Tanya Brown (Textile and Surface Design ’97) is a graphic and textile designer and founder of the legging wear brand, Schatzi Brown. She incorporates watercolors, painted textures, hand drawn motifs, with digital collage techniques to create her patterns & illustrations, which have a Beachy Bohemian vibe.
As any business owner knows, Tanya recognizes the power social media has in her branding efforts. Through a plethora of channels, including FIT’s Behance and Etsy alumni groups, she reaches new audiences and tells her brand’s story. Tanya has published articles for various media organizations on the topic of entrepreneurship and social media, so we asked her to share her top tips on how creatives can use social media strategically to grow their businesses.
Be sure to join us for the upcoming alumni panel discussion, Behance: Gain Exposure for Your Creative Work, where she will offer great insight alongside other alumni entrepreneurs.
Tanya Brown’s Social Media Tips
Posting your work in the public arena and to social media can be a key component in your success as a creative professional. Whether you’re a fashion designer or fine artist or photographer, social media can help get you noticed, bring job offers, projects and create a following for your work. Before you decide to start uploading your work make sure you have these things in place:
Be secure in your voice and point of view.
Build up a good repertoire and variety of work that represents you and your talents before going public.
Pick a distinct name.
Make sure you have chosen a name, whether it’s your real name or brand name, that can be consistent across sites, especially for your main portfolio site. I design under the name Schatzi Brown. The word “Schatzi” is a German term of endearment, like sweetheart in English. My color color palettes and patterns are drawn from the world around me living on Long Island and through my many travels. I make sure that those aspects are conveyed visually across all platforms.
Also, consider carefully separating your personal SM from your professional SM, unless there is relevancy. For example, if you are a fashion blogger and you Instagram your outfits everyday, it makes sense that you are your brand. If you are a package designer, on the other hand, future clients may not want to see pictures of your beach vacation mixed with your work.
Lay it out.
Take pride in your body of work and decide how you’re going to showcase it. It’s important for artists and creatives to have a main website and then redirect people out to their social media from there. Behance can easily be used as a main portfolio site and is great resource for a more industry-focused audience. FIT Portfolios on Behance is a great way to get noticed by recruiters who are looking for talent out of FIT, for example. Another advantage to using a portfolio site like Behance is that you can show more detail and variety of projects that you wouldn’t want to mix in on your main website. I think it’s important to have both a main portfolio site and SM to help you network with other disciplines or collaborate on projects. The more your work is seen in different platforms, the more likely you are to be found by people you want to work with or connect with.
Know the functionality of each channel you’re using. I will often get contacted for freelance work specific to textile design through Behance or my main website, but I am more likely to receive an Etsy sale which was driven from a Facebook post or an Instagram photo. I received a licensing deal from my work posted on Society6 and other offers from people who saw my work on Pinterest. Exposure can come from many different sources.
After your main portfolio site is set up, choose one to two social media outlets at a time to branch off your main site and start building an audience. Adding too many social media outlets at once can be overwhelming and become a job in and of itself.
Flaunt it (in moderation).
We live in the age of self-promotion, so hashtag, hashtag, hashtag! At the same time, don’t over-post. Space out your posts so your audience has something to look forward to. Try to tell a story and be professional. There is an art to sharing just enough vs. over-sharing.
Once you take the plunge and put your work in the public arena, it is difficult, if not impossible, to take it back. Understand that by using SM to promote your work and portfolio, it will be open for praise, review, critique and possibly even stolen and your copyright violated. Familiarize yourself with basic copyright laws or image use. Do what you can to protect your work, most often the positive will outweigh the negative.
Join us for the New Media x Entrepreneurship Alumni Talk Series, where you can learn about different new media platforms to help your business thrive. Be sure to RSVP for the upcoming talk on Behance, where you can hear from alumnus and founding member of Behance Alex Krug (AMC ’04), textile designer Tanya Brown (Textile and Surface Design ’97), graphic designer Joe Vinci (Advertising Design ’10), and motion graphics designer Rachael Park (Communications Design ’12).