In the creative world, it can be quite difficult to find time to market yourself. Many of us spend every moment of our free time simply trying to get a project time within the timeframe we promised. Some of us work from home with kids and a spouse often causing distractions. Some of us spend all day at a job then come home at night to our freelance work. As such, most creative professionals have very little time to spend on social media, even if it is a key way to market yourself.
This being said, social media marketing is still an important part of gaining new clients, making a name for yourself, and building valuable connections. You simply need to set aside time each week for social media. And one of the most important social media accounts that a web designer, graphic designer, musician, fine artist, photographer, or even a craft artist can have is LinkedIn. While Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or other social sites are definitely important, a LinkedIn account is where you can really show your professional side. And it’s important for connecting with other professionals looking for your services. Check out our post on creative resume templates, for more inspiration.
Just make sure to make the most of your LinkedIn profile as a creative by following some important tips:
Hopefully you already have a list of top keywords with which you have optimized your name or at least your website. If not, then create a list. Write down as many terms you can think of that clients may use when searching for your services online. Make sure they are long-tail keywords, meaning that they are at least two, and preferrably, three or four word phrases. Then include the top ones in your LinkedIn profile. For instance, any descriptions of projects or your list of skills are good places to include some keywords.
Start with a Strong Headline
Another excellent place for your top keyword or two is in your headline, also known as the summary. Make sure your headline not only includes your top keyword phrase but is also helps you stand out. What is your speciality? What do you do better than other graphic designers, painters, illustrators, performers, etc?
Strengthening your headline also includes making sure your profile picture portrays you as a professional in your field. Now, keep in mind that as a creative professional, you do have a little more creative license in your profile picture. But this still doesn’t mean that you should use a snapshot of you with a beer in your hand or in your swimsuit on the lake. You want your picture to show that you are serious about your career and work, not a flaky freelancer who can’t get it together enough to even upload a decent picture of yourself.
Get as Detailed as Possible
In completing your profile, fill in as many categories as possible that LinkedIn provides. If you only had time to fill in the basics when you first opened your LinkedIn account, be sure to complete it when you have time. Think of LinkedIn as a digital Curriculum Vitae. Prospective clients want to know as much about you as possible. And if you only have 30 minutes a week to dedicate to social media, then spend 15 minutes of that time on filling out your profile until you feel it is complete.
Now LinkedIn has a section for displaying publications. This is an excellent place for including links to any works of yours published both online and offline. Even with offline publications, try to include a link, such as the Amazon page for a printed book.
Customize Your LinkedIn URL
Customizing your LinkedIn URL can be a pain if you have had your profile awhile. However, it’s an excellent way to help clients find you easier when they don’t have your link immediately accessible. Just as with Facebook and Google+, your URL can include your name – www.linkedin.com/in/yourname.
To customize your LinkedIn URL, click on “Edit Profile” either in the drop-down menu under the Profile tab at the top of the page or in your headline box when logged into your profile. Once you are in editing mode, you’ll see your URL in a tiny, almost indistinguishable font at the bottom of your headline box. Click on the “Edit” link next to that URL.
Once you click on that almost unnoticeable “Edit” button, you’ll see a box on the right side of the page with “Your Current URL” as one of the editable options. Click on the link titled “Edit your public profile URL”.
Finally, a box will pop up in which you can enter your name as your profile URL.
Post Updates with Images
LinkedIn is not like Twitter. You will end up annoying connections if you post several times a day. Posting an update once or twice a week is sufficient and will let connections know that you stay active on your account. But what should you, as a creative, post?
If you have a blog, include the title plus the URL for your most popular blog posts. Or post a link to an article that you found interesting. Just keep your updates professional, since LinkedIn is more of a business social media. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can’t include humor – just make sure that it either is a part of your portfolio or that it relates to the professional world. Keep your updates clean.
Above all, try to include images in as many of your updates as possible. They will help you stand out in the LinkedIn stream of updates and also encourage more clicks. The only annoying part of including images is that you can only upload them as a file – no easy image selections attached to a link as with Google+ or Facebook.
Advertise Your LinkedIn Profile
One of the best ways for those in the creative industries to market themselves is through social media. But, social media won’t do much for you if you don’t advertise what you have, and letting everyone know that there are multiple avenues for them to research you makes you that much more accessible. So, on your website or blog, make sure to include a LinkedIn button on every page. Do the same with your email signature – make sure to create a link for our LinkedIn profile (preferrably with the anchor text as “LinkedIn” or “Connect on LinkedIn”).
LinkedIn now has this nifty little button you can copy and paste in several different sizes. You can place it on your blog or in your email quite easily. You may have noticed it when you went in to edit your URL. Just underneath the box that on the right titled “Your current URL”, you will see “Profile Badges”. Simply click on the “Create a profile badge” link to see the different sizes with HTML you can copy and paste.
Best LinkedInGroups for Creative Professionals
LinkedIn created groups as a way to make connections that lead to clients, get feedback on your own projects, ask advice when you are stumped, and remain up-to-date on the latest news and technology. The unfortunate side to groups is that they attract a lot of spam, which can be frustrating to wade through, to say the least. The design of LinkedIn groups is also not exactly intuitive. It takes lots of time to wade through posts and create posts.
However, your involvement in the right LinkedIn groups can make you much more visible on Google, especially if you include your keywords. There’s not a “perfect” list of groups for creative professionals, but the following list will help you get started. Your best bet is to keep signing up for groups until you find the ones that provide you with the most helpful connections and information. To do so, simply select “Groups” from the search bar drop down menu and enter keywords related to your artistic industry.
- Freelance Graphic and Web Designers – this open group includes lots of posts for graphic and web design work.
- ART Professionals World-wide – an open group for anyone in the art field.
- Creative Designers and Writers – this is a good open group for both writers and designers.
- WordPress Web Designers – this private group is for WordPress developers looking for advice and support.
- Music & Entertainment Professionals – a private group for those in fields of music, TV, film, or any other related field.
- Creative Design Pros – an open group for any creative professional to garner advice and find clients.
- Music Industry Professionals – this private group is for those in the music industry only.
- End-to-End Web Development – if you need help or advice with anything in development, this open group is a great place to find it.
- CSS3/ HTML5 The future of front end – this open group is quite active and a good place for finding advice in CSS or HTML5.
- Web Design – this is a very active private group where many designers, including industry leaders, share ideas and ask questions.
- Textile Designers – a private group for those designers involved in fabrics, embroidery, screen printing, interiors, and more.
- AIGA: The Professional Association for Design – this public group is very active and includes lots of excellent ideas and questions from professionals in the world of design.
- Contemporary Art Network Group – a now public group for those seeking advice and connections in the world of art.
- Museum and Art Galleries – an active private group for individuals and organizations in the field of art and craft.
- Web Design and Development Professionals – this group was created for web designers, web developers, and web masters.
Do you have a LinkedIn group you would recommend to fellow creatives? Or LinkedIn advice? Feel free to share below!