Next to having a beautiful portfolio, providing value, demonstrating credibility, and building trust are the fastest way to grow a network of clients. So how do you leverage social media to get the jobs you want? We are going to answer a few simple questions to help you figure out exactly how to connect with your desired clients and keep them hooked.
Let’s get started with the big question: why?
Why are you shooting photos, making art, designing? What is your vision as an artist? Why do you create? Do you have a mission statement? If you don’t have a mission statement, be it personal or for your business, this would be a great time to write one. A simple mission statement can help guide your choices to best align with who you are and what you really want for your business.
Who is your ideal customer?
Are you an underwater photographer? Fashion illustrator? Landscape painter? Get clear on what you create and who could use that kind of work. Be as specific as possible.
For example, if you like shooting feel-good lifestyle photography, consider what type of clients use that kind of imagery. Take inventory of which business sectors are applicable to your work. Start listing the companies in that sector who’s needs align with your specialty and style. Who is in the marketing department at that company? Do they have an agency of record? Who works on that account at their ad agency? As you continue to look closer and closer at who your clients are, you will start to see your key target list. These are the people you will want to connect with.
What problem are you solving for your clients?
What is the solution you can provide? How can you show this solution online? Choose a concise and consistent narrative to share who you are, what your business is about, and how you can help your clients. Take some time to get clear on the style, vision, and key values you want to project. Apply this to your images, copy, and content to share a cohesive message.
Take this one step further: how are you different or better than your competition? How can you demonstrate your expertise? How would you like to be viewed and thought of by potential clients? Your social media is a great way to drive home a message about what makes you stand out. Get into the details of what makes your work and working with you different.
Where are your clients online?
When researching your key clients, take note of which social media platforms they are using, and any hashtags you can make use of.
Once you have determined which social media channels are the best fit to connect with clients, clearly define what the purpose is for each of your social media channels. What type of content makes sense to share with the demographic you are connecting with? Will Instagram be for sharing new work, inspiration, and behind the scenes images? Will Twitter be for sharing new blog posts and industry trends?
Make sure to have your bio complete with a link to your portfolio on every social media platform you use to help drive traffic to your work.
Use hashtags to help clients find you. Make a list of top keywords to keep on hand for quick reference. Apps like Display Purposes can help you fine tune which hashtags are best to help you connect with your audience.
How many hashtags per post? One or two are enough for Twitter, and on Facebook you can probably skip hashtags altogether, but on Instagram consider adding 8-10 for optimal engagement. Hashtags can be added in a comment below your Instagram post if you want to keep your captions feeling tidy. Keep testing to find what is best for you.
When should you post, and how often?
The great debate: how frequently should you post? Many social media experts suggest between two to three times a week. It’s really up to how much quality material you have in line with your vision and the story you want to project.
Consider how much time you want to focus on social media. Ask yourself: where’s your time best spent? Where will make the biggest difference for your career? If your clients are social media-driven, post often. If your market does not have a heavy social media presence then perhaps don’t make it a focus of your outreach.
Use a schedule app or calendar to help you keep organized and on top of posting. Automation tools like Buffer, Hootsuite, or Edgar are great opportunities to do both.
How can you grow prospective relationships and build the ones you have?
Provide value with your social media accounts by sharing what your clients want to see.
Brainstorm what your ideal clients would find helpful, inspiring, or entertaining. Check out their social media feeds to see what interests them and what they’re engaging with. Are your clients outdoor enthusiasts, typography junkies, or foodies? Here is your opportunity to show your shared interests and expertise.
Post updates designed for your ideal clients (like articles, quotes, videos, industry events and news) alongside your work. The more you mix in your natural interests, the more engagement and genuine interaction you’ll have with your followers.
Shared something on social media that you think a specific client or contact would be keen to see? Tag them or send them a direct message with a note about why you are sharing this with them. Start a conversation.
Demonstrate credibility by showing your process, best work, and expertise.
How can you best display your expertise? Are there details you love to nerd out on? Is there a part of your process that captivates you the most? Share this with your audience.
Help people connect with you and understand your process with behind the scenes tips, images, and videos. This is a great way to build content when you have a lull in new work to show.
Use your copy as an opportunity to connect with your audience. What did you learn from or find interesting about the post you shared? Could you use the content to connect with people in your community who work on projects you are interested in? Get in touch.
Don’t forget to check out what is working for your competitors. Is there something they are doing that you can adopt?
Build trust by being genuine, consistent and valuing your followers.
If you believe you could provide a solution for someone, why not help them find you? Don’t feel uncomfortable reaching out to potential clients or possible collaborators. No one likes to be sold to, but displaying an honest interest and showing that you have your clients’ needs in mind will make the connection feel genuine.
Share work that best displays your vision and style. Consistency will help your client feel your work is dependable and that they will receive the same quality.
Respond to comments in a timely manner. Acknowledge people who share your work, ask questions and leave comments. Show your appreciation.
When you’ve formed a genuine connection with someone on social media, drop them an email and ask if they would like to grab a coffee or have a phone chat. Take this opportunity to learn more about your client’s needs and how you can help.
LinkedIn can be an unsung hero. Use it as a soft introduction to share your picture, bio, work history, testimonials and who you have in common. It’s a great way to keep in touch as people move around.
Don’t get caught up in the hype.
Keep in mind: this is not a popularity contest. You are using social media as a way to create genuine connections with ideal clients and your community. This does not always translate to a high number of followers. We are looking for quality over quantity.
Jessie Corney has been providing sales, marketing and creative guidance to photographers, directors, CGI, animation and digital studios for over 10 years. She has worked in Canada and abroad as a creative talent agent with Hesty Reps, Kith & Kin, Germaine Walker, and in-house at Thinkingbox. Recently, Jessie has started her own business providing strategic guidance for creative professionals. Find her at www.jessiecorney.com.