Most creatives I know, see acquisition not as the most fun part of the job. But if you want new commissions, you need to put effort in your acquisition one way or the other. And that's the thing: there are multiple ways to acquire new customers and commissioners. I get most of my fashion illustration commissions via social media - specifically Instagram - and in this blogpost I'll share some of my tips with you. It doesn't matter what kind of artist you are, wether you're an illustrator, graphic designer or another kind of creative, you can easily incorporate these tips in your daily social media activities.
Photo by Angela de Baat
Put your work out there
If you don't actively show your work to people, they won't know it's there. So put it out there! Social media is a blessing in this regard because it makes it some much easier to share your work with a very big international audience and to engage with potential customers in an informal setting.
Don't be scared by people stealing your work, just make sure you use low resolution images on your online channels. I would not recommend using watermarks to prevent unauthorized use, but you could add your name to the pictures you post to emphasize they're yours.
Share your thoughts, style, ideas and inspiration
In other words: share who you are! People don't only commission you for your work, they also commission you for who you are. Your work will always represent some aspect of you (or multiple) like your taste, ideas and ideals or vision on aesthetics. But how it is incorporated in your work might not always be obvious to the viewer, especially if they don't know you. So show them, tell them about your work, your inspirations, your style. If you use Instagram, the stories and IGTV are a great way to do this!
Follow the right people
I'm not saying that you should follow everyone who seems only mildly interesting on social media, but do follow people who you would want as your clients. So not only the brands, but the actual people working for those organizations: the fashion director of a magazine you really like or the marketing manager of a clothing line you adore for example. Make sure you know who are the players and make them notice your work. By following the accounts of the key players, you will also see trends and shifts in the industry coming sooner then when you just follow the brand accounts plus you get a nice behind the scenes glimp of things.
Connect your work to brands you'd like to work with
Picture your top 5 brands you would love to work for and see how your style matches theirs. Make some creative work which incorporates their (recent) products, tag them and post it on your social media channels. This might get you noticed. If not by the brands you tagged, potentially by others with a similar style.
Stay focused on your goal along the way
This is one of the hardest. It's very easy to get distracted of your ultimate goal by things that happen along the way and by well, just life itself really. I like to make a moldboard at the start of each year and write down my goals. When I'm not sure if I'm still on the right track, I look at them and I generally try to do so every two months to keep myself on track and also to check if the goals I set are still in line with where I want to go. This really helps me to stay focused.
Follow my Instagram account to get an idea of how I put these tips into practice. What are your tips for acquisition on social media? Please share your tips and tricks in the comments!