Creating a website for your web design portfolio is a great way to increase your visibility and allow potential clients to take a look at your skills before making the decision to hire you. However, your website is not enough if nobody knows you exist. That’s why it’s crucial to make use of social media.
Social media 101 for web designers
You can promote your work and your website – and establish yourself as an expert – by investing some time into creating a social media strategy that will help you land more clients.
Choose your social media channels
Before diving head first into social media marketing, it’s a wise move to choose the platforms you’re going to be active on. It might be tempting to create a profile on every social media network out there in the hopes of attracting more customers. In reality, this wouldn’t make much sense.
Let’s compare a few of the most popular networks.
With over 1 billion users, chances are a portion of your target audience has an active account on Facebook, no matter what your niche or specialization is. You can capitalize on Facebook by creating a page for your business or participating in Facebook groups that are comprised of your target audience.
Web design company Insignis Web has an active Facebook page where they share articles published on their site as well as invite their fans to attend tutorial-style webinars to learn more about WordPress.
Hustle and Bloom Creative promotes their web design packages as well as shares posts that are more personal in nature.
Twitter is a fast paced network that works extremely well for connecting with others in your industry. If you prefer working with a younger audience then Twitter can be an excellent way to reach them. Another way to use Twitter is to use their search function and search for keywords related to web design. You can see everyone who has tweeted about needing a web designer or looking for a website design.
Matt Quirk uses his Twitter profile not only to share his work but to give brief insights into his life as well.
Pauline Cabrera shares web design tips but also blogging and social media tips that help her clients get the most out of their new website.
Touted as the social media network for professionals, LinkedIn is a great platform to be active on if you prefer working with corporate clients. Aside from an optimized profile, you can use LinkedIn Answers, LinkedIn Pulse, and LinkedIn Groups to form connections and position yourself as an authority, which leads to more visibility.
Instagram is a highly visual platform where you can benefit the most by sharing your portfolio pieces or giving your followers a behind the scenes peek into your creative process.
Another highly visual platform, comprised of mainly female audience. It’s a place to discover new things but it’s also where visitors go for inspiration whether they are remodelling their home or looking for a website redesign. There are plenty of boards that save pins with web design inspiration so the potential for getting warm leads is quite high, especially when you consider the fact that Pinterest referrals spend 70% more money than those coming from any other social media network.
Sayeh has a very cohesive look across her Pinterest boards where she pins her work but also useful posts on topics that would appeal her audience.
Bashooka shares a collection of useful template collections for WordPress as well as for social media and other design collaterals.
A network geared for designers and creatives primarily can be a great source of connecting with others in your industry, getting feedback on your work. At first glance you might think it wouldn’t lead to any new clients given that it’s a place where your peers are but forming relationships with other designers can lead to new clients when your peers simply cannot take on any more projects.
Which one should you choose?
The answer to that question largely depends on your target audience. In order to attract your target audience you need to go where they are, which means you should choose social media channels where your ideal customer likes to spend time.
Because of that, your first task is to have a clear vision of your ideal customer. Think back to your past projects and clients and identify which ones were the most satisfying to work with. Who were they? What were their interests? What demographics did they belong to?
Once you have your ideal customer avatar, you can determine which networks they are most likely active on. From there, it’s a matter of joining the network, optimizing your profile, and creating content that will appeal to them.
How to attract your target audience
To attract your target audience on your chosen social media channels, you need to post engaging content that will appeal to them as well as take time to cultivate relationships.
Post the right content
It’s natural that you want to promote your work and your website in order to gain more visibility. But constantly posting about your portfolio pieces will most likely alienate your customers because nobody likes people that are overly promotional. People don’t like to feel forced into buying something, especially from someone they don’t really know.
In order to turn your followers into customers, you need to establish trust and the best way to do this is position yourself as an authority. This means you need to share content that your target audience will find helpful and enjoyable, even if that content comes from your competitors.
Sharing third-party content may seem counterintuitive but it will in fact position you as someone who stays on top of industry trends and knows the industry from the inside out.
You can pair that with design tutorials posted on your website, web design tips that show people how to improve their sidebar or blog design, client case studies, and occasional posts that discuss what you are currently working on. The golden rule is that you should share third-party content 80% of the time and your own 20% of the time.
Take time to respond to your followers and engage in conversation with them. Offer tips and feedback without asking anything in return. Focus on providing value and listening to what your potential customers have to say.
By doing so, you will show them that you care about them and not just about the number of followers that you have. Establishing a personal relationship will go a long way toward allowing your customers to get to know you, which further strengthens the trust factor.
Use a social media management tool
Being active on social media requires a lot of work. You need to post content regularly as well as interact with your followers and those that you follow. Doing this becomes a lot easier with the use of a social media management tool.
A few of the most popular options include:
Hootsuite – one of the oldest social media management platforms that lets you schedule posts for Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn. One of the most notable Hootsuite features is the dashboard. This area makes it so you can set up “streams” for each social account. You can monitor Twitter mentions, retweets, hashtags, and private messages, each in its own column.
Buffer – Buffer shines when it comes to the simplicity of message scheduling and the ability to set custom posting times. Buffer also comes with Pablo, their tool that lets you create images and graphics to accompany your posts.
Sprout Social– an encompassing tool that lets you publish and schedule messages. It also comes with a set of comprehensive analytics that will help you understand the performance of each profile as well as the ability to add custom notes and view past interactions with specific users.
Start using social media
Social media is a powerful tool in any business owner or freelancer’s arsenal. When you take the time to cultivate relationships and post the content that places you at the forefront of your customer’s mind, you can gain more visibility for your business and improve you chances of turning followers into customers.