It's no secret that social media has changed the way we communicate and connect with each other. What may be less well-known, however, is the way social media can be used to grow design businesses.
In fact, there are several reasons why design professionals should use social media to reach a wider audience, build their brand, and generate leads. Let's take a closer look at a few of those reasons, then go into a few tips and ground rules to help you start growing an audience.
3 Reasons to Add Social Media to Your Business Model
Reach a Wider Audience
With over 4.48 billion active social media users around the world, chances are good that your target audience is using one or more social media platforms. By creating and maintaining a presence on the platforms where your target audience is most active, you'll be able to reach them more easily and effectively than you would through other marketing channels.
So if you want more people to be aware of your business, getting started with social media is a no-brainer! It allows you to reach both potential customers and business partners.
Build Your Brand
Social media is also an excellent way to build your brand. When you post content that’s high-quality and relevant to your target audience, they’ll begin to see you as an expert in your field.
Additionally, social media platforms provide an opportunity for you to showcase your work in a way that is visually appealing and easy for people to share with their networks. As your work begins to circulate beyond your immediate circle of followers, you'll start to see an increase in leads and inquiries.
There’s another important aspect of building your brand. Studies show that an engaging and authentic social media presence boosts trust in your business, which increases your profitability. This can be done by humanizing what you post and being honest with your followers. For example, a behind-the-scenes Instagram post showing what you’re working on in Vectorworks shows authenticity and can help create a stronger relationship with your audience.
Social media can also be used to generate leads for your business. By sharing helpful tips, articles, case studies, and other types of content that speaks directly to the needs of your target audience, you can encourage people to visit your website or contact you for more information — ultimately resulting in more business for you.
Investing into the paid side of social media can give you a faster return on leads generated. Each platform has a way for you to promote content to a selected audience, giving you a more direct way to reach people who might be interested in your services.
The BASICS of Getting Started with Social Media for Your Business
What social media platforms should you use to advertise your business?
The idealistic answer is what you’d expect: all of them. This gives you access to the most potential customers. But that begs a larger question of how much effort you’re willing to put into your social media, bringing us to the point of thinking about your social media goals before starting an account.
You’re busy. Maybe you don’t want to dedicate tons of time to building a social media presence. That’s OK because you aren’t alone — it’s why we’re laying out some ground rules to help get you up and running without too much of a time commitment.
Here’s a handy graphic explaining each of the major platform’s general demographic, what kind of content performs best, how much time people spend on each platform on average, and what your strategy should look like.
Overall, it’s great to have a business page on each platform to boost your company’s search engine optimization (SEO), making it easier for potential customers to find you online. Even if you aren’t looking for potential customers, social media is a great way to present yourself as an industry thought leader and make yourself more reputable.
If you can’t find the time to create a page on each platform, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram are a great place to start.
At Vectorworks, we like to have a presence on many platforms to spread the word of good design. Our most popular platforms in order are Instagram, Facebook, then LinkedIn. We make sure to adjust our content depending on the platform to relate to the audience better.
How often do you need to post on social media?
Ultimately it comes down to your goals for the platform. If you want to grow a huge audience, you’ll want to post every day to keep followers coming back to consume your content. If your page is only meant to make it easier for people to find you, then you may post weekly, monthly, or quarterly about more important updates regarding your business.
In general, posting more is better with a couple of caveats. One, if you post too much, people could become irritated and unfollow you. Two, if you try to meet your posting quota with marginal content with little substance, people could actually lose trust in you. Posting just for the sake of posting accomplishes very little! The strategy you have for each platform will help you determine the number of posts you should do every month.
How do you know what to post on social media?
The first thing to keep in mind as you’re thinking about what to post is quite simple: what kind of content do you like to see?
In addition to showcasing your work (that’s the point of all this, right?), try posting a good mix of content that’s entertaining or informative. Generally, people enjoy following accounts that give them continuous value for their follow, whether that value be in the form of entertainment or information.
The Vectorworks social media team does a great job posting a mix of content such as customer stories, eye-catching designs, training opportunities, and articles covering topics that are trending in our industries. We use a content calendar to help stay organized and assign broad “themes” to each day to make scheduling easier. Mondays are motivational, Tuesdays are tech tips, Wednesday are before-and-after images, and so on. This allows us to go into each new month with a plan.
In her recent webinar, our Senior Content Marketing Manager Joselyn Wojtalewicz shared tips on how to use social media to better grow your business. One of her major topics was to create a content calendar so you can plan for what you want to post. This allows you to be more strategic with your posting habits instead of relying on inspiration to strike.
There are plenty of ways to grow your reach, like partnerships with influencers, tagging, highlights, stories, and more. Take a moment to see what your preferred platforms have to offer in terms of features that help you gain exposure.
As you can see, there are many good reasons why design professionals should use social media in their marketing efforts. Not only does social media allow you to reach a wider audience more easily and effectively than other marketing channels, but it can also help you build your brand and generate leads. If you're not already using social media to grow your business, now's the time to get started!