Last updated on December 13th, 2019
Today, graphic designers understand the importance of social media and how it helps in reaching out to potential clients. Rather than relying on conventional means of marketing, designers can successfully leverage social media to build a solid clientele. However, a well planned strategy is required to explore social media platforms if you are considering to robust your career as a graphic designer for a longer run.
Like other industry experts, graphic designers have also realized the role of social media in winning clients consistently. But, most of the designers are still trying hard to engage and interact with the target audience on different social channels.
For instance, Instagram seems to be designer’s favorite platform for its ability to prominently display creative images with text. Whereas, Facebook allows them to showcase their design skills and expertise with an elaborative and engaging text.
While Twitter is also a combination of image and text for a quick glance at what you do as a designer. Recently, LinkedIn has also been added by designers in their bucket list to attract clients and grow business globally.
Still, many graphic designers, especially new ones, have no clue how to utilize social media to their advantage. They fail to have a meaningful presence on social platforms and don’t get new clients or work as expected.
To help them leveraging social media as a designer, Designhill, a leading creative marketplace, decided to reach out the industry experts who have mastered to leverage social media platforms for earning unlimited clients.
We invited, Blesson Varghese, the founder of Bless Creatics, to share his expertise on How To Leverage Social Media As A Designer with our design community through webinar, conducted on November 14, 2019.
About Blesson Varghese
Blesson is a brand identity designer and founder of Bless Creatics. He has worked for various clients from across the world. His first medium to get clients is social media platforms where Instagram is his favourite one. He is passionate about building a community of budding designers, by providing insight into creating the design and business strategies.
During the webinar, we asked about his designing career, how he got started, and why he decided to use social media as his utmost part of business strategy.
Blesson shared his own experience of steadily building a purposeful social media presence as a way to source clients consistently. He gave valuable tips on engaging an audience and giving them value, turning followers into the community, etc.
Here Is The Video Of The Webinar
Here Are The Valuable Tips By Blesson Verghese Shared On How To Leverage Social Media As A Designer
Designhill: Thanks for accepting our invitation and joining us to share your expertise. First, we would like to know – how your designing career started? And, why you choose Instagram over other social media platforms?
Blesson: Thanks for such a warm welcome. I feel delighted to share my knowledge and expertise with everyone. I will be very happy to help my designer buddies to start or robust their career as a designer.
So, let’s begin with my career journey. Or Shall I say, How I started my Instagram journey?
I’m currently the owner of an agency called Bless Creatics. It’s not yet a full-fledged agency, but it will be one of the top agencies in the coming days, for sure.
And, I’m a self-taught freelancer. I have worked with clients from across the globe. One of my projects is when I worked for Brazil’s biggest DJ. Currently, I have a 45K+ plus Instagram community, which I am still growing.
I started my Instagram journey from scratch in 2017 as a freelancer, you can say as a hobby, but not as a full-time freelance strategy. Luckily, at the same point of time, I started getting clients. I always had an interest in graphic design and specifically, in logo design.
Then, in about two to three months, to leverage social media, I started posting my work on the media where clients showed interest to know about my work. And, then as I started getting client inquiries where I started focusing more on the portfolio.
“I would say that rather than getting design education and those fancy degrees, it’s much more important to have a strong portfolio so that you can be hired as a professional graphic designer.”
Then, I started building a community over Instagram. I gained wide exposure when I started focusing more on the community. I was able to build up the community and I was invited as a guest on several podcasts and conferences. This was how my Instagram journey started.
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Designhill: How social media platforms can help graphic designers? Or Why using social media is important for any business?
Blesson: Sometimes as designers, we don’t take our design career seriously, as a business. Rather, we take it as our passion. That’s actually a big misconception. But first, know how important is social media for designers and businesses. Today, our lives revolve around social media. And as much as important it is in our personal life, surprisingly enough, it has also played an important role in businesses.
So as I mentioned, now, social media holds a big importance for your business. I have a statistic by Hootsuite saying that 3.5 billion number of active social media users are in the world. So, more than half of the population is on social media, which is crazy for a business owner.
