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I’ve slowly come to a realization that to be both visible and valuable as a creative professional, it’s important to be familiar with how to use social media to establish a unique voice. I’m in no way new to using social media, but based on what I’ve learned recently about it’s impact, I’ll be changing how I use it.

For the past 2 months I’ve been in “self-education” mode, learning the ins and outs of LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and learning to utilize YouTube in the near future.

Why am I getting serious about Social Media as a Creative Professional?

Well many of my past design clients continue to come back and ask for more services. More web features, press releases, fancier marketing materials and mobile websites so they don’t lose business. My clients today are fighting for their customers attention in the midst of a lot of competition in their industry. They want to grow their brands in a different way and need social media media to do it. For the businesses who have gained the understanding on how to use social media to increase audience engagement and grow their customer base – they’re winning. For the ones that haven’t as of yet they will soon be at a disadvantage.

As a professional creative I have to evolve and respond to the needs of previous clients and new ones. The traditional B2B business models and B2C marketing strategies aren’t working anymore. Clients contact me asking for proven solutions that can drive traffic to their business and increase audience engagement.

So…I had to make a decision 

EVOLVE or DIE.

So I started on my“social media self-education” and it has enlightened me to a simple truth: creatives need to start becoming practitioners of the knowledge in their own personal brand before they can sell it to their clients. Change is here and creative professionals need to figure out a way to stay relevant and valuable in the creative marketplace. But how can we serve clients if the knowledge of social media is not being personally embraced and implemented?

So I’m learning everything I can right now…

After watching hours of videos I’ve discovered that each social media platform has its own set of rules and user behaviors to take into consideration. There has to be a respect and understanding to the manner users create and consume content; the communication strategy that will work on one platform may not work on another. On my self-education journey I found 3 apps that I’m really into right now and learning the intricate details of how to use them.


1. Twitter App

Benefits: It’s all about headline reading
Weakness: If you are long winded, it’s not for you
Cost: Free
Compatible with: iOS and Android

Having first activated my Twitter account in 2015 I immediately got caught up in the hype: trying to find followers, getting caught up in its’ hashtag culture and had no strategy in using the tool. But like any social media platform, gaining successful results from Twitter takes time, effort and investment in continual education from experts.

News today is distributed in real time and the Twitter app offers huge value for “on-the-go” communications. The application can be accessed easily via web browser, mobile phone and tablet devices and its’ interface is not overwhelming at all. Twitter is not for the user accustomed to writing lengthy pieces of content in other platforms, but perfect for “straight to the point communication”. Although many complain about Twitter’s 140-character tweet limits, I feel it pushes users to become efficient storytellers working within these constraints.


2. Later App

Benefit: Schedule Your Content Ahead of Time
Weakness: Only Sets Schedules by the Hour; Doesn’t Post Automatically
Cost: Free (upgrade for premium features)
Compatible with: iOS and Android

Instagram, or better known as “IG” is a photo sharing app and is the most visually driven social media platform of all three mentioned. Instagram gives life to the motto “a picture is worth a thousand words”. It’s simple, visual and easy to learn. For communications professionals that need to communicate in a more visual way, Instagram is a unique tool that allows you to share quality content that users will want to engage with.

What I like about the Later App is that it allows you to save time by scheduling Instagram posts. Integration of the Later App with Instagram makes “automated posts” a little different in that the Later App cannot automatically post for you; this violates Instagram terms of service. The Later App provides mobile push notification to users when it’s time to post. Users are then walked through a process of posting their pre-written captions and hashtags into their Instagram post.


3. Hootsuite App

Benefit: Real Time Communications; Studying Audience Engagement
Weakness: I haven’t seen any as of yet
Cost: There’s a monthly fee
Compatible with: iOS and Android

HootSuite is a really powerful “social media management” tool that allows users to keep their eyes on their entire brand presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other platforms. It’s basically a dashboard interface that allows for the overview of brand interactions, social media content scheduling, profile mentions and account wall activity. You want to use an app like this if you are responsible for managing multiple social media profiles and need to stay engaged with multiple ones.

Users do have to be careful to always consider the audience that’s engaging with their content. Sometimes stumbling upon tools that allow for brand communication at scale, create complacency and a lack of appreciation for creating specific content for certain audiences. Some platforms will allow for much longer and richer posts with photos and videos where some have character limitations such as Twitter so keep this in mind.

 

 

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