If you are a freelancer in a creative field and you are not utilizing social media then you are truly missing out. Essentially being a freelancer means that you work for yourself. Thus, you are your very own public relations firm.
What does a PR firm do?
In part, they build and enhance their client’s presence online or via other forms of media.
What does this mean to a freelancer in a creative field (or in any field)?
When thinking of yourself as your own personal PR firm, then this means you should spend 30 to 45 minutes a day. You must promote your work, creativity, abilities, skills, etc.
A little networking can go a long way. Believe me… you never know when or where your talents will be discovered. Thus you must find the best way to promote yourself and social media is one of the easiest tools that you can utilize.
How does one promote himself or herself via social media?
First, know there is no right or wrong place to promote your work. The key is to experiment and find the best solution for you.
Building an online portfolio is the first step. Whether it be on Behance, Krop, Coroflot, Carbon Made, Deviant Art, Dasauge, Dribbble, your own personal page, or whatever…get your work out there to be seen. Sitting on your work means that no one is viewing it. If you want to work or help clients find you, then you must showcase your work somewhere…anywhere…just get it out there.
So you built a site or have an online portfolio, what next?
You have to start networking. How can one do this [via] LinkedIn, Xing, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and, yes, even Facebook. Start sharing links to projects as you create them. Also, share your projects with companies that are related to the subject matter of what you created. But remember…you can not always talk about your work. Create a personality online (one that matches your real personality). If you post a link to a project, then post something else that is more personal or even inspirational to others. Always be true to yourself, if you create this alter ego…then people will expect you to be that way in real life.
Many people complain that Facebook makes their personal life too public and that Facebook, once opened, means they know everything about you. Guess what? Go on any page and they probably track you to some extent. Get over it. If you keep your presence on Facebook somewhat professional, while maintaining personality, then you do not have anything to worry about. Also, Facebook now has pages for artists. So you can keep your normal page private and have an Artist page to create a presence on Facebook. As evil as Facebook is, it is one of the best ways to connect to others and showcase your work.
Also being diligent can keep you from reading all your friend’s posts. Read the first few posts and move on…no reason to read where someone is eating, unless you really want to. Interaction is good, but do not get lost in the maze of posts.
Insta— wha what?
Instagram, if used properly, can be a great way to gain followers of your work and to get it out. Think about it as a way to test out the public’s response to your creativity. The more likes or comments that you have the more likely your project will be successful.
Example: an agency that follows my work on Instagram is sending me a camera to test out. If I did not create a presence on Instagram this would not have happened. I also now get random follows by important people. So Instagram can open doorways.
Learn how to use HASHTAGS…
Hashtags are important just as they are annoying. But knowing how to use them properly will increase your presence via social media. I will not get too deep into this now but save that for later. But this is very important to learn.
Learn the secrets of POSTS…
One thing I learned quickly, is that if you post the same post five times on Facebook or Twitter you will get FLAGGED! So one little secret you can learn is that by changing one or two words…or sometimes changing the ending of a post can keep you safe from being FLAGGED! BUT…do not over post. I have seen some Behancers post their link in every Behance Group over and over and over again in 30 minutes on Facebook. Change your post…and if you are posting in a specific group…gear your post to their members. A little tweaking will make a post look less like spam and make it more acceptable to the group.
Interaction is key and creates a sense of community. When someone likes my work or a post, I do my best to check out their feed. If I see something I like then I either like it or post a comment.
Such small interactions lead to expanding your network as well. Of course, you do not need to be active every day on every form of social media out there. But if you go on a couple of sites each day and establish a presence and interact with others, then they will reply.
Quick Wrap Up…
If you manage your time wisely and learn how to correctly use social media then you will increase the amount of people who view your work. Being active and interacting with those who view your work via social media can lead to new possibilities. Remember if you are a freelancer then you must promote yourself and abilities.
About the author: Kenneth Shinabery