In this week’s episode we dive back in to social media for designers. We cover a ton of stuff, from how to keep up with the ever-changing social media landscape, to how to boost your engagement, attract new audiences and express your authentic self through your creative work on social.


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Meet Your Hosts

The Honest Designers Show started when our founder Tom found he was regularly chatting and sharing tips with top designers; Ian Barnard, Lisa Glanz and Dustin Lee. We soon organised a weekly call where we would help each other with areas we were struggling with and try to give each other actionable feedback. Soon we realised that the collective experience of the group was proving so valuable for each of us, that we thought ‘why not share these conversations with the world?’.

And so, The Honest Designers Show was born! This podcast is an insight into how to succeed in the creative industry, as well as giving you a totally transparent, under the hood look at some of the tougher, less glamorous hurdles to overcome! We also tend to get a little goofy along the way, so this is a chance to get to know each of us a little better :). We’ve loved recording this show for you, and we hope that you find value and enjoyment in listening to it.


Please find full show notes for this episode below:

[1:00] This week we are back talking about social media for designers
[1:45] The hosts are missing Lisa Glanz and give her a mention
[2:20] Tom thinks that the social media channels need a refresh almost every three month as it’s likely the audience experiences a content fatigue
[2:45] Dustin finds that when it comes to social media some things work and others don’t
[3:00] Ian agrees and he says that things he’s certain are going to work don’t and other things he posts without thinking a lot, do very well
[4:00] Tom is curious about finding more on the polls on Instagram stories
[4:30] All users of the networks experience fatigue and this is the reason the social media networks come out with new features all the time
[5:30] Ian recently used an Instagram poll to check which if his audience preferred green or orange to be used for writing on a hat, giving them an involvement in a finished product
[6:20] Polls can be very effective for increasing engagement and designers can easily benefit from this by sharing two versions of a design and asking the audience which one they prefer
[6:50] Tom thinks it’s very powerful for creatives to ask their audience to choose between two options and involving the audience in the process of giving feedback
[7:20] Dustin previously did a caption contest for a retro fidget spinner ad and it did very well, but reveals that he forgets to try the things that have worked again and again
[7:50] Ian doesn’t use a schedule for his social media posts and does it more on a day by day basis
[8:20] He does recommend having a schedule for Youtube videos as those require more time to create and a lot of planning is involved
[9:00] it’s good to have a routine or plan your content depending on the day and this will give you a structure and make it easier to post every day
[9:30] Tom agrees with this structure and this is something he has implemented at Design Cuts
[9:50] This allows you to review what worked and what didn’t so you can push more content that works in the future
[10:30] Dustin finds it hard to try out new things on social media as he doesn’t have the time to do it
[10:50] Ian suggests that at the beginning to focus on what’s the quickest and easiest post to publish
[11:30] A screenshot of work in progress is a great way to create an engaging post
[12:00] Tom suggest starting with introducing one new thing at a time in your existing social media schedule
[13:30] Dustin found that more and more people are coming to him via his social media channels and couldn’t imagine not having the social media presence
[14:00] There are phone apps like which allow you plan and schedule batches of posts
[14:30] Facebook has a native feature that also allows scheduling and for Twitter you can use Twitter Deck to schedule image posts only
[15:20] Documenting your day as you go around is an easy way to create social media posts
[16:00] Dustin asks what is a big no for social media for designers, and the answers is not as obvious as some might think
[16:30] Both Tom and Dustin enjoyed a video of Ian trying to write with a new ink pen on a hat, and seeing that things didn’t go very well as the pen leaked, and despite this the post got a lot of positive interaction from his audience
[17:00] It can get paralyzing for your audience to always see only perfect work
[17:45] The post was one of the least liked but one with the highest number of comments
[18:40] Tom likes the Reactions feature on Facebook as it gives you more ways to engage with a post rather than just liking
[19:15] Dustin would like to see videos of Ian from his motivational talks
[19:40] Ian likes the before and after work some designers posts – showing progress over the years can be very inspiring
[21:20] Tom thinks it would be very useful for Ian to post more of his fails even as a video
