Web Designers are Using the Behance Network to Increase Visibility
The Behance Network was created for creative professionals who want to expand their network and display their talents and services. With its many avenues for self promotion, Behance gives creative professionals in industries such as fashion, graphic design, photography and web design, the opportunity to create professional-looking portfolios, promote and share their services and network with other professionals and companies who may become potential clients.
Behance gives web designers the opportunity to display their work, network with peers, and find an easier path to exposure than they would with traditional marketing practices. With millions of users worldwide and a high amount of traffic, the Behance network has exploded in growth and is attracting not only great web designers, but also the people who hire them.
Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your Behance experience:
Your profile includes your background information, location, services, links, and your portfolio. Add your photo, website, experience and any other information that would help you look more attractive to potential clients. Include websites where your work is showcased and a link to your website as well.
Tip: Make your profile photo edgy and creative. Don’t upload a basic picture. Choose either a creative representation of your brand or an edgy depiction of you. Every element of your profile should display your design chops.
Building Your Portfolio
The first step to acquiring some exposure is to build your portfolio. You can do this free of charge and use it to attract new clients and showcase your abilities.
Create projects for your portfolio that are categorized by type of design, medium or whatever would make navigation easiest for a potential client or follower. Each project has a cover image which is displayed to the viewer. All other images inside the project are hidden until a user clicks on the project. Use your strongest image as your cover to compel people to click.
When people click on your project, they have the option to leave a comment, “Appreciate” it, or click to see more of your work. Keep your work clean and organized so you have a better chance of getting featured (more on that later). Choose the creative fields that describe your projects, the type of work and media, and assign related tags such as web design, fashion design, etc. so searchers can easily find your work. Behance also allows you to specify copyright information.
For those designers who don’t want to meddle with the frustrations of creating and hosting their own website, Behance offers a Prosite upgrade. With Prosite you can build a custom portfolio website with a unique url for free and get it on the web for $11 / month. Prosite syncs with your existing Behance portfolio projects and offers many customizable layouts and designs with the ability to add more pages such as “About” or “Contact.”
Here are some Prosite examples:
Ben Cook, Interactive Designer
Milena Liutkute, Graphic Designer
Vladimir Kudinov, Web Designer
Promotion and Visibility
Once you create your profile and portfolio, start promoting your services and increasing your visibility. The Behance Network receives a massive amount of traffic monthly and provides great opportunities for web designers interested in attracting potential clients and employers.
Start by syncing your networks with your LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter profiles. Tweet or post about new projects to your friends and followers. Share your work on your Facebook wall or with your Linkedin connections. This can all be accomplished directly from the Behance interface.
People can also share or “Like” your work directly from the interface giving you greater chance of exposure.
Behance gives you the ability to follow users much like Twitter. Your followers are those users who like your work and your profile. They will receive an update when you post new work and you can communicate with them via messaging.
Follow the influencers who are making moves on Behance. Connect with them in groups and monitor their activity. If you genuinely admire an influencer’s work, follow them and start building a relationship. Interact, praise and share their work. Over time, you will make an impact on them and not only will they notice you, but their other followers will become familiar with you as well. This strategy applies to many other industries and it is a proven technique for success. The following article explains influencer marketing in more detail: Influence Marketing Strategy.
If you have a large network of contacts whether from email, Twitter, or Facebook, invite them to follow or “appreciate” elements of your Behance portfolio.
You can also add badges to your site inviting people to view your work.
Behance continues to partner with large organizations to provide users more exposure and additional platforms to showcase their work. Join these networks to get your work in front of more people. Bookmark this page to stay aware of new networks as they are added.
Gain some recognition by entering the many contests either run or sponsored by Behance.
Join or start private or public groups to network with other members and gather some tips and tricks of the trade. By sharing and collaborating, you will build your network of professionals.
Networking with colleagues can land you jobs when you need them. I have a network of writers and designers and often refer work to them when my plate is full or a project is outside of my expertise. They, in turn, refer work to me. It’s a win-win for both parties.
The Behance job board lists freelance gigs and jobs. Thousands of companies use Behance to source creative talent and connect with skilled freelancers. When you apply for jobs, the job poster will have access to your profile and portfolio, so make sure it is full of your best work and filled out completely. You can also subscribe to job alerts, research companies, and re-visit your past job applications
Get Featured on the First Page
One of the best ways to attract business is to get featured by Behance. This is not an easy feat, since there are thousands of creative professionals vying for those top spots. Behance has a curatorial team that hand picks daily projects submitted by users. The team searches for innovative designers who think outside of the box and follow their criteria. Much of the criteria Behance uses to choose featured projects is top secret, but here are three to note:
Length of Project
According to Behance, the longer you make the project, the better the chance of it being featured. A project with one or two images won’t cut it and since there is no limit on length, the more the better!
Focus on your projects’ concept rather than just the design. For example, if you are showcasing some of your web designs, create a project about a particular website project that includes images of the Home Page, inner pages and any associated graphics. Behance says to “incorporate your great design in a fluid and concept way.”
When you create projects, remember to keep them professional and worthy of sharing. Behance considers the organization and professionalism of a project as important as the quality of the showcased work.
Are you on Behance?
If you have a profile on Behance, post a link to it in the comments below!
Want to meet some of the top web designers on Behance? Here are a few: