically have a specialty, they often need good referral sources for everything they don’t do (and are asked for all the time).