Creative businesses - turn your social media feed into your portfolio
13 JUL 20160
We don't always think about it, but creativity and imagination fuel many of the industries and businesses we depend on. Design studios of the graphic, software, or fashion variety and media services spring to mind most immediately of course, but what about architecture and engineering firms? Those are businesses that depend on picturing something in the mind's eye and bringing it into reality. Catering services, restaurants, artisnal bakeries and craft brewers all operate on a kind of creative currency, selling an image or lifestyle right along with the food. There are businesses that live or die by their ability to generate new ideas! They may sell different products and serve different markets, but they all depend on thinking up something and making it happen!
So why are our imaginations so limited when it comes to our social media feeds?
Too many businesses, even those with a creative bent, use their social media profiles like a blunt instrument. They have a LinkedIn page they haven't touched in ages with some basic information on it (that may or may not be out of date). They have a Twitter profile that just sort of exists for the sake of existing (and making sure nobody makes a joke account with their name). Maybe they update occasionally with some news, or post some lame advertisement nobody pays any attention to.
But your social media feed can be so much more. It can be your business portfolio, a catalog of your on-going work, a living resume showing your business do what it does best in real-time. It can be a backstage pass for interested customers. A way of communicating with your most curious customers, a running DVD commentary for everything you do.
The good news is this isn't something that takes a ton of effort. All you need to do is share something everyday.
Before calling it quits, post some small update on what you've worked on throughout the day. It can be a new design your tinkering with, a small story about something you did, an interesting insight you had during the day, almost anything. If you really didn't do anything worth mentioning in a day, talk about a previous project, something you worked on years ago.
Your updates don't have to be perfect or revolutionary, they just need to show something you've done that is worth mentioning. That said, stay on task and always do the sniff test before posting. If you have something that you think might be interesting for someone else to see or read, post on. If your thinking about uploading a picture of that awesome burrito you had for lunch, maybe find something better to do with your time.
Obviously, don't use this as an excuse to overshare. It's good to have a breezy, conversational tone on social media (to you know, be social) but remember that you're still a professional representing your business. Don't shoot your mouth off about things you can't back up, contracts you don't have yet, or difficult customers. Never put yourself in a position where something can come back to bite you.
One small update isn't much, but if you stick with it, soon you'll have a week of updates. Then a month. Then a year. Pretty soon your feed doesn't look like a the silent graveyard it used to, or a bunch of random moments. It looks like a map. A map of where you've been and a compass towards where you're going.
You're putting this on display because you want people to see it. Because constantly keeping yourself in the eye and mind your target audience/customer helps build trust and authority. Because this is a more organic way to grow the value of your name and brand loyalty among your tribe than relying on ad blitzes. Because people love to see how something is made and feel like they're in on the secret.
But you're also doing it for yourself. Because when you're knee deep in the business of your business all day, everyday, it can be easy to lose track of your accomplishments. You can forget just how much you got done yesterday, last week, in the past year. Having an easily browsable record of the most interesting, funny, or strange moment of your work life keeps things in perspective. You can only focus on where you're going if you know where you've been.