Are you social? Here is how to use social media to promote your artwork and designs.

Are you social? Here is how to use social media to promote your artwork and designs.


Guest Post by Kasia Piekut.

With social media dominating the world, you may feel a bit overwhelmed when you come to try and master this trend. For many professionals, having a social presence is a must, and if you are not yet completely convinced, there are some people who make social media creative and fun who might be able to change your mind.

With at least 4,000 social networks across the globe, it can be hard to know which ones to use. So if you are looking for some tips on where and how to start, here are some portfolios of those who are rocking the social and design worlds.

Behance

Behance is an online platform created by a New York based company as a service to help creatives organise their portfolios, connect with professionals, and be explored by potential employers. The site currently has over 1 million members and hosts over 3 million projects, and Adobe has plans to integrate Behance’s community and portfolio to its recently launched Creative Cloud.

Without a doubt, Behance is the best platform to showcase your work, and connect and mingle with the right community. Plus, if you are a freelancer or are looking for a change in career, you can connect your Behance portfolio to LinkedIn. With Behance you should feel no restrictions, as this is a site dedicated to all kinds of art.

Photography enthusiasts like Jakub Polomski, winner of a National Geographic 2010 Award in the category “Polish Landscape”, use this network to showcase their artwork. Jakub joined Behance in June 2011, and now his gallery has 175249 project views, 1424 appreciations and 2546 followers.

For Jakub, Behance has become an extension of his own website where in 23 projects he is able to tell stories from his country and his travels – as well as invite others to connect with him on his other social networks. The flexibility, ease of use, and lack of limitations, makes uploading projects to Behance a rewarding experience, putting alternatives in shadow. This ease of use is especially important when you lack the technical expertise to build an attractive portfolio on your own website.

Behance is also a great source of ideas as you are able to explore other peoples portfolios which can provide the much needed inspiration you were lacking. You can also get feedback on your work, or on certain aspects of your projects with the ability to add certain concepts as ‘Work in Progress’, allowing you to use discussions as directions on how to evolve and develop your ideas.

Your work has the potential to be highlighted on the site, with Behance showcasing content in specific categories. You can then mingle with the best of the best and get great traffic to your website and/or social networks. The Behance curatorial team is always on the hunt for talented individuals, which you may spot being promoted on Behance served sites or newsletters.

It is definitely a great source for those who want to get inspired and are looking for some food for thought, which you can undoubtably find on 99U, Behance’s education arm. Plus, Behance has all the important social media sharing icons for users, which will hep you and others to share your work.

Instagram

Instagram is an online photo-sharing app, which due to its popularity, become a social media networking phenomenon, with 90 million users. It is a much loved and active network where 5 million photos are uploaded every day and 8,500 ‘Like’ buttons are being hit every second.

Instagram is great for storytelling and building personal brand awareness, allowing you to not only show your work and creative process, but also the personal side of your life. One person who interestingly is introducing his passion for all kinds of creative things is Darryll Jones. He came up with a series of shots promoting his artwork, making use of sketches and doodles. It is also interesting to see how he turns the power of Instagram into an advertising channel to offer his printed sneakers to the masses. You can spend absolutely ages going through his feed to find new designs and updates from a ‘work in progress’ at even 2 a.m.

work by Darryll Jones

So if you would like to jump into Instagram try to remember to connect with designers and look for some relevant hashtags like #designattack, #designerscollective, #unitedbyedit, #editystyles_gf, #ig_artistry, #m_innovative, and #hubcreative.

There are many interesting challenges, competitions and ideas across this channel, which hopefully will soon have you addicted too.

Pinterest

This pin-board style social site allows members to “pin” images, videos and other objects to their ‘pinboards’. It now has 40 million active users, who share their image collections in real-time.

Name it how you like, but Pinterest is more than just a social network: it is a great visual archive, which very easily helps others to organise projects, images, and ideas. To prevent them from being forgotten you can organise them into different categories.

Steve Simpson, illustrator and designer, is using this tool to promote his own artwork by ‘pinning’ his designs straight from Behance. Of course, having a ‘Pin it’ button on your website is crucial but if there is nothing interesting to pin, it won’t be used. But this shouldn’t stop you from promoting your work from other sources – like Behance. Steve has boards like ‘Sketchbook’, ‘Children’s Books’, and ‘Illustration’. As you can see there are no boundaries, you can pin and create as many boards as you like. Bloggers also find this site very useful for gathering ideas and concepts for their posts. The images link through to the original sources, a great reminder for those with too much passion but a bad memory.

And it is so easy… all you need to do is press a ‘Pin it’ button.

Social media isn’t a time waster. Since you checked it last, you may have found the social world has evolved a great deal and is now offering much greater possibilities to its users. Facebook and Twitter are no longer the only answers – there are many different ways designers can promote themselves. You can find your own way to personalise your social media profiles, but the most important thing is to not treat this as another addition to your ‘To Do’ list but as a bit of fun.

Some basic tips:

  • Instagram doesn’t have active links, meaning you can’t link your posts to your blog or website, although you can add one main link next to your profile image.
  • Look for interesting hashtags for your Instagram posts or Pinterest pins like #design and #inspiration.
  • Pay attention to how your friends are using social media for ideas and inspiration.
  • Follow those who can become an inspiration for you.
  • Be active. You need to give it some time during the first 5 to 6 months and you will be rewarded with some great results.
  • Promote these networks on your website, business card, email signature, and anywhere else you can think of. If you don’t let people know, they won’t know you’re there.

Kasia PiekutPost by Kasia Piekut. You can find Kasia on Twitter at @kasia_piekut and @markmaking1995.

Kasia is a social media communicator working for marketing & creative design agency, mark-making*, based in Oxfordshire.