This is because there are very fewer opportunities offline to reach out to this number of people. But if you talk about the online opportunities, let’s say social media, you have 3.5 billion reaches sitting in your comfort the comfort of your home or whichever place you are in.
Also, the statistics say that 3.4 billion are using social media via mobile devices. So when you’re preparing content to leverage social media, be very well aware of this fact that you prepare content that suits the statistics. So you can now figure out how important is social media for business? Now, should designers focus on social media? Well, social media must be a part of your business strategy.
The design business is related to people. You are not dealing with virtual expectations and virtual results. You’re dealing with clients who are humans. And, they are now on social media, so why not use social media where humans are?
Designhill: Our audience would like to know how a fresher can start his/her career as a graphic designer. What are the parameters one should focus to start as a fresher?
Blesson: The first thing that you should ask yourself is why are you passionate about graphic design. It’s not a field that you can expect that you will do good on it. Graphic design is more of like; a choice that you make, depending on your passion and interest.
But, how to start if you have the passion and wish to become a professional graphic designer? I would highly recommend going for online resources that you have, and not to just jump on the college degree for designs.
This is because the degrees don’t matter at the end of the day. What matters is your portfolio, your skills and how are you taking it forward, how do you deal with designs, and how do you deal with people those who need designs.
The best thing that you can do to start as a graphic designer is to go online. And the best resource you can get is YouTube. That is how I started and got tons of tutorials. You can use free or paid resources as is your choice.
Designhill: As you have mentioned earlier that it’s important to create a strong presence on social media platforms in order to get recognition and clients. How a fresher can build a strong portfolio, get more traction, and followers?
Blesson: First, ask what is your goal and who are you trying to reach. Now, your goal might be to boost your sales. Or, you might be just an individual who’s trying to build a community on Instagram or Facebook or any other social media platform.
The First Thing:
-to do is to prepare a goal and mindset. Have a mindset that you’re going to achieve that goal and just not go out in social media and do whatever you want to do. But have that goal in your mind and your frame whenever you’re preparing a social media content strategy.
The Second Question:
-to be asked to leverage social media is where are you going to find your audience. Let’s say that you have prepared a list of target customers. Assume that you are trying to reach business owners or freelancers to work. Now, where are you going to find them?
If you’re focusing more on startups and not on the existing business, know that almost 85% of the startups hire agencies to do their freelance work. These agencies are all over present on social media. They are following you.
They’re checking your work, and looking at the opportunities that they get so that they can hire you as a freelancer. So you need to do some research online to find them to provide graphic design services. Look at the case studies and the surveys that people have done that will help you understand where are you going to find your target audience.
Also, to leverage social media, find out that values to target social media clients. For example, LinkedIn may not be an ideal place for a new blogger to begin with. Because if you are a blogger, and you’re starting as a freelance blogger, you should not go out on LinkedIn and put out your work there because LinkedIn is more like a corporate platform where you get the serious design business working.
But it’s certainly a good place for a copywriter, writer or designer. It’s a good place to start with. So always make sure that you research well enough about your target audience.
Define Your Niche
First, define your niche to leverage social media as a designer. It’s just a process of determining a custom ecosystem for yourself. So what does that mean? I have seen many people trying out a lot of different stuff. They start with a design business and try to do everything.
They tried to do web design, graphic design, poster design, logo design, and everything. But surprisingly enough, working on so many designs at a time does work for them.
But there is a famous saying —a jack of all trades and master of none. It doesn’t work for everyone because jack of all trades approach is dangerous, tiring, and lands you in the middle of nowhere. Therefore, you need to make sure that you have a niche. Defining your niche falls on the type of work you’re doing.
Designhill: In such a huge competition, how you manage to think out of the box and gain opportunities. How do you keep yourself creative? And what makes your work different from everyone else?
