How to Channel Your Social Channels into Client Work You Want
Lacey Waterman / WNW Member
Social media is as important to your portfolio as anything else. Whichever platform you engage with, it’s where agencies and recruiters go to find out what you're up to and who you know, even before they look at your work.
I started TheLaceyMinimalist about a year ago, when I noticed that more and more briefs didn't just include social, but started and ended with social. I realized that documenting the things I love to do every day could lead to paid work for similar clients. It used to be that creatives had a dedicated side hustle section in their portfolio, but why keep it as a mistress? It should be an integrated part of any freelancer’s web presence so you can channel it into the kind of client work you want to do.
As a creative director, I use TheLaceyMinimalist to showcase my style, photography, illustration and personal interests like interior design, cooking and fitness. I only post content I've created myself or in collaboration with others. It's been interesting to see how my content has evolved and how the aesthetic has changed over the course of a year. I've seen my photography skills grow and I've gained a better understanding of what types of content people engage with. A huge advantage when client’s money and jobs are at stake.
If clients and agencies are trusting you to take the reigns of their brand, and create engaging content for them, why should they hire someone who doesn't create engagement with the people closest to them? You don't have to have 10K followers, but a humble following will help people see that you practice what you preach. It's a way to showcase your point of view, which might not always be present in your client work.
In the past year, I've collaborated with brands like Snowe Home (pictured below), JustSalad, Hagahi, Dolce Daniela Sweets, &Friends, Begu Tea and even my personal trainer Lauren Johan! I've also worked with photographer Bjorn Jonas, creative directors Andrew Wilcox and Kathryn McFarlane, illustrators Chen Reichert and Stephanie Anne, designer Britt Cobb and the founders of @MeetKvell. Turning the lens on myself hasn’t always been easy – documenting personal stories, like my weight loss journey can sometimes feel like an overshare, but it has generated more support than I could have even imagined. In a surprising twist, TheLaceyMinimalist has become a way to document personal growth both creatively and personally.
As a freelancer, social media is also a great way to keep track of the people you work with and meet along the way. Every time I'm on a shoot, I make sure we take a group photo and I tag everyone in it. People get embarrassed and often annoyed, but everyone is happy to have it down the road. This way you can all look back and remember who was involved in the project.
I'm not saying everyone should neglect their portfolio sites, but in a sea of sites that all look the same, and where recruiters are looking for a quick way to vet a candidate for a freelance gig, social is your best friend.
Lacey Waterman is a Creative Director with an emphasis on both art direction and design. She has been working in both Los Angeles and New York since obtaining her BFA in Advertising from Art Center College of Design in 2008, and earning her MFA in Graphic Design at Yale University in 2014. Her work has been featured on the cover of Communication Arts and has won numerous awards including a Cannes Lion in Film and Gold & Silver Obie Awards. She has worked as a freelancer for the past three years at Media Arts Lab, Google's Creative Lab, Compass, InStyle, 72andSunny, Mother, and Droga5 to name a few. Lacey currently resides in Dumbo with her 5lb deer chihuahua, Valley.