Put Yourself Out There!
No, this isn’t a post about the latest dating tips or how to make friends. This is about graphic designers and other creatives establishing a professional online presence for the purpose of promoting their work and furthering their careers.
Why Go To All The Trouble?
In the early days of the burgeoning internet (and I’m old enough to remember those heady days!) it was enough to slap up a simple website and call it a day. However, in 2017, that approach isn’t enough. Creatives need to embrace a multi-platform, multi-outlet promotional and social media mix in order to have any chance of successfully attracting attention in a crowded virtual space.
Emma Hagen at The Charm Collectiv states in her post Graphic Design Series: Establishing Your Online Presence,
“Establishing an online presence early on can cut down on your stress once it is time to actually pursue a job, help you network with other artists, and help you stay inspired and connected to your own artistic community.”
It’s interesting that she stresses putting yourself out there as soon as possible. This is important so that you aren’t scrambling to setup professional sites and outlets. One may think that uploading a portfolio is the difficult part, but that’s typically the easiest task. Consider the necessity of creating accounts, adding to each all of the required background information, thinking about and deciding on the “look” of the sites and organizing all of these into a consistent, professional look is time consuming.
Consistency. Consistency. Did I Mention Consistency?
Although Emma mentions being consistent in the scheduling of postings, I’d add that it’s also important that you maintain a consistent look across the your various chosen platforms. For instance, use the same profile pic and banner for your professional sites from your Facebook page to your Twitter and Instagram profiles. This is what I do and I think it helps to establish consistency in one’s brand, if you will.
Where Oh Where Shall I Go?
I have to admit that I was a bit surprised at the sites Emma recommends for establishing an online presence as they aren’t all the typical ones I’d expect. Her suggested sites are:
LinkedIn is an obvious choice as this has become the defacto online resume for most workers and job-seekers. Squarespace and Wix are website builders geared towards hosting portfolios. They both have a modern, sleek look that will appeal to many creatives. Behance is another obvious choice for creatives as this has been the go-to online portfolio for some time. Dribbble (I keep forgetting to add the extra “b”!) is a site I’ve not heard about but it too is an online host for work-in-progress portfolios. According to Emma, it’s more of a social sharing site for creatives to “share small screenshots (shots) that show their work, process, and current projects.”
I’d add to this list Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as they are arguably the big three of social media. The fact that they are free and each continues to grow their already massive user-base make them vital pieces of an online presence.
Bringing It Back In.
So what have we learned? First, it goes without saying that graphic designers and other creatives need to establish an online presence. The earlier one gets started the better as it will save a lot of prep time in the long run when looking for a job or promoting a portfolio.
Secondly, it’s important to have several online outlets setup in order to maximize one’s online exposure. Don’t stop with using only Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. From LinkedIn to Behance, from Squarespace to Wix and even a little bit of Dribbble, creatives will have a step up if they heed Emma’s advice and add these online outlets to their promotional and social media mix. I know I’ll be doing just that!