The world has changed as how businesses should market themselves. The best place for a business to grow and expose themselves is online. With out a doubt, an online presence can make a huge difference to a business.
Some freelance designers may know by now, that it is important to consider your self as an entrepreneur, and treat your business accordingly.
Social media platforms are increasingly used by more and more brands every day. Therefore, the question of ‘Is social media still effective?’ especially as a designer is always being asked.
The answer is yes; it is most certainly important for designers (especially freelancers) to use social media.
The results I have seen for myself have been a MASSIVE advantage for my niche and style of work.
Growing your following consists of posting regularly, engaging with others and constantly making noise. Sticking to a few social platforms have allowed me to grow my following, make friends and build long-term relationships.
Here are several reasons why you should consider doubling down on selected social accounts:
Just like musicians (Artists), designers need to stay relevant. The same way that song lives in your head, your work also needs to live in someone else’s head - rent free!
Unfortunately, the reality is there are hundreds of thousands, dare is say millions of graphic designers in the world today. Unless you’re a specialist, you may not be that special (Read more about Why you Should Specialise)
It’s your duty to stay relevant by keeping active on your chosen social media platforms.
The first way to tackle this is to:
This may sound straight forward… because it is. One key ingredient missing is Consistency. As long as you follow the steps mentioned and stay consistent, it is very likely you will stay relevant for your audience and inevitably increase your following.
Seeing how the world has evolved due to the pandemic, almost everything is done online.
Take advantage of this!
As a freelance designer, you have two audience groups - potential clients and other designers.
The most common misconception with growing a following is just to find new clients - No.
Growing a following allows you to meet people online, discuss ideas and possible business partnerships - E-Networking.
I can attest to this, as my main network has been grown online, majority of my designer pals were made online and also have several business partnerships which came through my social media platforms!
Believe it or not, E-Networking/ growing your following also does come with mental benefits too.
Surrounding your self with like minded people is advice not to be taken lightly. Some designers maybe doing things better than you which you can learn from and vice-versa.
The design community has always been a brilliant thing to be apart of, and there are always people there to help.
These benefits are all results of growing your following. I will also put out their, its not about numbers. Anyone can get thousands of followers.
Although you may sometimes get carried away with numbers, It’s important to consider the quality of those numbers.
Don’t treat followers as just a number, but rather as an actual community.
Friendships go along way in the design space, and you can learn a alot within communities.
As mentioned, potential clients are another category of your audience groups.
The best way for clients to find you is online. There is alot of noise online so it’s important that you market online effectively.
Building a following will inevitably result in an increase in inquiries, and ultimately resulting in more clients work.
It is very important to not ‘force’ acquiring clients though your socials, but rather ‘ease’ out your creative work and process for both your audience groups (Clients and Designers) to engage with.
Think of it as two separate elements; The Process and The Product.
The process can be case studies, live streams and courses. Both Clients and Designers love these elements. Clients like this because they want to know the intricacy of their potential design. As well as assurance of your process when hiring you in the future. Designers like this because they can learn and improve their craft.
The product can be final design and practicality/mockups. Clients like this because they want to see the end product after the process, as well as visualise a design and how it can be used in our world. Designers like this not only because we are designers our selves, but also can give feedback and gain inspiration.
Evidently, you can clearly see how not only client work will follow from doubling down on social platforms, but also how you hitting two birds with one stone. (Read more about Gaining Exposure as a Designer)
Find the balance between working smart and hard.
Being a freelance designer is a longterm game and focusing on other areas will eventually result in an increase in client work.
The dots will connect… eventually.
Its important to be strategic on Growing your Freelance Business - (This will be my next course which we will dive deep on this topic)
I may have touched on this previously, but It needs to be emphasised…
Building a following isn’t just a numbers game, but it opens doors to many possibilities.
As mentioned, being a freelance designer, it’s important to be aware that you are an entrepreneur. Therefore, think of other ways to increase your revenue through possible business opportunities.
Not only do you open doors through your network of other designers, but also to partnerships with brands.
Just by taking the time to stream on Behance, I was able to receive the offer of creating my online course on Awwwards Academy.
I can confidently say this would have never of happened if I hadn't left my comfort zone, and threw my self infront of my camera every Friday for livestreams.
That’s only one example, but there are many others that derived from me making a huge effort to increase my following.
Increasing your following doesn’t only mean huge results at the end when you have a large number, but also during the process, you will bump into life changing opportunities.
Being a creative entrepreneur often means creating your own luck. This is done by positioning your self strategically in places that other designers usually aren’t (or wouldn’t want to go).
At the end of the day, huge risk, huge reward is true. But ask yourself, “Is getting out of my comfort zone as a designer even a risk… is it even that bad?”
To conclude, yes, clearly increasing your following as a designer is important.
Many benefits come from this such as; remaining relevant in your creative field, building a social network through valuable freindship’s and like minded people, client work inevitably following when done effectively and also, more opportunities which will heavily impact your career.
However, not every successful designer is on social media. There are several talented designers that are not on social platforms. This could also work for you, but to be honest, I believe there is more risk going down that path.
It is important to remember, this is a longterm game. If your thinking about the short-term, you will not last.
Building something as a freelance designer takes hundred, if not thousands of hours. Not everyone is willing to put in the work.
A huge amount of stress is involved, but with out a doubt, it is worth it.
It can be really difficult in the beginning, but small steps and identifying your situation can be helpful (Read more about discovering your creative situation)
I’m more than happy to help you with your journey; feel free to reach out to me on instagram @amprako.co