Blesson: I don’t know the specific way I keep myself creative. This is because creativity is something that flows from inside and not by an external force. If you are a creative person, you don’t need anything that makes you go into that creative mode.
You are always creative, even when you are somewhere out exploring the city. Let’s say you find the small details and you will right away jump into the creative mode. You will see some patterns, colors and typography that really strike you.
Paying attention to the smallest details of the surroundings has helped me keep myself creative. I also get small messages from my Instagram community which also keeps me going. That is also one of the biggest reasons how I keep myself upgraded.
So as they say, God is in the details. I have sometimes got inspired by the weirdest of details and worked on them. I have applied that inspiration on my creative process and it worked surprisingly very well enough. So it’s always about paying attention to the smallest of details around you.
Designhill: Getting regular clients is the hard task to manage while starting as a new graphic designer. We would like to know how to ensure a consistent flow of clients?
Blesson: Clients would be giving you work regularly if you leverage social media well. But it is very hard to keep a consistent flow of clients. As a designer, therefore, you should have your bank balance as a saving platform when it’s all dry for you. (He Chuckles!)
Lately, I have noticed that LinkedIn is working for designers. But I started on Instagram and it worked well for me as I got a lot of clients. But now it is not working that well for me as a client platform. I don’t get as many clients as I used to get when I started in 2017.
A reason could be that Instagram is now crowded so much that you can find tonnes and tonnes of designers around. So, when you share your prices, they will always have somebody who is doing that just for half of the price that you’re offering.
But, if you look at the LinkedIn platform, it’s working for a lot of designers. And, this is something that I’m going to try out in 2020 as my social media strategy. This platform has a lot of quality clients looking for freelancers.
So pro tip for all the designers is to start focusing on LinkedIn as your social media strategy. That will help you understand the trends that are always changing. So, to keep the flow of clients coming, know the trends to leverage social media and always be in line with how the industry is shifting.
Designhill: As you have mentioned your major source to get potential clients is Instagram. Instagram is the ideal platform for designers to showcase their talent and gain prospective clients. Then, what should designers follow to get more followers on Instagram?
Blesson: Here, I would like to share a personal story when I started to leverage social media. As I mentioned, I just started as a hobby, and not focusing on building a business or a career in design on Instagram. So, I started putting my posts and just random designs on Instagram, whatever I used to just think would be cool and would look good.
I would just post them and people like Ted and I started getting a few followers started getting a few likes. So you know, that always made me so happy seeing those notifications, number of followers. So I started doing more of the stuff that caught me more followers.
I couldn’t let you know the happiness that I had when I hit 10,000 followers on Instagram because that was a big deal. I was focusing a lot on building followers, and I was doing more of the stuff that I can gain followers. I was looking at YouTube to know how to gain more followers.
But it is not true to say that the more followers you have, the more credible you are. I know a lot of designers who have less than 500 followers, but they are top-notch designers, creative artists. They are focusing more on building their portfolio than just getting followers.
So if you ask me, how do you get more followers, I will say do what the followers like. Just ask your followers, what do you like to see more on my work? If they tell you to go and do a dance on a random platform, you just go and dance.
Focus On Quality Content
But as we are focusing more on business platforms, you need to make sure that getting followers is not the best strategy that you can have on Instagram. It is not going to help you get more clients and cash. After all, clients are not going to give you work based on the number of followers. Your followers will not pay you either. So, the best way to leverage social media is to offer quality content as your work is the basis on which clients will pay you.
Therefore, I will advise that you focus on improving your design skills to get more clients rather than counting the number of followers you have. You should not focus on followers, but pay attention more on your quality of content, skills, and passion.
What If Instagram just decides that followers don’t mean anything to your account, which is going to happen very soon, because we know Instagram is testing this out? In that case, the number of followers is not going to help your cause.
Designhill: If we talk about other social media platforms, LinkedIn is one of the professional mediums which is gaining lots of popularity when it comes to gain clients. So, how does a graphic designer work out to build a portfolio on LinkedIn?
