All freelancers and creatives need to have a social media marketing strategy to promote their work online. It’s one of the fundamental digital marketing techniques that you should be using, but it can sometimes be the most difficult too.
Some people start off thinking that they can quickly master social media, primarily if they already use it a lot in their personal life. However, if you don’t get it right, you could be putting in a lot of effort without getting much back.
Your social media marketing strategy needs to be goal-oriented to ensure your social media moves have a good ROI. You might have found that your current plan isn’t getting you anywhere — or maybe you don’t even have a social media strategy.
You need to work out your own way to master the use of social media as a marketing tool. But you can still learn from the strategies and techniques that others have used to grow their social media following and turn their social activity into real results. If it hasn’t worked out for you yet, you need to start rethinking your social media marketing strategy, so you’re not wasting time or money.
Whenever you do anything in marketing, you need to start by knowing why you’re doing it. Are you creating social media pages just because everyone says you should, or you think you’re supposed to have them, or do you actually know how they’re going to help you promote yourself as a designer?
Goals are vital if you want to make social media work for you. You need to know what you want to get out of using social media, both in general and when you create your strategy and social media campaigns. It’s also crucial that your social media goals align with your overall goals for your business.
When you’re creating goals to inform your social media strategy, think measurable.
SMART goals are what you should be striving for: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely.
You need to be able to measure the results of your social media activity, and you need to set goals that you can actually obtain. You might have more substantial, overarching goals, but you also need to break those down into smaller objectives that you can meet along the way.
Your goals don’t have to be set in stone, but you don’t necessarily want to change them all the time either. Consider setting goals such as increasing website traffic from your social pages or collecting leads.
Create a Written Strategy and an Editorial Calendar
Successful digital marketing is all about planning. If you have just been winging it on social media thus far, you likely haven’t had much of a social strategy at all.
Forging ahead without a plan can only get you so far, so it’s vital to create a social strategy. Once you have set your goals, be sure to do some research that will help to inform your strategy. Take a good look at your competitors and similar graphic designers to see what they’re doing. What are they doing successfully, and what do you think that perhaps you could do better?
An editorial calendar or a simple PDF document are another two essentials to help you with your planning. A well-designed social media calendar will help you to break down your goals into actionable steps and individual posts while keeping you on track, ensuring you’re following a plan.
You know what you will be posting and when, and you know why you are posting it. Be sure to plan to post regularly but avoid spamming your followers with too many posts too.
Stop Focusing on Likes
When you first start using social media to promote your graphic design services, it can be easy to get obsessed with numbers like your follower count or the number of likes and shares of your posts. However, even if it seems like you’re getting much attention, that doesn’t mean anything if those numbers aren’t actually translating to real results.
It might be exciting to have people liking something that you posted, but out of a hundred likes, how many of those people send you an enquiry about your work?
While it is vital to track how much people are engaging with your social media posts, it’s not the only thing metrics that matter.
If you place all of your focus on engagement, you could be missing out on other vital metrics. You also need to measure conversion rates to ensure you’re getting value from your social media.
Some of the critical things that you should measure on social media are awareness, engagement, conversion, and consumer metrics. Engagement represents how much people are liking, clicking on, or sharing your posts, but the other parameters are important too.
Awareness metrics tell you how well known your brand is and how much people are talking about you, highlighting your current and potential audience. Consumer metrics show you how your existing customers feel about your brand.
Know How to Make Use of Data
Tracking all of these metrics means that you need to know how to make use of social media data. The data that you collect from your social accounts should inform your strategy and help you to make decisions. But first, you need to know how to manage it and how to analyse and interpret it.
Most social media platforms offer you at least some basic tools for viewing and managing your social data, and it’s not too tricky to get started with them. However, you can also use third-party tools that allow you to dig further into your data, visualise it in different ways, and get more value from it.
Tools such as Hootsuite can help you to monitor your brand so that you can see what people are saying about you. As well as using tools designed specifically for social media, more general analytics tools can provide you with data about conversion metrics.
For example, the free Google Analytics tool can help you to map the behaviour of people who land on your site from social sites. You can see your conversion rate, which pages people visit, and other data that helps you to assess the success of your social media activity.
