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How to Make the Most Out of Social Media as a Designer

19 October 2017
Freelance Survival

How to Make the Most Out of Social Media as a Designer

Social media can be a bit of a nightmare. For some, managing just one social platform is complicated enough, never mind managing multiple platforms and figuring out a strategy for each one.

We’ve tried to make things easier for you by gathering all of the best practices for each social media channel and presenting them to you here. We’ve used Coschedule’s very helpful infographic to discern what types of post work best, how many characters a post should include for optimal engagement, and how many hashtags and emojis to use.

We also did some research to find out how you could best take advantage of each platform’s unique features and use them to build your design business.

Facebook

  • Links to interesting articles > images > text posts
  • 111 characters
  • No hashtags
  • 1 emoji

Facebook can be a brilliant tool for gaining exposure for your business and building up a following. Set up a Facebook Business Page for your company and input all the necessary details about opening times, location etc., so that when people search for you, they can easily find all of the important information.

You can then invite your existing customers (and friends and family) to like the page and get your following off to a good start. When inviting people to like your page, don’t just send them a generic invitation that comes to them as a notification – send a personalised, direct message that is much harder to ignore.

As well as asking for current clients to like your page, you can add a ‘review’ tab and ask for testimonials, too. Make sure your page category is set to ‘local business’ in your page settings, then go to ‘Edit Page’ and select the ‘Add a Tab’ button.

Finally, Facebook also lets you add a Call to Action button at the top of your page so that visitors can easily head to your website/book a consultation/contact you – whatever you want new customers to do.

Twitter

  • Images > text posts > links to interesting articles
  • 103 characters
  • 2 hashtags
  • 1 emoji

With a limit of only 140 characters per post, Twitter is not the place for lengthy, informative posts. It is, however, the place for engaging with your client base and with thought-leaders in your industry. Possibly due to the character limit, tweets tend to be more conversational in tone than posts on other social media platforms. If you want to build a following on Twitter, you need to get involved in these conversations.

Twitter chats are a fantastic tool for keeping up with current trends and news within your field. If you can find one that you can regularly contribute to, you’ll find yourself amongst other designers with whom you can debate or gain inspiration from.

Keep on top of developments in your industry or competitor activity by creating lists. A Twitter list allows you to keep posts from a specific collection of accounts that you follow in one place – for example, all thought-leaders you’ve identified within your field. Then, the next time you’re looking to find out what’s going on in the world of design, you can filter out everybody else’s unimportant tweets and just see the ones that matter to you.

LinkedIn

  • Links to interesting articles > text posts > images
  • 149 characters
  • No hashtags
  • No emojis

If you’re looking to network and find new clients, LinkedIn is the channel for you. You can easily ask existing clients to endorse you for certain skills as well as leave you video testimonials to accompany projects listed in your profile.

LinkedIn is also a great place for establishing yourself as an expert. You can share interesting articles with insightful comments to accompany them. Plus, you can join Groups dedicated to design-related conversations so that you can get involved, contribute and learn from other designers like yourself.

You could also think about posting things natively on LinkedIn. Infographics do very well, as do Slideshare presentations. You could share samples of your portfolio with slides on any development sketches you did, any comments you have about the piece, and, of course, a final picture once a project is complete.

Google+

  • Links to interesting articles> images > text posts
  • 65 characters is best (long posts of 502 characters also do well)
  • 3 hashtags
  • 1 emoji

Often underestimated, Google+ is another useful platform for networking with small businesses and marketers that might be in need of your design work.

With Google+, you can create social circles, much like we do in real life, so that you can tailor your communication with followers according to which group they’re in. For example, you might want to create a circle for followers who are clients, a circle for competitors, and a circle for industry thought-leaders.

Google+ also uses ‘sparks’ to tailor your newsfeed to be as relevant to your interests as possible. If you set your sparks to show that you’re interested in design-related topics, you should receive all the latest news from your industry.

Instagram

  • Images > videos
  • 241 characters
  • 11 hashtags
  • 3 emojis

Being a visual-based form of social media, Instagram can be very useful to designers. While it’s not the best platform for expanding your client base, Instagram is useful for keeping current clients up to date with your activities and building up a fan base.

You use your profile to create a kind of ever-growing portfolio where all your projects are displayed and then you can choose the best ones to feature in your actual portfolio. Include comments on your posts to explain the process or the inspiration behind projects. Or, you could post time-lapse videos of you completing a project from start to finish – such as a new logo design.

Don’t forget to make use of your hashtag quota. You’re actually allowed up to 30 hashtags per post although research shows that optimal engagement comes from only having 11 hashtags. Try and include a selection of popular hashtags as well as some more obscure ones – search them beforehand to see which would apply best to your post.

Pinterest

  • Images > links to interesting articles
  • 215 characters
  • Hashtags?
  • No emojis

Finally, we come to Pinterest. Now, you can go about Pinterest in one or two ways. Either you can use it for personal means as a source of inspiration, or you can use it to develop a following.

As with any social media platform, when you’re hoping to develop a following, you need to think about what your target audience will find useful. With Pinterest, you can create inspiration boards around specific themes. You could keep things simple by creating boards on ‘business cards’, ‘flyers’, and ‘booklets’ for your clients to follow. However, we recommend you be more specific and have boards on things like ‘spot UV business cards’, ‘theatre posters’, or ‘café menus’, instead. This way, you leave yourself more opportunities to create boards in the future!

Before we finish, we have to talk about hashtags on Pinterest. They’re back! But they’re not quite the hashtags we’ve grown to love on other social media platforms. As they are only a recent development on Pinterest, the jury is still out on whether or not they are useful. Some bloggers claim that they’ve seen no difference in engagement levels whereas others are more keen, stating that they can be helpful in the right circumstances.

Basically, what we know so far is that hashtags are only relevant in pin descriptions, not in profiles, or boards. At the moment, Pinterest recommend using no more than 20 hashtags per pin description and that they should be relevant to your post. The hashtag search feed is ordered chronologically so you don’t need to worry about adding hashtags to your old posts but you should think about regularly added new pins with hashtags and trying to post when users are most active. The main advice is, don’t neglect your keyword rich descriptions!

As you can see, there is a lot to think about when it comes to social media but hopefully this break down of all the different platforms will help you develop a strategy of your own. Don’t forget that the tone of voice you use on social media is all part of your own brand. Read our blog on developing your personal brand as a designer for more tips.


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