Blesson: I honestly don’t know the master strategy for building a portfolio on LinkedIn. But share more of the content that gives you credibility. For instance, write a post on how you should build a logo for your company, or how you should focus more on the visual identity than on the advertising.
Similarly, you can post content on brand packaging than just advertising. While posting such content, it gives you credibility. Also, you can always share your design work on LinkedIn.
I will suggest that you start building a portfolio on LinkedIn right away as it is still not a crowded platform. Here, you can build a community and credibility from scratch. When it comes to knowing more about your target audience, you have access to many case studies on LinkedIn and use them to your benefit.
Designhill: What is the ideal way to implement social media strategy for any business or a freelancer?
Blesson: To leverage social media as a designer, make sure that you have a great strategy. This is very important because as a lot of people fail on this front. But I would advise you to start slow. Do not go all out for next two months. If you’re just starting, it would be best to focus on two to three social media platforms and manage them well.
Also, to leverage social media, you should plan your content process well rather than just going with the flow. In addition to that, you should post consistently when you’re starting. Post consistent leads to stay top of your audience feed.
If you don’t post consistently on Instagram, your posts are going to be way down the list, which will not be helpful if you’re focusing on getting work from more clients. Then, make sure that you share quality content. Even if you post once a week, make sure that you post every week, but post the quality content.
And, most importantly, be confident. If you like your work, post it out, and look for feedback. That will help you gain more credibility. The next tip is to interact like humans do and avoid acting like a boy by saying hey there, this is my work, Like, Comment, Share, thanks and then go off.
Instead, you should keep engaging with people, build a connection, talk to your followers, and maybe reach out to people. You should network more on your social media platform, with your followers, host live streams, do webinars, do meetups lot of stuff, etc.
Designhill: Once you started as a graphic designer, how have you got evolved as a marvellous businessman over the years. If talking about someone who is starting as a graphic designer, how he/she can evolve from a designer to a business person on social media platforms?
Blesson: Well, first, you need to have this mindset that you are not just a freelancer, but you are an entrepreneur who is trying to build a brand out of it. Now, start dealing with every step of your creative journey as a business and set goals for the next five years. That’s how businesses work.
Secondly, focus on the smallest and finest details, schedule your day, and concentrate on how you take forward your work.
And then, the third tip would be to focus on marketing,advertising, and promotion. Have some specific marketing and promotion strategy and do networking.
Another Important Thing To Keep In Mind Is:
-to analyze your Instagram and Twitter traffic to leverage social media.
-You can use some tools to analyze your Instagram statistics that can help you to grow more efficiently by auditing your process and progress.
The analysis helps you know what is working for you, who are connecting with you on social, and what networks you should target more. You can also compare your social media presence with your competitors, etc to learn from your peers.
Also, note that copying the stuff that you shared on Facebook and pasting that on Instagram is not going to help. So prepare something that you can curate for the specific platform. That is something that you should be focusing a lot on when you’re posting on social media.
You should build a meaningful relationship with the audience. This means that both parties should give and take. Social media is a give-and-take platform.
Be somebody who’s giving out something of great value to the followers or community so that you can retain your clients. It also gives your clients and followers a reason to follow you.
So, these are the tips that Blesson offered to the graphic designer community. Pay heed to each advice and make your utmost efforts to turn social media as a strategy to win clients regularly.
Thanks Blesson for sharing your valuable experiences with us and helping wannabe graphic designers aka entrepreneurs on how to leverage social media for a better future.
Graphic designers look for various ways to get a consistent flow of work from clients. They should leverage social media as a strategy to win more clients for a steady career growth. Blesson Varghese advises the designers that they should first find their niche audience and then target them provide them value by posting meaningful content.
He advises to focus on quality content rather than the number of followers on social channels. It is also important to build a strong portfolio and continue to be creative.
Do you want to know more about Blesson’s Social media Strategy and learn how he has been leveraging social media platforms for business? If yes, then check out the full presentation shared by Blesson to educate his desinger buddies on the topic –how to leverage social media for your business. .