Designers: Ten Steps to Make More Money with Social Media

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| November 27, 2015

Designers: Ten Steps to Make More Money with Social Media


There is simply no getting around this fact: If you’re serious about your design career, you’re going to need social media in some capacity. We’re not telling you that everything revolves around hubs like Facebook or Pinterest. At the end of the day, your design career evolves through a variety of avenues.

When we look back at 2015’s most successful social media marketing campaigns, we discover that they share more in common than you might think. They’re refreshing. They’re honest. They’re engaging.

As a designer, it’s your job to tell the digital story of your work in a unique, captivating way to drive prospective clients to your business. Social media offers up an incredible opportunity for you to do this. Storytelling in micro-moments.

That’s what social media is all about.

Unless you hire a professional marketer to promote your business on social media, you might have some outdated notions of digital storytelling. In this Behance Pop-up Lecture, Gary Vaynerchuk offers invaluable advice for how to share your story with the public in a modern, relevant way. Gary has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, GQ, Time Magazine, and Fortune Magazine for his innovative approach to modern marketing. Heads up: he also likes to use adult language during his lecture, so make sure and plug in some earbuds if you’re in a public space.

…social networks have created a gateway drug to awareness.

Now, we consume information at hyperspeed. The possibilities are limitless. And now that you know that, let’s explore ways you can use social media to increase your earnings as a designer.

Ten Ways Social Media Can Ignite Your Design Career

But. Now there are questions. Perhaps, too many questions. Which platform is best for you? Is Linkedin only for working professionals? Didn’t someone say Twitter is a dying platform for businesses?

Social media is a chaotic universe these days. Here are 10 things to try to bring some order to social media and your design career:

  1. Don’t spread yourself too thin: One of the best ways you can use social media to ignite your career involves understanding that you don’t need to be everywhere. Pick a few that you know you can take advantage of, and then, go from there. We recommend Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest if you’re only starting up on social media.
  2. Share, and don’t worry about selling too much: What you want to do is share things that draw attention to your work. What you don’t want to do is come off like a constant salesperson. Facebook’s algorithm hides posts that are annoying and unpopular, so to be successful on social media, you’ll want to start off by positioning yourself for popularity.
  3. Be open minded: Don’t follow someone just because they’re famous. Follow the people who truly connect to you on a professional, creative level. Start off by following people who can teach you something – that’s always a great place to begin.
  4. Build the best design portfolio possible: Sites like Behance are great for not only building a portfolio, but in terms of sharing and discussing portfolios with other designers. In a way, this is its own social network, but use it for connecting with other designers. Utilize social media sites that allow you to create portfolios, and take steps to build a portfolio that others want to see.
  5. Get recommendations (and return the favor): High-quality recommendations can definitely ignite your design career. Remember the key word is “quality”, and always return the favor. You may think that word of mouth press is in decline, but with our constantly connected world – the opposite is actually true.
  6. Use your apps: These days, it’s not just a matter of the right social media sites. It’s a matter of using the apps that will allow you to get the most out of those social media sites. Hootsuite is a great way to pre-program your social media content in an effective, quick way, as is SproutSocial.
  7. Look for ways to contribute: From becoming an active contributor to comment threads and Twitter conversations, to kicking in a blog on LinkedIn, look for ways to contribute. The design community thrives because we love to continuously give back to it. Try giving out free design advice, or even offer a free design or two to the public on social media and see what happens. Consider using Pinterest to show-off your work to avid DIY’ers and tantalize them into using your services for upgrades.
  8. Know how to time your posts: When are the right people going to notice your posts? This differs across platforms, so do some research. We particularly enjoy this infographic on the science behind social media timing.
  9. Find your niche: Social media hubs exist for every type of designer. Find yours. From Deviantart to Dribble – you can find a network of people to connect with, gain inspiration and referrals, and increase your earnings.
  10. Look for feedback: Connect to valuable people who are looking for feedback, and are willing to return the favor. Peer feedback is as important to life as a professional designer as instructor feedback is in school. Critiques exist to help you grow as an artist, and when you grow, you can offer more and earn more.


Social media is rich, elaborate, and endlessly useful. Get inspired, and use your inspiration to create the framework for new ideas. Promote your brand and show what matters in your work.

Tell your digital story and see what happens.


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