Social media for designers by Kate O’Sullivan from A Playful Day
As part of our fabulous Indie June month, celebrating the work of independent designers all over the world, we’re featuring advice for budding designers! Today, Kate O’Sullivan from A Playful Day shows you how to use social media for your design business…
Being able to promote and share your patterns online as a designer is an amazing tool to help grow your business. I’m super passionate about social media. I love connecting in different ways with new people and creating something fun and inspiring for people to enjoy. Over the years I’ve fallen more in love with this magical online world and even relocated from the city to a rural setting thanks to my life online.
It’s safe to say I’m in the Strong Support for Social camp when it comes to using it for promotion. I do also know it can feel quite overwhelming and quite possibly a little awkward. However, after months of designing, calculating, testing and laying out new patterns, getting your work seen is the next step in making all your hard work pay off so please don’t be shy! Here’s a lowdown of some of my favourite ways to spread the word and some suggestions on how to make it all come together.
Facebook- The biggest network out there (1.5 billion monthly active users). Sharing is the key here with lots of images, memes, interesting articles and ideas that fuel debate and get people interacting. Lots of people find the business side of Facebook tricky with an algorithm that means not everyone will automatically see your page. The best way to overcome this is to create an engaging business page so you can use the ‘insights’ tool to see posts that get a good interaction and the times that work best for your unique audience. The rule of thumb here is 80% non-promotional material that’s relevant to your audience and only about 20% targeted promotion. Facebook wants their users to keep active and the biggest complaint they face is users feeling like they’re being sold to all the time. Keep the idea of a big conversation when you post and use plenty of images.
Twitter- This one is fast moving with 9,100 tweets every second. For me, Twitter represents what the term social network really means: conversations and links. Endlessly promoting your blog posts or promotional codes will have a pretty limited impact if you’re not engaging with others. Use the limited word count to celebrate other’s work, share news and little tips and don’t forget to join relevant Twitter Chats, often hosted with a specific hashtag at specific times of the week.
Instagram- As a story teller and photographer, I love the highly styled, beautiful images and community that truly appreciates the skill it takes to make the magic of Instagram work. Think of Instagram as visual storytelling: take your time over images, don’t saturate them with filters or post them all at once. People love to see a considered image and in many ways it could be seen as a microblogging platform where people follow for daily updates on your design process, inspiration and day to day making. Use hashtags to connect what you’re sharing with similar topics and don’t forget to follow back! I’ve found many a favourite user by falling down a hashtag rabbit hole and much like Twitter, Instagram works best when you’re connecting with others. (I’ll be sharing some more details about Instagram later in the month so perhaps leave a comment below and let me know your questions?)
Pinterest- This platform is like a mood board for the internet. Use Pinterest to show the story behind your brand by creating relevant interest boards such as knitting tutorials, yarn love, favourite patterns and other crafts. Users tend to use Pinterest a little like they’re using a search engine by searching for a specific term like ‘how to Kitchener Stitch’ so be sure to think about your key words when pinning and repinning. Long images work better as the main page runs from top to bottom rather than across the screen so try to use lots of portrait images on your blog for others to pin.
Snapchat- This one’s a little like Instagram on a day off. The app itself is a little tricky to get the hang of, with the developers claiming the interface is designed to make you interact and find all the buttons. What I love is that with no algorithms, suggested users and no ability to see other’s comments and likes, this is currently a pretty level playing field. Use it to share behind the scenes to your design work, a snapshot of your day to day life and a place to put content that doesn’t quite work for other more curated platforms like Instagram or Twitter.
Above all remember that the emphasis here is to be social. Using tools like Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule where you can will help you manage your time a bit better and I know many use a planner to map out what they will share each week. That way you can plan in time just to sit and interact for a while and see what others are up to. Remember, it’s all just another way of chatting to people who like what you do and enjoy that!
Keep an eye out for Kate’s next instalment, coming soon!
Find out more about Kate on her blog, A Playful Day!
Last updated: February 7th, 2017.