Thanks to Jeff Fisher, I’m quoted in the October Issue of HOW magazine which happens to be the Self-Promotion design Annual. If you are any kind of artist selling your work, this particular issue should be on your shopping list every year. This is a really great article about social networking for creatives and Jeff does a great job of it with his business. I met Jeff on the HOW forum around 8 years ago and he has always been so helpful to those newbies and veterans in the design field. Be sure to follow him on twitter and become a fan on facebook.
I thought I’d share my full interview so you could see how I use social networking:
1. Prior to your involvement in sites defined as “social networking” what
constituted the online presence/involvement of your business? Website? Forum
participation? Online portfolios? Blog?
I’ve always had an online portfolio and website, but when I first started out, I participated on a lot of forums. I read more than I commented or posted and then moved onto blogging that opened me up to other illustrators who were more on my level (career-wise) and I could connect to them better.
2. When and where did your business first venture into social networking?
LinkedIn? Facebook? MySpace? Twitter? Other?
I’ve been on LinkedIn for a good while now and have been able to find some good contacts that way. I’ve also found it to be a great place to update my mailing list. With everything going on in the economy, I’ve found that a lot of publishers have laid off their creatives so I’ve been able to see who all is where now.
I’ve never been on MySpace – it’s always seemed so “high school” to me and most of the people I’ve seen on there have beer parties every weekend!
I joined Twitter in February of this year. It became an instant addiction, but in a good way. I’ve been able to network with a lot of other artists and it makes it feel like I’m working in the studios with other colleagues. I know a lot of people on twitter just like to have large following numbers and will follow anyone just so those will follow back – I follow people who I’m truly interested whether it be their art, a service or their personality. I don’t have time to weed through people I’m not interested in.
I joined facebook a month or so after twitter. I’ve been resistant to joining facebook because I didn’t want to mix business with personal. I didn’t want to hook up with old friends (there’s a reason they are “old” friends!) and didn’t necessarily want to mix my personal conversations with business. I’ve been able to keep it pretty professional by automatically posting my tweet to my facebook status*.
*Note: since this interview, personal was bleeding over to professional a little more than I liked, so I’ve started a fan page that is business related. To get all my business “friends” to meet me over there, I posted this status:
“Attn: FB art/design friends: I’m switching business things over to a fan page to separate personal from biz here on FB. Please, don’t take it personal if I unfriend you, I just need to redirect your friendship over there -… we can still talk:) To get my updates “fan” me over here: http://www.facebook.com/HOLLiCONGERstudios and “follow” me on twitter. Thanks for understanding guys!!”
Almost everyone has fanned me over there now.
3.What business benefit did you initially see with your initial social
In a way it makes me more accountable. I usually let people know what I’m working on or what I have coming up and since I’ve publicly mentioned it, I feel like I really need to follow through on it. It also make me feel like I’m working with others in the studio.
4. What social networking sites or tools are you currently utilizing to
market and promote your business efforts?
5. How do you specifically make use of these resources as a self-promotion
I mention what I’m working on and link to what I’ve been working on (usually housed on my blog agirlwhocreates.com). I’ve mentioned my online shop some (typographyphotography.com) to generate business – but overall I use it for networking.
6. Which social networking resources is currently the most effective in
bringing business to your firm?
I haven’t been on twitter long enough to see how it’s bringing business my way. LinkedIn lead to a pretty lucrative design/illustration contract that feeds me work monthly. I found the company through another contact and noticed in their profile that they were hiring in-house positions. I emailed them to see if they would be interested in working with me on a freelance basis. They said yes and they have been one of the best clients I’ve ever had!
7. Have you recently moved away from using certain social networking sites
that you used more in the past?
I don’t participate or read many forums anymore. I started finding them less and less helpful to me professionally and there tended to be a lot of nay-sayers and know-it-alls that I just didn’t like to be mixed with.
8. What social networking resources do you see your firm making greater use
of in the future?
I love twitter and see myself using that more and more. I like the real-time aspect of it.
9. How do you balance the expression your company brand and your own
personality in your social networking efforts?
I think it’s important to show your personality, but I’ve chosen to have a more professional appearance on the internet as a whole. Everything is searchable and what you say could come back to haunt you! I mention my family, etc. every now and then and talk about by daughter a good bit (she’s my studio assistant and I will miss her terribly when she starts kindergarten in the fall!) but don’t discuss my beliefs or political views. I have gotten a little more personal on twitter & facebook only because it’s more real-time and I tweet on this-and-that that’s happening right then.
10: What one piece of advice would you give other creatives as they consider
the possible use of social networking opportunities for marketing and
promotion of their business?
If you’re using twitter for your business, keep things professional. Make sure you don’t say anything you wouldn’t want your client or potential clients to read. Personalize your twitter background. I’m surprised how many creatives I follow that use one of twitters unattractive backgrounds. Take the time to add your style to it. Make sure you link to your portfolio or blog in your profile. I have several artist who follow me and I don’t follow them back because they haven’t included a link in their profile. i want to know who they are and see their work. Also, take your client list and promo mailing list and see who all is on LinkedIn and Twitter. Maximize your marketing efforts that way, plus it’s free!