Social networking sites are everywhere now. You can’t escape them, and when used properly, they can be excellent tools to bring in business and exposure. There are many networking sites, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Design Related, Design Bump, Twitter, and many more, and it is important to realize that your actions and who you are linked with have an effect on everyone’s perception of you.
The best policy that I have found, especially for Facebook, is to have a professional account and a personal account. That way, your personal affairs don’t interfere with you professional life. Your friends that like to party all weekend and leave lewd comments on your wall will make you look bad. Image a client reading about someone’s weekend escapade on your Facebook page. They would probably not even contact you. Your personal life and professional life need to be separated. You don’t want anything said on there that you wouldn’t say to a client.
Places like LinkedIn, Design Related, and Twitter are great, because they are great ways to meet other designers, network with people in your area, stay up-to-date with design news, and keep up with issues that interest you in design. You can subscribe to people and articles, as well as follow people on Twitter.
One thing to remember is that if you want to make professional connections, then you have to act in a professional manner. If you would like to join a network, sending a direct message or email to someone is a good idea, and a good way to make friends. using proper English, like you would in an interview for a job is a good idea. “Yo man, wassup?” isn’t really a good way to make a good professional first impression. Being active in any group you join can only benefit you. The conversation alone will teach you plenty about the business. Veterans are sitting there waiting to share vital information and experiences with you.
If you disagree with someone’s blog post or article, that is perfectly fine, but if you are going to voice an opinion, then it is a must that you do so in a respectful manner. You never know what actions will affect you later in the game. If you present a valid argument, then most likely your side of the debate will be acknowledged. Most of this is simple common sense, but you wouldn’t believe how many times I have read responses to my articles about how much they disliked something that I have done or said. That is fine, my goal is to have an open discussion about anything art and design, but if someone has something to say in response to something that I have written, then I expect there to be a valid reason and viable point to be made.
Twitter is great if you write your own articles, because it is a great place to announce a new article. Some people have thousands of followers, so if they retweet your article, then potentially thousands of people will see the announcement. This is a great way to drive traffic to your site, but spamming 10 articles every five seconds is only going to get you unfollowed, and most likely annoy everyone in the process.
Hopefully you are already doing the things that I mentioned, because it will help you to gain exposure. you never know if something that you are doing or have done will land you a job or freelance work. It is a small world after all, and it is not impossible to find work in the sea of designers out there.