Are you having trouble increasing your visibility on Behance? If you're like me, you may find it challenging to gain a critical mass of followers. Where do we even start?
I have several projects in my illustration portfolio, and a lot of resume information. But during my first year on the service, I was totally passive, and as a result, I was pretty much invisible. Unlike sites like Twitter and Facebook, Behance is not a site where many of my real-life friends dwell, so I’ve been learning to get out there and find new and relevant people to connect with.
I am by no means an expert, but here are a few ideas I’ve been trying (or observing others use) so far:
1. Do great workI’m not saying “if you build it, they will come.” However if you have amazing work in your portfolio, then all the rest of these actions will be much more effective. This applies not only to the work itself, but to the quality of presentation. Fill out your profile, coordinate your brand colors, and add engaging explanation to your projects. Behance knows their users are capable artists, so they offer them a lot of control over their project presentation. You can also check out this article for tips on creating a knockout portfolio.
2. Add a call to actionThink of each project in your Behance portfolio as its own web page. Once people scroll to the bottom, they’re wondering what to do next. Make it easy for them by adding a block of text at the end of each project, thanking them for their time and pointing them to ways to continue – they can appreciate your project, follow your profile, visit your website or Twitter page, etc.
3. Find people you already knowYou can link your Facebook, Twitter, Google, and LinkedIn accounts to Behance (Me > Linked Accounts). Then go to Discover > Creatives to Follow and automatically search for anyone you already know and follow them. If they already know you, they may be more likely to follow you back.
4. Follow othersThe main way of gaining followers is to follow other people. This doesn't always result in a reciprocal relationship but it’s a way to start. But be smart about it. The Creatives to Follow page has a great system for filtering people by category, location, etc. Target your requests - what kind of work do you do, and what type of person would need it? My first inclination was to only follow other illustrators, so I could admire their work. Some of them may follow me back, but overall I would be limiting my audience. If you are an illustrator and you follow designers or art directors, they might see a need to keep in touch, and these are the kind of people who would one day hire you.
5. Be directWhen you do follow someone, you may also take the time to send them a brief direct message, specifically mentioning what you do and that you'd like them to follow you back. Keep it brief, and be selective about who you send these to. People who look like they also need to grow their network may be more open and appreciative.
6. Crosslink like crazyIf you haven't already, make sure to post links to your Behance profile on your website, blog, and other places. Behance also offers some special badges and buttons you can use if you’d like (Me > Linked Accounts > Badges).
You can link to your Behance portfolio with branded icons, or create an easy-to-click follow button like this:
Again, one of the great things about Behance is how much artistic license they entrust to their members. The button above can be customized to any colors you want, to seamlessly fit your website. You can also use any custom text or graphic you create, and generate a direct link to follow your Behance profile.
7. Use other social networksYou can also do a search on Twitter for "follow Behance" and it may turn up tweets from people looking for followers. If you follow these people, they may be open to following you back, you could even tweet a reply to help make the connection. You can also get involved in a few Behance-related groups on LinkedIn and meet people there. Do a search for groups with the keyword “Behance”.
And of course, you can make a habit of sharing your Behance projects on other networks, Behance makes it easy to announce your new projects through your linked accounts of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You can also share your projects on Pinterest and other visually-oriented sites.
8. Gain visibilityThe Activity feed in Behance allows you to see what artwork is being appreciated within your network. So as you do start to build followers, make sure that you are posting great work. As your work is appreciated, it will become more visible to a broader network.
9. Start a collectionAny Behance member can start a ‘Collection’ (Discover > Curated Galleries > Collections), to gather artists according to a specific topic. There are relatively few collections online, compared to the number of members, so if it’s a good one, yours might have a chance of being seen. You could establish yourself as a bridge to discovering great artists (and maybe you’re one of them). Or on the reverse side, look at the collections that are there, and if you feel you might be a good candidate for inclusion in a collection, follow the curator.
10. Get ‘Served’Behance also has a network of gallery sites, called the "Served" sites (see Discover > Curated Galleries > Served Sites), for example, illustrationserved.com or webdesignserved.com. Behance has a curatorial team that selects work for these sites, so this particular opportunity is outside your own control. However if you do get featured, expect a huge boost!
According the Chief Curator, the curation team reviews every single uploaded project (could be thousands in a day) and selects certain projects based on "a mix of the highest quality work, the most popular in views and appreciations, and the best presented in terms of communication, aesthetics, and professionalism."
If you're hoping to be eligible for curation, you may also want to take keep in mind the following published rules:
- They do not feature projects with less than 3 images
- They do not feature projects "as portfolios," but prefer projects with "a single and clear concept, for example, an identity for a company, a photographic documentary, or an art exhibition."
11. Do great workReally, isn’t this why you’re on there anyway?
The perspective to keep is that it takes time. You may only gain a few followers this week, but think about what you could build after a year. So be patient, and carefully nurture quality relationships and quality artwork without obsessing over quantity.
How about you? What have you done to make connections on Behance or other professional networks?