Advice on Social Media & Self-Promotion

“Post the best. Remember you don’t have to share everything”

Ahmad Swaid, Head of Social Media at Nowness

Your social media profile is like your CV; I’ve been approached for projects and jobs solely based on my Snapchat and Instagram. As Head of Social Media for Nowness, my main day-to-day is spent focusing on overall strategy – this includes everything from data analysis to creative campaigns for our video premieres to special projects. For example, we’ve recently been experimenting with Facebook Live and figuring out the right content and contributors within that format. My career in social and digital began when I worked at Garage magazine, which was an exciting time as I had free reign to experiment on social, and it really taught me everything I know now. Here are some of my most important learnings for promoting and best representing yourself through your social media platforms:

Post the best. Remember that you don’t have to share everything; a bit of mystery is one of the best ways to build a memorable profile. Make sure you showcase your skills (for example your photography or Photoshop know-how) as much as you can. Posting multiple times every day or every other day is good for visibility, but just post what feels relevant to you – not for the sake of it. I go through spells where I won’t post for a while but that’s because it’s what and when feels natural to me. 

Different platforms do different things. In terms of having personal and work accounts, I think it’s best to combine both, so it feels a bit more organic, and not too disciplined. But keep in mind that there are different ways you can use your platforms; I don’t really share personal stuff on my Instagram feed, instead I use Instagram stories or Snapchat.

Follow well. You can learn more about a person by seeing who they follow than what they actually post on their feeds. Instagram, Twitter…these are all communities. Follow the communities and cultures you want to align yourself with, and remember the ‘social’ as much as the ‘media’. It’s not just about just posting content, but also engaging with other people’s posts.

Proof it. Check your grammar, punctuation and spelling when you’re posting – people aren’t just watching, they are reading too!

Be playful and keep it varied. Don’t be afraid to try new things and have fun with it. If you’re not enjoying yourself, your audience probably won’t either. Also, on Instagram I find that most people get caught up in the idea of perfecting their grid and don’t allow room for spontaneity, but when has perfection ever been interesting? Showcase variety and let your Instagram and Tumblr evolve naturally. For example, if you are looking for a career in fashion, it doesn't mean you should only post fashion-related content.

Don’t copy. Let other sources, rather than other profiles, influence your content strategy. The best advice I ever got on how to use social media is this quote from John Baldessari’s ‘What Is Painting’ (1966-1968): “Do you sense how all the parts of a good picture are involved with each other, not just placed side by side? Art is a creation for the eye and can only be hinted at with words.” 

And lastly, never take it too seriously…

Ahmad Swaid is Head of Social Media at Nowness, where the team recently used Facebook Live to showcase a dance rehearsal with choreographer
Benjamin Millepied. As digital consultant for System Magazine, he advises on the digital marketing of each issue, expanding their print content for online. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

Posted 11 July 2017 Written by Ahmad Swaid
Collection: Social Media & Self-Promotion
Disciplines: Graphic Design, Photography, Illustration
Mentions: Nowness, System Magazine

Social Media & Self-Promotion

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