Maximising social media to promote your portfolio
Online profiles, such as here on KFTV, are a great way of promoting yourself on a platform where professionalism is key - but, alongside a professional page with vetted credentials, other things can be done online to assure your work is seen by as many potential new clients as possible. Emma Norton explains.
Social networks such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook can be great tools to promote your work online and build contacts – if done correctly.
With that in mind, there are a few important facts to be aware of to help maximise the effectiveness of your social media, and help to promote your work online.
Make sure your portfolio is professional
First off, make sure that you have your online portfolio or showreel looking spick and span. You can create a sleek personal website in very little time using tools such as Squarespace and Carbonmade. Alternatively, you can create a blog using sites like WordPress or Tumblr, through which you can connect to other bloggers. Video sharing sites such as Vimeo and YouTube can also act as standalone showreels, so you don’t have to go to the fuss of designing a blog or website.
Once your showreel or portfolio is set up, you can branch out to other social media platforms to grow your professional network and share your work further.
Decide on your online identity
You will need to make a decision about your online identity – are you using your photo and name to build a personal network, or your film company logo and name to promote your brand? In order to build a strong online identity, it’s usually better to use one or the other.
Also, think about how your social media profiles will look. Like your portfolio, blog or website, they should be professional. Make sure your bio is concise and clear, and includes a link to your website or showreel. Don’t use pixelated logos, stretched photos or clashing colours, and choose an appropriate avatar or profile picture.
Think about your content and audience
What kind of content will you be regularly sharing? Your social media accounts will only be effective if you post quality content regularly.
Always think about who your audience is – why should they follow you, what can your content offer to keep them interested? If all you post about is yourself, you are unlikely to build an audience very fast (unless you lead a particularly fascinating life) nor will they be the people who would hire you or your company in the future.
Instead, you should aim to post a variety of different content. For example, if you work in VFX, you could use Twitter to follow industry leaders and engage with their work.
Think about sharing content that would appeal to VFX industry colleagues or those just starting out. Start conversations, or comment on others’ - don’t be afraid to voice your professional experiences and opinions - though try to remain positive, or contribute constructive criticism.
Share art and work that inspires you. Where possible, attend industry events and use related hashtags. If you’re interested in a particular niche or area of the VFX industry, then you may wish to hone in on that regularly as well.
If you are a filmmaker who frequently travels for work, try using a platform like Instagram to show off your stills and your filming locations. There are a number of filmmakers who have great Instagram profiles, for example:
Ben Richards (Cinematographer)
Marc Silver (Documentary filmmaker)
Philip Bloom (Filmmaker & cinematographer)
Many filmmakers share Instagram links on Twitter, and this can be a good way of linking your two accounts and building followers on both platforms. Avoid linking Twitter and Facebook though, because the character limit on Twitter ends up making cross-posts look strange and unappealing.
Avoid mixing the personal and the professional
On the whole, it is best to keep professional and personal social media accounts very much separate. If you use Facebook for talking to friends and it’s full of embarrassing old photos, don’t start using it as a professional account – start a fresh, create a Facebook “page” or use another platform.
It’s also worth taking a look at your privacy settings on any non-professional accounts – it may not be in your best interests if a potential client can access your Instagram via a professional Twitter account, only to see a selection of candid selfies!
Don’t spam people. For example, if you’ve got a new showreel or film project to promote, don’t start tweeting to every person who follows you, unless you’ve engaged with them before and you think they may be genuinely interested. Spamming people on social media is going to lose you followers and likes, it’s the digital equivalent of cold calling and it’s not going to do you any favours.
Similarly, don’t highjack popular hashtags to try and gain exposure, unless you believe that there is a real link between the hashtag and the content of your post.
Measure your success
Both Twitter and Facebook now have built-in, free analytics tools that you can use to measure the impact of your posts. This is a really useful way to gauge how popular your content is, so you can see which types of posts do best.
Usually, posts that contain images gain the most attention – on Facebook, posting content alongside an image is absolutely key, and it’s becoming more important on Twitter now as well.
Using video and GIFs can also help to draw attention to your posts. It’s also worth noting that Facebook promotes its own platform’s video content more readily than outside links – so it may be worth uploading your video directly to Facebook, rather than using Youtube or Vimeo URLs.
Additionally, paying to promote your posts on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram can help to drive the engagement and reach of your content. Facebook’s Edgerank algorithm (which controls what is shown on a user’s news feed) will share more of your content with your page “fans” if you pay for promoted posts.
Keep building your network
Ultimately, it’s important to remember that social media is intended to be a way for people to socialise and engage with others online. Your social media networks will only be as good as the content you share, and a popular and successful account doesn’t usually form overnight. Working to make your social media profile stand out from the crowd, to regularly offer content that’s original and interesting, is the best way to get noticed.