This week we looked at creating a promotional strategy to help us promote ourselves as designers. We looked at how helpful social media can be in this context. As designers, we can use social media to help us tell the stories behind our brands and design work. When used effectively social media can help us sell our work by opening up and helping to diversify the potential retail base. It also adds value to our brand and work by revealing secrete stories behind what we do. Social media can also be a great platform to build larger more diverse audiences and help network, providing new professional and creative opportunities.
Social Media Storytelling
I wanted to see how others approach storytelling on social media and found a great post by Jade Nguyen. Nguyen outlines social media storytelling as the process of using social media platforms to tell stories about your brand, product etc. It is highlighted that is important to not make the aim of your story to sell something as this can often come across as a ‘boring hack’ that audiences will generally not engage with. Rather the focus should be on exposing the audience to your brand. When telling your story on social media you should consider these 4 components:
- Emotion: Telling a story rather than simply stating facts about your work helps you to build an emotional connection with your audience. This is because while hearing a story many more areas of your brain activate and become engaged.
- Action: Building this emotional attachment with the audience can also impact their behaviour. An example of this was found in an experiment carried out by neuro-economist Paul Zak which found that after watching a video on an ill boy their brain displayed higher levels of oxytocin making them more inclined to donate to a stranger.
- Value: Through storytelling, you can also impact the audiences perceived value of something.
- Memory: Storytelling is also a way of presenting information in a more memorable form. This is why storytelling is a rich part of our culture.
I, therefore, need to consider the emotional impact being generated by the stories I tell on social media as well as the actions that I which to made from them and the value I am adding to my work. Finally, I need to consider how I am making my stories unique and memorable.
Example of effect Social Storytelling
Jon Contino is an illustrator and has been described as one of the rising stars on the graphic design scene. He is the founder and director of Contino an independent branding studio and uses Instagram to promote himself and tell the story of his work.
Above is a post by Contino which appears to be a throwback to a brand and album cover created for the band Incendiary. He includes thumbnail sketches and final outcomes in a series of images and talks about finding them while “digging through the archives”. This is a really effective storytelling post in my opinion as it displays Contino’s process and allows his audience to view his early sketches and compare them to the final result. This makes the post more memorable and engaging.
Contino combines this with posts of finished designs and mockups displaying his overall talents as a designer.
Likewise, Neil Secretario, an incredibly talented lettering artist and graphic designer based in Atlanta has also included some of his throwaway pieces in a short video that layers the lettering on top of its self. The post reads “The not-so-pretty sketches that people usually don’t see.” This is short and two the point. It makes the artist more relatable as he’s displaying work he is clearly not that proud of, even though I have to say they all look pretty incredible to me.
I think that adding posts like this can be a really effective way to build an audience as it is nice to see some of the process behind the work and not just the finished outcome.
Above is a post by Stephen Johnston, is an incredibly talented painter whose work we looked at in some detail in class this week. Johnston has marked himself and become very popular in America. He uses Instagram posts like the above to engage with his audience and display his work in process. Due to the hyper-realism of Johnston’s work, I think the works in progress appear even more impressive as it is clear the paintings are not images and the accuracy of the work is highlighted.
Think about timing
It is important to consider the times that you post content on social media as if you post at an off-peak time you’re going to reduce your chances of engagement significantly. As I primarily use Instagram to share my work I have researched the best times to post and found the following. A 2022 Statusbrew post written in October 2021 on the subjects suggests the following.
The worst day to post content is Sunday as the quality of Instagram engagement observed on a Sunday is the lowest compared to other weekdays. This is followed by Saturday.
11 AM – 1 PM is the best time to post on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
10 AM – 5 PM is the best time to post on Tuesday however a significant amount of engagement continues until 10 PM at night.
11 AM – 12 PM is the best time to post on Thursday. The lowest amount of engagement occurs between 12AM and 4 PM.
10 AM – 1 PM is the best time to post on Saturday.
9 AM – 4 PM is the best time to post on Sunday.
The three-pronged promotional strategy
We briefly discussed the three primary channels we should be considering when creating promotional material for ourselves. There are three areas to consider as displayed in the diagram above, these are Social, Gathering and Story. Social refers to the content we create for social media, this should tell our story however the story portion of the above diagram does not relate to this. The gathering is about displaying our process, getting into the detail of user flows etc. Due to the fact that this should be a lot more content-heavy in terms of writing a blog post is more appropriate for this such as medium or tumbler post. The story ties this all together and is found in our portfolio websites. It tells our audience more about us, displays project case studies and provides a point of contact. Our Portfolio websites should link all of our content together and a consistent tome and visual style should be maintained throughout.