[22:00] A carousel format including the successful design along with the failed version would also work very well
[22:30] Dustin would like to see a video of Ian doing lettering not in his office, but in the house, showing the reality of having kids and the challenges he comes across while trying to do lettering
[23:30] Your audience would like to know about your struggles, and therefore the before and after post tend to do so well
[23:50] Vulnerability and authenticity are very important
[24:50] Dustin likes the authenticity behind Tom Instagram talks as they are real and not polished
[26:00] Tom follows Steve Bartlett – the entrepreneur and CEO of the marketing agency Social Chain and says he likes how brave he is to be so personal and authentic in his posts
[27:00] Tom struggles with choosing between the meaningless sharable posts, such as memes which get a lot of engagement and the more meaningful ones that don’t
[28:00] Dustin thinks the audience might remember the meme but won’t remember you
[29:00] Sometimes doing the exact opposite of what you’ve been doing so far can be very beneficial
[30:00] You should ask yourself what makes you stop and look at a post and try to replicate this type of content
[31:30] Tom follows Jake Frye Designs and likes it because every week they do a redesign of a popular logo and they show all the stages of the design as well
[32:50] Ian agrees mini-series are great and suggests jumping on a feed as well, like the lettering feed Good Type which has topics such as Mental Health
[33:50] Another great feed this month is Inktober and a lot of designers are following and doing the monthly design challenge
[34:40] Tom is asking where can web designers, print or logo designer show their work as they don’t have the huge communities and there aren’t monthly challenges around their work
[35:50] Ian thinks time lapses of building a website can work very well
[36:30] Dustin would like to see more funny videos of things going awry
[37:30] You need to try as many content strategy as you can and see what works for you
[38:00] There isn’t a huge community for web designers on social media
[38:50] Dustin’s brother is a software designer and does Snapchat videos showing pieces of coding and how these work
[39:40] Find a segment of likeminded people and relate something like Star Wars to your work, as many web developers seem have an affinity for it
[40:40] Ian thinks self-initiated projects are very good as it is a different idea and ads you to the mix
[41:20] He enjoys doing random things and shares this with the audience, as it shows his personality within his work
[43:20] Always try and be real and take risks
[45:30] Take something from your unique personality and infuse it in what you do
[47:00] Ask yourself how would you describe yourself and how would others describe you
[48:00] Dustin gives an example of John Lennon and says that he might not be the best singer, but it was his unique style that made him famous
[49:00] Think how does your passion, enthusiasm and personality flow into your work and make that flow from your work into your social media
[50:00] Dustin find social media a confined place where you must do certain things and wonders how would it be if everyone share what they wanted
[50:40] Tom asks the hosts how can designers be truly authentic on social media
[51:00] He mentions and important aspect – the caption which accompanies the graphic
[51:40] Ian thinks that the image or video is the first thing that grabs the attention
[52:30] It is however important to add context around your work
[53:30] Tom says it’s important to also engage with others on social media and comment on their work, which can in return help grow your following
[55:00] Dustin mentions a big NO on engaging with others, which is commenting ‘nice’ on someone else’s post and asking then to check your portfolio
[56:30] He thinks the best way to interact with someone’s work is to comment and say what you like about their work
[57:40] You need to spend time commenting as well as polishing your feed
[58:30] Ian has more respect for people who practice what they preach
[59:30] Some designers miss out by just sharing their work and living in their own bubble and not engaging with others
[1:00:00] Ian suggests having a routine and making time to comment
[1:00:30] Find a happy medium between posting on social media and focusing on your work
[1:01:20] Dustin finds he can never implement all the social media tips he’s read and usually tries one to see if it works
[1:02:40] Ian and Dustin recommend Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative-Thinking Techniques and finds it useful for creating posts
[1:03:30] Tom and Ian suggest creating a post and sharing the books he finds useful for his work
[1:04:30] Ian takes pictures of all his lettering books and shares these on social media as people like book recommendations
[1:05:20] Dustin had a giveaway on social media and the prize was $200 worth of books and it was very effective
[1:06:20] Tom thinks there is a lot more to cover on social media and he will be saving these ideas for a future episode
[1:07:00] Thank you all for listening to this week’s episode

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