The oxford dictionary defines self-promotion as “the action of promoting or publicizing oneself or one’s activities, especially in a forceful way” and it often has a bad reputation for being too pushy and too boastful. However, self-promotion is often one of the best ways to get yourself noticed, especially in such a saturated industry. That’s where social media comes in.
The history of social media is an interesting journey and now an integral part of online modern society. The best depictions I found were this infographic from the blog Skloog – or even better, this interactive infographic by Avalaunch Media which follow the developments of social media. From their humble beginnings of slow moving postal service to modern-day instant digital messaging platforms. Today we have a whole host of different social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Behance… the list is endless and knowing which ones are going to be the most beneficial to your own self-promotion is key.
LinkedIn – As the world’s largest professional network, LinkedIn is ideal for connecting with other professionals and building your industry network. First launched in 2003, the site now has hundreds of millions of members and it’s still growing, therefore making it an ideal place to develop new relationships. In addition, LinkedIn also allows members to publish long-form posts – an article or blog style piece about interests or expertise for example – in order to further establish their professional identity. I think that LinkedIn has a strong reputation in the creative industry as a formal way to view professional information about a person, and will be a good place to have a profile and link to my portfolio. It will also be a great platform to use when networking and expanding my industry social circle – I can use LinkedIn to find creative people with similar design styles/interests as well as inspiration and guidance from experts.
Twitter – From breaking news and entertainment to sports and politics – Twitter is used as a broadcasting tool for short messages, better known as ‘tweets’. With only 140 characters available per tweet, information tends to be concise and feature the main points of a message. Photos, videos and links can also be included, making it the ideal platform to post short snippets and quick updates about my creative process for example or what I’m currently working on personally. Users can like and share tweets as well as reply publicly and directly, stimulating conversation and making connections. The essence of Twitter is that users can view large amounts of content at a glance exactly as and when it’s happening. This dynamic and fast-paced way of communicating will mean that my content (or tweets) need to be eye-catching and impactful, as well as conveying a bit more about me as a person and getting to know my audience.
Instagram – Primarily photo-sharing based, Instagram’s emphasis is on mobile use and visual sharing. It offers members a news feed similar to other social media platforms, but of photo and video content. Users can follow other accounts and like or comment on content, plus there is also a new feature of live video streaming. The use of filters and other effects make Instagram popular with creatives and there is a strong association between Instagram and beautiful imagery. I enjoy taking snapshots of moments in time, my work and my interests, and sharing these on Instagram is a fun and creative way of expressing my personality.
ONE LAST THING TO NOTE: Although an undeniably useful tool, social media isn’t (and shouldn’t be) the only way to self-promote – attending events, co-working, sharing knowledge, offering business cards and keeping an up-to-date portfolio go hand in hand with successful self-promotion.