Over the past year and a half, the percentage of new clients and new projects coming in, is down by 20%, so using email marketing and social media is more important than ever.
First I want to explain how to use LinkedIn.com to it’s advantage.
You start by creating a profile and loading it up with all the important details, such as, links to your personal or company website and/or blog, the various companies you’ve worked for, and the organizations you belong to. Then you might want to search for people you know, clients you currently have, friends who may be able to help you, and co-workers from previous companies. Then you might do a search on companies or target job descriptions, such as Art Directors or Creative Directors in a 25 mile radius. You can invite them to connect, by sending them a message, and be sure to personalize it by complimenting them on their work or why you’re contacting them.
Another wonderful feature on LinkedIn is the groups. I belong to many groups, some are green, sustainability, green-thinking, Nature Conservancy, National Geographic Society, Non-Profit Network, and some are graphic design or marketing and advertising groups. There are groups for music and entertainment, Apple, mac, and alumni for the schools you attended. You can search in groups for whatever interests you, and request to join. In each of these groups, there are hundreds or thousands of members. So if you post a discussion or a job, you have the potential to reach so many people at once. For example, I just posted a job description that I was looking for new clients and projects and by posting it within each group I belong to, who knows how many might read it. I’ve also posted discussions, and sometimes depending on just the right topic or headline, you can send hundreds of people to read your post and that’s also a wonderful way for people to get to know you.
Once you are a member of a group, you can also participate in a discussion posted by another member, and when you comment, all the people following that discussion can see your comment and it becomes another way for people to know who you are. You can also connect with people who are within your group, by selecting them and marking the group you both have in common.
Facebook is another great way to get your name, company, or cause out there. In addition to having a person profile, so you can chat with friends and family, you can create company pages and invite people to become fans of your company. You can have as many company pages as you have companies, but only one profile page is allowed.
My cause with Mary Jo Rhodes, Frogs Are Green, has both a Facebook company page, so we can keep people informed of our latest news, products and posts, and a cause page. Until we become a non-profit organization (which we hope to establish in 2010) we’ve designated that donations go to Amphibian Ark.
Twitter is a fascinating addition to social media. It’s amazing how you can keep up to date on a topic around the world instantly. Most news items that I see on Twitter, aren’t even on the TV news yet. I remember when that plane made an emergency landing on the Hudson River and I saw that news clip on Twitter. I ran into the living room to watch the TV news and it didn’t come on until at least 1/2 hour later. Then of course it dominated the news.
You can also customize your Twitter design by altering the background picture and the style colors of the page. I have two Twitter accounts, one for my design company which is @sndinc and one for all things “green” including the Frogs Are Green blog, @greeninnature.
It’s also wonderful now that you can hook up your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts together. So a posting on one, will automatically be seen on the other two.
For the past few years, I have been emailing out a newsletter to my client base, as well as potential clients. I use Constant Contact and find this is a valuable resource. I have also used it for various clients who’s websites I’ve designed and maintain. When you’re a designer and constantly competing against so many, across so many industries, I find that you must keep people informed on what you’re latest projects are. Even if you designed a few book covers for someone, it doesn’t mean he/she may not be interested in seeing your website design. They may know someone who is looking and it helps to refresh their memory of you, when they may be assigning work.
I would say that so long as you don’t send it out too often, you’re going to keep these people watching and clicking. To see some of my clients newsletters, click here, and to read mine, click here and be sure to sign up if interested!
The recent earthquake crisis in Haiti, really showed us the power of social media. The fact that people could post messages and pictures when trying to locate loved ones, was so resourceful. For those of us here in the USA and others around the world, being able to follow news reporters for the latest details, or organizations for updates helped us all feel connected.
Today, we cannot survive without these tools.