A couple of weeks ago I was invited by Faculty of Arts, University of Brighton to talk to final year product design students about using social media to promote themselves.
I talked about how since I set up my business two years ago, I have eschewed traditional PR methods in favour of using Twitter (@thFuturePerfect), Facebook and blogging. And how that had not only been more fruitful in terms of driving sales and raising the profile of The Future Perfect Company, but that the ability to interact with my potential customers was invaluable in terms of developing the brand.
Given the benefits I have found, could these students, I wondered use social media to similarly launch themselves at the Degree Show next year?
What was immediately striking to me was that whilst this cohort of 20-somethings used Facebook regularly, most of them had not thought about using it to promote themselves as designers.
Indeed one student admitted to Facebook fatigue, asking me whether I was so keen on social media because I was a relative newbie to the medium. And I have to say I had to think carefully about that. Was I possessed of a kind of beginner’s zeal?
I must admit to being very enthusiastic about social media but mostly because as a lawyer I had spent 20 years using traditional marketing methods. Legal marketing is mostly driven by personal connections and in law firms often more senior partners act as gatekeepers to existing client relationships – which makes it very difficult for more junior lawyers to develop their own client base. Social media on the other hand flattens traditional and social hierarchies – everyone is equal and accessible. That makes it a perfect medium for the new business – or the graduate launching into the design world.
I hope I have convinced my audience to give social media a go and to take it seriously as a marketing tool.
(And isn’t there something rather ironic about our older customers being more social media savvy than the younger generation!?)