Guest Blog

Aug 22

Written by: Guest Author
8/22/2013 5:33 AM  RssIcon

As a newcomer to the surface design industry, one of the biggest challenges for me was getting noticed. I sent out countless emails to manufacturers with my best work, but rarely heard back. I needed to find a way to get myself in front of the right people, and found that exhibiting at SURTEX was the way to do it.

I decided to do anything and everything to get myself noticed before the show, and I couldn't have done this without the use of social media. Here are some tips on how to work social media to your advantage:

Set up any and every social media platform

It’s absolutely essential to have an online presence, ideally a website or a portfolio on a site like Behance. Promote yourself on Twitter and Facebook, and set up Pinterest and LinkedIn accounts.

Stay active and participate (with hashtags!)

The internet is an excellent way to connect with others in your field, so follow your dream clients and designers you admire, and it will open you up to a wealth of information. You don’t have to post every day, but share relevant content frequently. If you’re working on a press kit, post some helpful links on your twitter page to share with others. If you’ve got some new work or products available, take a photo with Instagram and post it on your Facebook page! And remember to use hashtags like #SURTEX — I met a ton of other exhibitors and attendees by searching for other people using that hashtag.

Set yourself apart
Come up with an idea for promoting yourself and go for it! I created a promo video which I posted on Youtube, and shared the link on my website, Facebook and Twitter pages, and the response was excellent. People shared it around and eventually it made its way onto the SURTEX Youtube channel, and even onto the SURTEX homepage. Not only was it great for promotion, it was a great conversation starter at the show!

Be part of the online community
In addition to these platforms, LinkedIn is an invaluable resource for SURTEX prep. Not only can you research buyers, but SURTEX has a discussion board for first-time exhibitors where you can ask questions and meet other artists. The Art of Licensing group is also incredibly helpful. Before the show, send out flyers to popular blogs like Print & Pattern and to Pattern Observer, who feature SURTEX Pinterest boards.  

If you’re up and active on these platforms, you’ll have met a ton of great contacts before you even get to the show. I can't tell you how many people came up to my booth and felt like they already knew what I was all about. If you're a newcomer with a small budget, or just looking for more ways to get your artwork out there, the power of social media is immeasurable… And after making the investment to exhibit at SURTEX, the best part is… it’s free.

Elizabeth Olwen is a Toronto-based Surface Designer, with clients like Cloud 9 Fabrics, Madison Park Greetings, teNeues publishing and Target. Watch her SURTEX promo video here and connect with her online!

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