Last week, I had an opportunity to interact with a group of web designers and web developers from NairoBits school of digital design, the students will be graduating in December 2016 and part of the curriculum is to train them in soft skills and technical skills that will prepare them for the next job or internship. Our subject matter which I was very pleased to discuss with them was Self Marketing, the question I asked before starting my slides, is self marketing a bad idea? Take a brief moment to reflect, actually some felt that self marketing is about feeling full of pride and shouldn't be practiced we should be modest and things will fall in place. The norm among young people is that when you talk about yourself, what you have achieved and future plans, you end up with many labels which, if you pay attention to them you end up being sucked into the believe of thinking it is a bad idea, but either way we have been practicing self marketing everyday only that we aren't strategic with some intention in mind.
Of course the loudest noise should come from your work even though you still need to be proactive in broadcasting your work, sharing, collaborating and launching a product that will eventually create a great market segmentation for either being employed or self employed through client contracts as a freelancer.
Self marketing is a must learn skill and is if done strategically and well, it puts you on top of all the 'noise' experienced in the society and eventually many doors of opportunities emerges from your efforts. Self marketing relates to personal branding, even though for personal branding is achieved through the connection of how you see yourself in totality and how other people perceive you. While as for self Marketing we are talking about taking strategic positions in broadcasting your self especially your work, values, experience, future plan, skills etc to attract the next opportunity which is also clear to you without waiting for any random opportunities.
Let us look at three things about the CREATIVES
1. Some of us say what we can/ can’t do.
2. A few of us do what we say.
3. A good number believe in ourselves, what we say and DO.
The question is where do you fall?
There are many things you can do for Self Marketing, below is a list that I compiled focusing on utilizing the world of internet.
10 things to Master in SELF MARKETING strategy as a creative.
1. Create digital Footprint on social media
The world of social media is wide and there are many platforms to engage with from Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Blogging just to mention but a few. My take, you don't have to be in all, actually it is overwhelming if you sign up without a strategy for content creation and interaction. I recommend starting slow with at least two or a maximum of three platforms, but make sure you draw a strategy on how you will be active through content creation.
2. Master / map your Career.
To market yourself effectively you need to know where you want to land in your career destination. Mapping is a process of acquiring the relevant education for the career choice, defining goals, having a vision, defining your values, nurturing your interest and amplifying your skills.
3. Work on your elevator pitch
You never know when you will meet the potential client or employer. Having mentioned that we live in 'noisy' society everybody tends to be very busy and in a rush especially developed town. An elevator pitch is this one brief statement about you, what you do and why you do it said in not more than one minute. Practice and have one in store to use when appropriate and remember authenticity rule the game.
4. Work on your profile or Biography
There are three types of bio's that I know of namely micro bio used in your social media platforms like Twitter account, Short bio and a long bio. I recommend you have all the three and use them appropriately this is part of self marketing where people get to know you even better. Here is a sample of my bio as written by Acumen East Africa regional fellowship selection conference.
5. Choose your Avatar with care
By definition an Avatar is a graphical representation of you in the form of an icon which can be in two or three dimensions. This can be in the form of a photo used to represent you on an online platform, choose your profile photos with care because they also carry a great weight in your personal marketing of who you are and an assumption of your character and personality. You don't want to miss that opportunity because of misinterpretation of what the client or company might be getting themselves into.
6. Create and update your portfolio
Creating an online portfolio for example on Behance.net is one thing, but updating it periodically will keep your followers engaged with your work. Part of self marketing is in having structured updates to have your content on top of the noise or else nobody will bother if you ever existed as a creative ( photographer, graphic designer, web developers, musicians etc.) Check out my Behance portfolio at www.behance.net/wilsenx
7. Work on your CV and cover letter
Traditional CV versus, info-graphic CV, which way to go? In some instance the info-graphic CV might be ideal, but before you decide make sure you do it right and also understand the type of job you are applying for and to whom are you going to share it with. Having a traditional CV won't hurt either and I recommend having it in place even if you are a seasoned graphic designer it comes also handy when you are applying for opportunities beyond the scope of your work like fellowships.
8. Build a community around your work & remember to follow others. You will need the referrals!
Building a community is achieved through having platforms that will either educate, entertain or inform your followers in a structured manner, for example, having a Facebook group page that connects the creative with the latest opportunities around their field, etc. Operating in a solo mode doesn't attract any community you have to follow other influencers in your field, join a community of like minded people, comment on post and don't shy from sharing what you think will be beneficial to your wider community.
9. Go Out and Meet People
As a creative sitting the entire day behind your computer doesn't guarantee your progress. There are a lot of events that you can meet other creative, just remember inspiration is also found beyond the screen of your laptop or mobile phone. In this creative space or hubs you might find your next collaborator, client or employer and will go a long way in achieving mastery of your art.
10. Work on a self paced project & Never STOP learning! Launch & Sell
One of the ways of building a portfolio in through working on self assignments that are geared toward launching and selling the product. Invest in your time wisely, you can work on a probono assignment with a view of learning and building your portfolio for the pricing. The important skill to learn in this 'noisy' society is learning to learn (LL) which is mastery of learning anything you want without falling into the trap of procrastination.
Lastly, self marketing is must learn skill for every young person who want to shape their future to the right career paths and the ideal opportunities for their personal growth.