How Social Network Sites Help My Freelance Business
I was asked to make a post on how social networking sites especially LinkedIn and Behance Network helped my freelance business, so here it is.
My blog is where I introduce my random thoughts and designs. I started it just for fun because back then I was working as in-house designer at a bank, where almost none of my works could be revealed outside no matter how good design I made, which caused a big frustration for a designer like me. I wanted to show something to the world and get feedback from people and then I found a great blog theme on WordPress for free. Back then I only had this WordPress account and Flickr. It was just for fun showing stuff I made, but gradually more and more people visited my blog and after about a year or so since I started blogging, I got job offers and project invitations. I was working for a bank and couldn’t receive any offers as long as I was there, so I declined all the offers. I finally quit the job when I was convinced to earn enough to support my family by freelancing (July 2011). And here I am.
I needed somewhere to organize my random designs on my blog. Luckily Behance featured one of my concept designs and I got a lot of traffic to the post. Smashing Magazine, Yanko Design and many other design websites featured it, too, so now the images of their sites appear very often on Google Image Search, which is one of the main source of visitors to my blog now. On the other hand, as I completed projects with my clients, I added my works on Behance as my professional portfolios.
When I receive calls via Behance, they are often interested in involving me as a designer in their projects. They have some particular tastes for their products/websites that match my designs on Behance.
Prosite is an online portfolio site where visitors can focus on viewing one’s works and profiles. Prosite and Flickr are the only social networking sites that cost every month, but I believe they are worth it.
I started LinkedIn because I needed my professional network to see my profile and resume. My career is pretty weird and different from other designers and I thought it could be one advantage. Before LinkedIn I had joined some other Japanese only career sites, but none of them worked like the way LinkedIn does.
When I get connection invitations through LinkedIn, those people have usually already seen my works somewhere else, visit my blog and then find me on LinkedIn for a professional network connection. Many of them are companies and startups. Compared to Behance Network, clients read carefully my career path before calling me, which is a good sign because they don’t seek quick solutions but long term business relationships.
I use this site as somewhere I can express myself more freely than on my blog. So I upload my everyday scenes as well as the images for my blog. For professional purpose, I take advantage of the Flickr’s sets and collections to organize my designs differently than Behance. For example on Behance images are categorized only by projects, but on Flickr you can put the same images on various sets. So you can freely create sets for visitors to be able to find photos easily.
I don’t get a call for a job through Flickr, but this site could be used for a quick view of my works, which sometimes I do.
On Twitter I’m like talking to myself with trivial ideas and instant inspirations in my daily life that I don’t make a post of for my blog. By connecting it with my blog I’m gradually getting more and more followers, so recently I use Twitter for notifying blog updates.
Surprisingly via Twitter I have got projects a few times. But the most useful moment with Twitter was when I was visiting Cupertino, CA. I really liked the city and just tweeted “I really don’t wanna go back to Japan”, someone who read the tweet replied and I got an interview with her on the next day! I couldn’t make it in the interview, but I still get in touch with her.
Why not YouTube? I like the neater UI and the quality of the movies. Here I upload the movies/animation that include my futuristic concepts so that people can quickly view my works. I’m dreaming of a chance to design future devices for Hollywood movies, so sometime I get caught by their eyes hopefully.
Through Vimeo I never had a chance of a job, but as an introduction of your profile, it can be a great way.
Whatever you post on wherever social networking site, you represent nobody else. If you are a freelancer, you have to be a brand that stands out among thousands of other competitors. The rest of what I want to say is completely expressed in this Steve Jobs’ video, so if you have never watched it, just do it!