Utilizing Social Media to Network

Social media is not just for venting political beliefs or goofing off. If you’re smart about your approach you can leverage social media strengths to achieve your professional goals.

Don’t sell it

Photos of social meida icons
Social media is a place where people go to learn and connect. It is not your personal sales funnel. It’s a place for leisure, connecting, and learning. You can develop your profile as a thought leader and industry professional. It’s important to frame your posts as an offering for the public good, as opposed to a direct sales call.

Utilize the Network

Social media is the place to network. Utilize LinkedIn’s introduction feature to meet folks in the industry or companies you’d like to work. Again, even on LinkedIn, the objective should not be a hard sell. Frame your introduction request with an effort to bring something to the table.

Consider learning as a major objective of spending time on Social Media Platforms. Follow folks who will contribute to your professional development. Goof off, ok we all do it, but goof off partly by looking at inspirational work.

Portfolio Networks

Utilizing social media technologies as part of portfolio platforms is becoming more mainstream. People will be looking at your work, so be sure that your pieces are up to the quality that you’d expect to see from others. Look, they’ll always be better designers or more skilled tacticians in whatever field. Put up your best work and have it tell a story.  These platforms are not just galleries of work, they’re social platforms. Solicit feedback and give it.

A few portfolio websites to be aware of:

A little thing called usability

There is no surer way to establish the intuitiveness of your work than to have someone else use it. You can take the usability very far (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usability_testing). If you’ve got the time and resources to do this, great, but most of us don’t commit to true usability testing. And, if you can’t, then have a friend click around a bit in your own portfolio website and/or show them your portfolio and get some responses.

Add value (and avoid the rant)

If you like to rant, social media can be an excellent platform for it. Ranting, however heartfelt, also leaves a trail of potentially off-putting comments and assertions. If you must express yourself in ways that might seem untoward, create a new account that is strictly for your professional life. Creatives are welcoming and by nature open minded… being a part of the culture may require a shift in your communication style. Employers are looking at social media to get a grasp of who you are.

Get on the local train

Local is huge. The ability to travel to your client easily and have some face time makes a big difference to many people. Look the part. Does your town have a vibe? Is there a way you can incorporate that into your online persona. Connect with local networking groups (both online and in-person) and participate.

Emulate your heroes

Take some time to analyze how the people you follow utilize social media.

  • What do they post?
  • How often do they post?
  • When do they post?
  • What’s the length of their contributions?
  • What does their profile picture look like?

Determine what works for you and why. Then do that.

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