4 Mush-Have Social Professional Networks For Designer’s
There is an increasing number of SPN’s (Social Professional Network’s) available nowadays that go way beyond the “job search” focus of LinkedIn. It is worth analyzing what the important ones are in terms of traction, influence, and reach for specific professional groups. Today we analyze the main ones for designers.
For the year 2013 Dribbble did a replay including community stats but it seems no such report has been published for 2014. This means that the most accurate data is from last year which reports 300.000 shots and 460.000 total users. It’s not clear how many of those are active users. What is interesting is that there are 21.000 pro users and 76,000 work inquiries were sent to 7,700+ designers so besides being a great place for having your portfolio and inspiration it is also a true lead generator.
The community consist of great people that strongly encourage each other in their work. There is also a strong focus on quality over quantity, to ensure this you have to be invited in order to be able to post and even than you can only post 24 shots a month.
The stats page on the website shows that there are now 95.306.300 images on the platform this is obviously way more than on Dribbble which is partly because of the fact that there is no curation on the platform. It is owned by Adobe and part of the creative cloud and in addition it to that it has been around 3 years longer.
To conclude, it is a great place for designers to get started and gain an initial following, there are many designers that are on both Behance and Dribbble and this makes a lot of sense since it attracts a different audience because of the focus on quality (Dribbble) vs quantity(Behance).
Twitter is important for Designers because it offers a way to gain a following among a much wider audience than on Behance or Dribbble. The nature of Twitter makes it possible for great post to spread faster than anywhere else on the internet and with 288 million monthly active users it has a massive reach.
The wider audience in combination with the more diverse possibilities make it a place for any professional but since tweets with an image get 97% more retweets it is a natural fit for great design work. In addition to that Twitter makes you easily accessible to professionals from all over the world.
When researching how many designers actually use Twitter to share their design I found that actually only found a couple that share their work directly on Twitter. The majority of them links to Dribbble, Behance, or their own website.
A good example of how it should be done comes from Behance, that with this simple tweet reaches its own 660.000 followers plus of course the followers of the people re-tweeting it.
Slack is gaining rapid traction not only for team communication but also as a place to share ideas, opinions and expertise with other people from your field. SlackChats provides a great overview of all the Slack Teams that you can join. Just to give you an idea of the size and possibilities of this the #design channel of the StartupFoundations Slack team has 552 members.
The UIUX Community already has 385 members that are all willing to give feedback on your designs and discuss basically everything design related. This might not sound like much in numbers but they are great places to start a real dialogue around your passion instead of the more monologue style of Twitter, Dribbble, and Behance.
To conclude, all the platforms are essential in building your personal brand and network both among potential clients as well as among fellow designers. It will definitely help you in positioning yourself.
When I shared the Draft for this article with the UIUX community on Slack I received some great suggestions from @jonbstrong and @MikeThurman for platforms that could also be on the list. I included them below with a short comment on why they can be useful, also added medium because it’s awesome :-)
DevianArt — The work on DevianArt is more edgy and attracts a niche audience, it can be a useful platform but not a must-have for every designer.
RedBubble— Is a marketplace for awesome place to sell your work, but not all designers make something that is good for an iPhone case or wall.
Meetup— Okay I have to agree you could make a very compelling case for using meetup to meet with designers face-to-face. On the other hand you could also use up-and-coming platforms such as Lanyrd, Eventbrite, or maybe even Facebook events?
Medium— Tell the story that brought your design to life it’s agreat way to explain the process you went through. The most famous one is probably from Foursqaure, that wrote an incredible story on the process of the creation of the new app last August.