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Social Anxiety

It turns out Field of Dreams was only half right.

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In ancient times (30 years ago), customers asking to see my “portfolio” expected to turn the physical pages of an actual portfolio. Potential clients wanted to see examples of my recent design work to help determine whether my style meshed with their needs.

In those days, I felt intense internal pressure to keep up a professional book of my work. But I was often too busy, and my portfolio quickly became outdated. Desperate, I let clients thumb through a pile of photos, or a hastily assembled file of drawings.

Fast forward a few years, and clients are asking to see my website. This caused even more stress. Did I have the time, expertise and budget to build a website? Barely. Again, the site (when it loaded properly) soon became outdated. My solution? I would haul out the pile and, with apologies, let them thumb through.

Fortunately, today’s social media technologies make creating an online presence much easier to set up and keep relevant. It still takes time, but pushing around image files isn’t rocket science (anymore).

In the classic film Field of Dreams, Kevin Costner’s character hears “If you build it, he will come.” I’ll add a social media corollary:” If you maintain it, (they) will come back.” And become fans.

Clients expect to see gallery after gallery of all your designs, and not just finished signs. Prospective customers want you to document the entire process. The more photos, the better. And if they can’t see them, they will go elsewhere.

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Like many things in life, this is an opportunity disguised as a problem. For the low price of minutes per day, social media becomes a chance to connect with your clients, build your reputation and expand your business.

As senior art director of Signs of the Times, I help curate our online presence. Every day we post new, and often unique, content to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. All of these online outlets are tools to connect with our readers in ways that weren’t widely possible until just recently. Also, you may have noticed that signweb.com has been substantially upgraded and is now signsofthetimes.com.

So relax, build your site. Maintain it properly and “they” will come – and stay.

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