Provide Value to Your Community
Being a voice of authority on your social pages provides a range of benefits, and it should play into your social media marketing strategy. By setting yourself up as an expert, you show people that you are trustworthy, that you know what you’re doing, and that you are worth the prices that you charge.
It also helps you to provide value to your social community. When you share posts and content featuring beneficial information and ideas, it will encourage them to be more engaged. It will position you as an expert and ultimately lead to more leads and clients.
You can provide value and set yourself up as an authority through different social channels and in a variety of ways. You need to go beyond your own brand and present a more comprehensive focus.
You might offer content on what makes good and bad design or cover different design styles in a series of blog posts. Publish content that your followers will really find useful.
As well as posting on your own pages, it’s also worth looking for groups and other pages to join and contribute to. Facebook and LinkedIn, for example, have groups relating to graphic design. However, as well as engaging with other graphic designers, it’s essential to look for more general business groups where you can contribute your expert opinion.
Social media is designed for being social. That means that you need to have a two-way conversation between you and your social community. You don’t simply want to post at them without engaging with them. If you do, you might as well just have a static website that they can’t interact with.
To engage with people, make sure you ask them questions and invite them to participate in the conversation. Ask about what difficulties they have had in the past when looking for the right graphic designer or the process they went through when designing their brand. You can even use their answers to create further, sharable content.
However, don’t just stick to talking about graphic design. Talk about the interests of your audience, the challenges that they face, and their stories. It can be a useful way to engage with them without being too self-promotional.
Promote Your Work Sparingly
Showing people what you’re capable of is a must on social media, but be careful not to do it too much. While it’s great to share projects from your portfolio and even your design process, your entire social presence mustn’t be merely self-promotion.
Always promoting your own work isn’t really going to provide much value to people who follow you, even if it might show them all of the great work that you can do. So while you should share your design work, be sure to balance it out with other posts that provide plenty of value for your audience.
Create a Signature Move
Getting creative on social media will help you to stand out and get people to engage. Doing something different can get people to sit up and pay attention, especially if it’s unique to you and your brand.
For example, you might create a series of blog posts on different styles of graphic design that you can share each week or month. You could highlight one amazing, or one terrible, piece of graphic design from another designer each week.
You might create a hashtag for people to follow and contribute to — e.g., Fridays at 6 pm could become #GraphicDesignHappyHour. Do something that works for your brand and helps you to stand out.
Provide Quality Customer Service
Social media isn’t just for sharing things with your audience or even for sparking discussion. It’s also a vital tool for providing customer service, and it’s crucial that you don’t ignore people who use it in that way.
When someone leaves you a comment, sends you a message, tweets you, or anything else, you should respond if they’re looking for help, want to make a complaint, or even if they’re going to praise your work.
People want to have a range of communication channels available to them for customer service, and social media can be a convenient channel that they can use in their own time.
Embracing social media as a customer service tool helps you to take a modern approach to doing business. Likely, you are already doing this to some extent, but you might want to step up your game. Ensuring a fast response can make a significant difference in how people receive you on social media.
A lot of the customer service that you provide on social media will be completely public, so it’s more important than ever that you offer impeccable service. Even when communicating via private message, anything you say is easily shared with others.
You need to be particularly conscious of how you handle customer service, although you should also be when using other channels of communication.
Make Use of Visual Content
Using different types of content on social media helps you to keep things varied. Of course, as a graphic designer, you have the skills to create the right look for your pages and share plenty of visual content.
In addition to sharing your own work and occasionally the work of others, you should think about how to use different types of graphics and other visual content. A well-designed infographic, for example, can be a good thing to share with your audience. It’s also worth considering creating video content.
Videos can cover various topics and help you to show your audience what you know. You might post a video of your process as you design something. Or you could collect some questions from your followers and create a video answering them. Video is the most engaging content type, so it’s a must-have.
If you don’t have a social media marketing strategy or you haven’t examined yours for a long time, now could be the time to rethink it.
Are you really doing what you need to for your social media marketing strategy to work for you?
Originally published at https://inkbotdesign.com.