We all know the importance of social media and the role it increasingly plays in both business and pleasure these days. If you are a web designer, chances are that you already have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Dribbble, Pinterest and/or LinkedIn but it may be worth your while getting yourself and your work known on one or more of the growing social networks listed below.
Many of these new social media sites listed focus on a smaller groups with shared interests and expertise allowing you to cut through all the noise prevalent on many social networks. If you are looking to expand your online presence and get the most from your marketing dollars or time networking online, here are a few of the newest and best social platforms and tools for you to consider.
Whilst web designers and developers can work anywhere it is still the case that many clients like to work with local professionals even if they never actually meet them face to face. Nextdoor is a social media service that connects you with those local to you allowing for a more reality based interaction. If you are aiming to build your reputation in your local area then this can be a great way to do it online.
The goal of Branch.com is to make conversations in social media more relevant and meaningful. The difference between simply using Twitter and using Branch with Twitter is the ability to focus a conversation to a particular topic. We’ve all seen an interesting subject come up and soon have 100 useless, ridiculous comments for every 10 that we actually want to read. Branch users can invite others to participate in a particular conversation, saving everyone the time and effort of reading nonsense. For example, here is current discussion about whether flat web design is a fad.
This service looks more useful for connecting with, and learning from, other web designers and developers rather than an opportunity to find clients and win business.
If you like Facebook but hate the lack of privacy then Sgrouples may be a better option. Sgrouples is focused on privacy and allows groups to communicate without spying or trolling. You can set up a group and invite who you wish making it a great platform for networking and sharing knowledge. It can also take content from other social sites to streamline postings.
Flipboard may not look like a social networking tool on the face of it but it is a great place for writers and designers to show off their talents and attract followers by setting up a Flipboard magazine. Any business or individual can set up a a magazine dedicated to their industry, interests or portfolio and gain followers.
I personally use it on my ipad and iphone to collate all my content from various different sources (newspapers, twitter, photographers, web design companies etc) as I have found no better apps for aggregating and displaying images, videos and text. If you post quality visual content you are sure to get a steady stream of new followers (and potential clients). It is also a very useful way of collating all your web design inspiration images and sources. An example of how it can be used to grow your profile can be seen from this web design flipboard magazine set up by Insulabit (screen shot below).
This tool is technically a ‘knowledgebase’ rather than a social media platform according to their own website but it’s emphasis on collecting and sharing multimedia content and integration with the major social network sites mean it is worth looking it. Although it is not free (from $250 per month for 25 users) it could suit larger design agencies that want to collaborate with disparate team members and clients. Below is a list of its features taken from its website.
Although this community site was set up as a way to share great content about inbound marketing (SEO, SEO, social media, content marketing, conversion rate optimization) there are plenty of web designers using it to share great content and starting discussions. It integrates with Twitter and currently has around 22,000 members having been launched in February 2012 by Rand Fishkin, Co-founder of SEOmoz and Dharmesh Shah, Co-founder at Hubspot. Experts are encouraged to share their knowledge for the betterment of the community and there seems to be plenty of web design discussions going on and opportunities to network with fellow designers and developers .
Other Tools To Raise Your Profile & Find Work on Facebook & Twitter
Now you have seen some alternatives to the established social networks that could increase your profile as a web designer or developer I would also like to list a few tools should also help you finding and attracting clients on Twitter and Facebook.
Tagboard is a helpful tool to help you monitor search terms that are important to you and your business across multiple social media platforms (twitter, facebook, instagram, google+). It is also very good at finding new potential clients.
If you type your job title or skills you are very likely to come across people who are interested in paying for your expertise. For example, below is a screenshot of the top few results after I did a search for the tag ‘web designers’.
As you can see this search has brought up several people actively looking for a web designer and if you see someone that you want to reply to you can do that directly from Tagboard itself. The site is surprisingly fast and another major time saver.
Swayy is a tool that enables you to quickly find useful content and have it all displayed on an easy to read dashboard format that also allows you to share it easily. Once you read something that interests you, click a button at the bottom of the article and instantly share it across several different social sites at times you designate yourself. The advantage of this is that you can find content from multiple sites and share it across multiple social networks without leaving the site – this is a real time saver for those already sharing content to increase their following and profile.
Social Oomph is another great time saver if you share content over multiple social networks. The list of features is too long to list here but it basically allows you to automate the posting of content across twitter, facebook, linkedin, wordpress and tumblr. It also offers a fast and intuitive way to find and manage those with similar interests.