DON’T CALL ME HASHTAG
It’s almost impossible to work as a media designer and not get drawn into the endless and exhausting world of social media. Don’t get me wrong, I am a Facebook and Instagram addict and will basically share anything that has with dancing cats or someone painting with eyelashes in it. But I would be lying if I said it doesn’t get tiring. Even if you just repost stuff, most of the time people scroll past it, the highlight being three likes on one post. The next day the cute cat video is forgotten and then you start the whole process all over again.
Then there are all of the different platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Tumblr, Twitter, LinkedIn. Do you really need to be active in all of these networks to gain and maintain your audience? And when you’re a freelancer and your whole business depends on getting noticed, when your prospective audience is bombarded perpetually by a tsunami of content from across the globe, how do you compete? How can you rise above and find your audience?
Choose one social media channel and conquer it
The key to social media success is perseverance and persistence. Learn the ins and outs of the medium and use them to your advantage.
If you are into illustration and graphic design, you might want to choose Instagram, like me. It’s fairly easy to use, it has an easy hashtag system and you have lots of opportunities to get seen and promoted by big design agencies and organisations. Companies like Adobe, Dribbblers, or Behance use Instagram to find and promote new talent.
They will have their own #hashtags, that you can use when you post your cute cat illustration. If you are good and if you post at the right time, chances are you will be flooded with followers and likes and better yet – a repost from a big companies page. This will not only get you even more followers, but will establish you internationally as a proper designer.
When you work yourself into the world of Instagram, you will learn more about the advantages of using it professionally, i.e. with Instagram daily stories, links to your newest youtube posts, what to write and when to post. There are loads of great blogs out there already that focus on how best to approach social media, so I won’t bore you with too much detail here.
But there are some great blog you can check out that will help you push your Instagram posts to the next level:
This blog by Fiona Flintham is initially for mums, but it has super schedule and advice on how to rock your social media marketing.
I also love everything about the blog by Humble & Whole, their website is beautiful and they know a lot of essential things about Pinterest, Instagram, Mailings etc.
If you are looking for more technical advice and news on social media marketing, like how to build Facebook ads or SEO, I advice just reading one post by Digitalinformationworld daily. You might feel overwhelmed at first, so take it slow.
Don’t stop till you get enough
Never stop posting. Have a weekly (or ideally daily!) schedule of when and what to post on social media. What gets the most likes? What are the comments?The interaction with your audience part really helps you reflect on your own work and see it through someone else’s eyes.
Whatever you are promoting, make yourself a hashtag list (yes there are apps that save your lists, where you can copy and paste depending on which section you are posting today). I have one for hand-drawn illustrations and one for digital illustrations, etc.. Have a mix of company/organisation hashtags in it (e.g. #adobe),and also general hashtags that will get a wider audience attention and attract people who are not from the field (i.e. #illustration #cat #instaart).
Here are my favourite hashtags from Instagram pages to get reposted to a wider audience:
#illustrationartists #illustree #instaillustrate #theartidote #graphicdesignblg #dribbblers #adobephotoshop #vektorama #crookspress_au #thedesigntip #society6 #visual_orgasm #artloverground #wired #graphicroozane #thedesignmuseum #illustrationNow #gillde #designfeed
A word to the wise, you can only use 30 hashtags per post, and Instagram will not warn you when your hashtags are used up, it will just post your post without text content. It sucks – so be warned.
Have fun with it
Don’t over analyze everything you post to the tiniest detail. Most people will scroll past it, some might read your well thought out text, and even fewer will find you with a specific hashtag search. Especially in the beginning it should be about having fun and getting feedback for your work.
That being said, feel free to add me on my new Instagram account, all about my newest illustrations: @ra_kuka
I also have two other Instagram accounts (yes, I am an addict). One is about my healthy diet and my weight-loss story: @thisismydietaccount.
The most successful account I have run so far is about my black cat Sunny, who has vampire teeth: @Sunny_vampirecat.