Every business consultant, no matter what sector it may be, will tell you that your business has to have an online presence. If you’re a web or graphic designer running your own shop – even if you’re the only “employee” – your online presence is still “mandatory”. That means being on social media and consuming information from other media – both online and offline – sources as well. Otherwise, your competitors will probably get ahead of you, reaching out to a much wider audience and pushing you out of the way.
More than establishing your design shop on social media, however, you also have to develop habits that will reap you benefits. There is, of course, the fact that you have to share your work, especially the most recent ones, so that potential clients can see what you have to offer.
Beyond that, you also need to interact with your followers, whether they are clients or fellow designers and/or developers. The idea is to build and nurture a following, which may lead to work down the road; and even if you don’t get a new job order for every tweet, comment, share, or whatnot, the mere fact that you present yourself as an approachable and knowledgeable person on social media will give you a good image.
There is another thing that you need to do online, though – something that many often overlook: media monitoring.
What you share and say online says a lot about your design shop. It says a lot about you as a designer. It is thus important that whatever you share is relevant, timely, and interesting to your audience. You can always share your blog posts, tutorials, and opinion on design – that gives you credibility. But sharing only your own work is one way to alienate your audience and make them think you are but a self-promoter.
This is where media monitoring helps because you can find other sources of related information that you can share with your audience. Furthermore, you can use this information as inspiration for a job, for example, or a blog post.
You are probably already doing media monitoring in a way – you read influencers in your niche. You read online design magazines.
But there is so much information to be found online that often, it can be difficult to determine what’s noise and what’s actually of value.
Then there is information that you can find offline, including magazines, newspapers, trade publications, and the like.
To avoid wasting your time, make use of tools that will make media monitoring more efficient. These tools make it easier for you to find articles (and other formats) that you will actually like to read and will be able to use. Different tools may have different features, of course, but one usual common element is that you are able to specify topics and types of media that you want to be presented to you. You may also be able to “downvote” or “upvote” articles so that you will see less of those types.
With these tools, you have the chance to improve yourself professionally, while at the same time still having the time (and energy) to focus on what matters most for you: doing actual design work.