Social Media 101 for Job Hunting Graphic Designers
In the digital age, social media blurs the lines between our professional and personal selves. These networks provide a useful space for keeping in touch with friends and family, but they are also places to forge new connections.
Social media presents a powerful opportunity to market yourself and your work to recruiters and potential colleagues. This is particularly true for graphic designers, given the overwhelming power of visuals and images on online platforms.
Take advantage of the professional potential of each platform using these tips.
Hashtags are what make Twitter such a powerful networking tool for professional use. By including hashtags relevant to your medium, style and niche, you are more likely to come up in searches for these terms and to grow your follower base with individuals that are interested in your work and your professional insight.
Include hashtags in your bio and account description as well as your posts to hone the power of Twitter search. But be careful not to overuse hashtags — a good rule of thumb is that your hashtags shouldn’t outweigh your post itself. In most cases, limit yourself to one or two hashtags per post.
Some of the top trending hashtags for graphic designers include: #design, #art, #graphicdesign, #graphicart, #artoftheday, #artofinstagram, #branding, #brandidentity, #cartoon, #creative, #digitalart, #flatdesign, #typedesign, #typespire, #illustrator, #vector, #vectorart, #photoshop, #UX, #logo, #logodesign and more.
Engage With Other Accounts
A great way to build your professional network on Twitter is to engage with other designers. Showing your appreciation for others’ work is actually a way to boost interest and followers on your own account.
By tweeting interesting industry news or artwork and tagging your colleagues in relevant tweets, you are increasing your chances of getting retweets and likes, which then boosts your account’s reach to new audiences. Each interaction could be an opportunity for a recruiter or a potential colleague to see your work.
Check out Owen Gildersleeve on Twitter for inspiration on how to incorporate the promotion of your artwork, hashtags, social engagement, original posts and commentary — all in one powerful profile.
I’ve created a poster for this year’s@outsidelandssf! https://t.co/FasITBFyrm @Metallica @TheWho @gorillaz @lorde @alt_J @solangeknowles pic.twitter.com/yrRhNUMCmw
— Owen Gildersleeve (@ogildersleeve) August 10, 2017
Cover Photo and Profile Image
As a graphic designer, the aesthetic of all of your online profiles is a representation of your work and artistic abilities. While many designers’ first instinct is to take to Instagram to present their artistic talents, LinkedIn should also be a focus for any designer looking to build their professional reputation. Put your creative talents on display by creating an original cover photo and investing in a professional profile image that shows your personality and style.
Promote Your Work
LinkedIn is the prime social platform to be promoting your professional work, so don’t be shy. LinkedIn is essentially an online resume and its digital format provides even more opportunities to “sell” your experience, abilities and talents than a traditional resume or job application. Once your projects have been finalized and made public, post about them. Share images in an original way and take ownership of your hard work and creativity.
Promoting Fun Work Projects and Office Life
Facebook is definitely a more casual platform; more of a tool to keep in touch with friends and family than to grow and nurture business relationships. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t also post about your professional life and your work from time to time. Just make sure there’s an appropriate balance.
Your friends and family likely don’t care to hear about every small detail of your work life or scroll through a full digital portfolio. However, posting fun, interesting things that happen in the office, big news about your latest completed projects or sharing professional milestones and accomplishments is perfectly acceptable. More importantly, these posts could be seen by recruiters or future colleagues through your friends’ interactions with your posts. Always be aware that your posts could be seen by anyone, so put your best foot forward.
Create a Company Page
If you are looking to boost the professional power of Facebook to help build your personal brand as a graphic designer, consider creating a company page. A company page is free and easy to set up and will give you a focused account to display your work and your abilities. Whether you are looking to freelance or you simply want to share your work, a company page allows you to market your Facebook presence to a more targeted audience, versus only your friends and family. This professional account also offers the opportunity to advertise and run “Like” campaigns to boost the followers on your account.
Display Your Work
Instagram is a powerful visual medium, which makes it the perfect platform for graphic designers to present their work in an interesting way. But be sure that displaying your work makes sense in the context of your profile.
The most effective Instagram accounts have a clear and consistent focus. Whether you’re displaying art, fashion, food, travel, etc., you will gain the strongest and most meaningful follower base with a profile that has a dedicated focus. If you’re the type of person that also wants to post about your other daily dealings, consider creating two accounts; one for your personal friends and one for your professional network.
Then, think about creating a consistent look and feel for your account. Many Instagrammers will create this consistency through the colours, filters and different types of photography and imagery styles. Figure out what type of aesthetic best portrays and compliments your personality and artistic style and keep it consistent.
Check out the talented Steven Harrington on Instagram for inspiration on how to incorporate design posts as well as snapshots of daily life in an artistic way.
Draw more people to your posts using relevant and trending hashtags in your posts. While it is definitely helpful to include the more general hashtags like #art, #designer, #graphicdesign, etc., it is also good to dig a bit deeper and tap into your niche and what you are presenting. For example, include more specialized hashtags like: #animation, #motiongraphics, #3D, #typography, #calligraphy, etc.
On Instagram, you have the ability to add your hashtags in a comment below your caption. This allows you to add more hashtags and gather more power from the search tool without distracting from your message or making your post look spammy.
If you’re not already on Dribbble, create an account now and build a portfolio featuring your favorite creations.
Be sure to also include relevant tags on your uploaded pieces to make them show up in search. Tags could pertain to the style of your art, like “3D” or “sketch”, or they could pertain to the audience or potential clients you are looking to attract, like “logo” or “branding”.
Check out Creative Mints on Dribbble for an example of how to create a consistent and cohesive profile. This account is focused heavily around one artistic niche, however remains interesting throughout. You can see how an account like this would gather a strong and engaged following of individuals that are drawn to this style.
Engage With Your Peers’ Work
Once you’ve shared your own portfolio, take a look around to get inspired and share your thoughts. Feel free to ask questions if you see an artist using a new technique that you’d like to try in your own work. By leaving a comment or liking someone’s post, you are spreading awareness for your own profile and building an online community of like-minded professionals.
Social Media: Networking in a Digital World
Social media is not simply a casual, socializing tool anymore. In the digital world, social media is one of the leading ways recruiters discover new talent. It allows recruiters to learn more about you and get a feel for your consistency before reaching out.
You never know who could be watching, so be mindful of what you post online and how you present it. As a graphic designer, everything you post on these platforms can be used to promote yourself and your abilities, so be creative in your approach and make every post count.
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