Making the most of social media

Social media is a great way to reach new clients – but it’s a double-edged sword. Here’s how to promote yourself effectively

It used to be that a portfolio site was all you needed to ensure you were doing your bit to promote yourself online. The choice was an easy one: you created your own site from scratch, or you went for the alternative of a hosted service, such as Behance, Cargo or Squarespace: very simple.

However, in the last few years the use of tools like Twitter, Facebook and Google+ has posed the question of how a designer should promote themselves via social media, and – in fact – whether they should do it at all.

One of those questions is easy to answer: yes, in the majority of cases, you should be promoting yourself online (unless you have a contract that prevents it, which is very unlikely). Design jobs can often be transient, with many designers working as freelancers, and it can be hard to get noticed. Ridiculous as it might sound, you need to promote your personal brand – but how do you go about it? Here are a few tips…

Firstly, there’s a temptation to over-share on the web, with some people feeling the need to publish the minutiae of their daily activities. Don’t do that. The first thing a web savvy employer or commissioner will do is check out your social profiles. If these profiles are filled with banality, ranting and potentially offensive subject matter, you could talk yourself out of a job. (We’re not saying don’t post off-topic, just be mindful of how it might be viewed by others.) Instead, use social media to promote new work, answer any questions from fans, and provide updates on any other related activity.

And, if you’re not freelance, then we’d recommend a mix of work and personal tweets. Employers love seeing their favourite designers bigging up the agency. Give it a try, and – cue the shameless plug – don’t forget to follow us on Twitter at @ComputerArts.