Freelance illustrators: embrace these Twitter strategies for maximum exposure
In a perfect world for freelance illustrators, your potential clients would be lined up, eagerly waiting to commission the next great example of your talent as an illustrator. In the real world, however, freelance illustrators have to actively market their skills to attract the right clients and keep the bills paid.
Twitter has become an increasingly attractive social media platform for freelance illustrators in recent years. A well-placed illustration can definitely stand out among thousands of 140-character-limit written tweets. On Twitter, illustrators can both market their own work and keep up with what is happening with others in the industry and other related professions.
How can freelance creatives get the most from Twitter? Here are some top strategies to consider:
Define your goals: Are you planning to use Twitter as a primary source of social media marketing for your freelance career? Is your primary goal to use the platform as a way to get more traffic to your website? Are you hoping to connect with other illustrators, or are you aiming to make your own presence more known in the wider community of creatives? Defining your main goals for Twitter use will point you in the general direction you should go.
Define your audience: While following fellow illustrators on Twitter may provide you with great tips and tricks of the trade, if your primary purpose for using Twitter is for marketing your own work, you must target your posts to future clients rather than fellow illustrators.
FlauntMyDesign offers this sage advice: “If you are a small player – and chances are you are – you are better off publishing content geared specifically towards people actually buying design work.”
Brent Galloway, a freelance graphic designer, puts it even more pointedly, saying:
“Making connections with other freelancers makes me feel great, but sales from clients are what help me live great.”
Use Your Professional Name: When setting up your Twitter account, remember that the name you use is how your followers and future clients will find you. Using your professional name helps to bolster your online presence and provides your followers and clients with a consistent branding message.
Find Subtle Ways to Showcase Your Talent: Use your Twitter banner or background, or even your avatar, as a place to showcase some of your artwork. An illustrated self-portrait may catch the eye of your potential audience more quickly than a photo.
Find Not-So-Subtle Ways to Showcase Your Talent: Tweeting images of your illustrations can create good buzz for your business. However, if you decide to tweet the actual image, be sure to include copyright information and your full name somewhere on the image. If possible, include your website URL there as well. This drives traffic to your website and hopefully helps reduce the chances of people scooping your illustrations and passing them off as their own.
Posting a simple link to your images may be a little less effective than actually posting the image, but you can increase the chances your link will be followed by providing a short, attention-grabbing description.
— Ted Goff (@bizcartoons) September 2, 2016
Link All Your Professional Social Media Accounts to Your Twitter Feed: Twitter can work as a great lead generator for your website and blog and even direct traffic to other social media accounts like your professional Facebook page. Linking your Twitter feeds to your other accounts creates a cascade marketing effect that ultimately earns you more followers and more clients.
Tweet without Crowing: It is acceptable to let the world know about projects you are working on and interesting things coming up through your pipeline. However, your Tweets should also contain things of interest that are not based solely on your own work. Following others and tweeting about interesting items in the industry will help establish your online presence and draw clients to your internet door.
Welcome Reviews: Tweeting links to good reviews of your work can help you build a solid reputation as a freelance illustrator. Once you have loyal followers, even tweeting a link to a bad review may prompt those followers to rush to your defense, giving you some added good press.
— Richard Parsons (@glosmagician) June 13, 2016
— Sonya Parra Art (@SonyaParraUK) June 13, 2016
Follow Other Creatives: To truly get the most from a Twitter account, you need to be as active as possible on the site. In addition to your own tweets, follow other creatives and interact as often as possible. For starters, you can check out the New York Film Academy’s “10 Essential Twitter Accounts for Illustrators”. As you find illustrators whose work you admire on Twitter, you can peruse their followers to find other like-minded illustrators and professionals in related fields.
Using these strategies will help you make the most of your marketing opportunities on Twitter. As you get comfortable with the platform, you will likely find other strategies that work for you as a freelance illustrator. Once you find your audience and begin sharing your talent globally, check out our global payment solutions for freelancers.