A lot of web designers are programmed to think an active role in the social media world is not for them because their job is best done “behind the scenes”. But there’s more work to be done behind the monitor than just coding and design. The other side of the coin is having a social media presence – and a strong one at that.

Companies of all shapes and sizes have found a home on social media these days. And not just one site, but many. Freelancers, independent contractors, and small business alike are all posting up on social media and showing off their product, capabilities and team.

But having a social media account isn’t about doing it because everyone else is, but rather it is about making sure you are keeping up with virtually a requirement for relevancy. Meaning, any web designer who wants to stay visible in a constantly changing field should prepare to play in the social space.

While it may seem like a giant undertaking – status updates, engagement, responses, messages, and more – being absent from social media is a sure way to leave money and opportunity on the table. Here are the top reasons for a web designer to get a social media strategy in place, stat.

You can acquire a job
Being present on social media is one thing. Being active on social media is another. When you are a contributor on social media, it makes it easy for potential clients to find you on these platforms. How? Because a company may be conducting a search for web designers in your field or geographical area on SEO-friendly social platforms (like Twitter). They may see a tweet that is tagged with a popular platform hashtag and become interested in your profile and exploring your work. From there, it’s simply a matter of sending a direct message or “@-ing” you to start a conversation that could lead to a project, job, and/or contract.

Personally, I have found several clients throughout the years by conducting a quick and simple search inside the Twitter platform. Using their sticky SEO search capabilities, try typing in “Looking for a web designer” into their search bar and you’ll see a barrage of tweets containing that term come back. From there, you should filter the results (manually) and discover ones that are potentially leads. Once you identify a user who seems to have an interesting project on their hands, you could either tweet them back or message the user privately. You could also take some time to research their website (typically a URL can be found in their profile) and find out more about them, including an actual email address to reach out and inquire.

You can locate a much-needed collaborator
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to make social media strictly about scoring your next paid gig. It’s about many other things, too. One of which is finding someone to partner up with on a project that you feel you may not be able to handle on your own or requires a skill set you simply do not have.

For instance, perhaps a client has hired you to rebuild their website. This includes design, coding, and copywriting. If you can handle the design and coding, but copywriting is not part of your expertise, you could turn to social media for help filling that void in your repertoire.

Searching popular hashtags (like #freelancer or #copywriting), or simply being a member of a social network that is all about design ensures that you are surrounded by like-minded, creative individuals. Which means that your next step is simply to send a message to someone you feel is qualified and begin exploring the potential for collaboration.

And remember: one really great thing about collaborating with folks via social media is that you will never be limited to working with people who are only within your city, state, or even country. You can easily connect to creatives all over the globe, which is empowering in and of itself. Also, you can pose creative reimbursement tactics. Perhaps instead of an hourly rate, you can trade skills.

You can really get your work out there
A social media profile is essentially an extended, digital gallery of your work that is housed online. And since most social media sites are free to belong to, there’s no financial burden attached to putting your work out there. Also, it’s a great way to achieve ancillary goals such as driving additionally hits/traffic to your website where someone can view your full portfolio or more info about yourself. You can also achieve goals like  increasing follower count and even becoming “an influencer” in your field.

Another benefit to being on social media and displaying your work is that you don’t have to worry about the hours it can take to build your own portfolio and gallery. If you have one already, great. If not, don’t worry about it. Social networking sites, such as Instagram, give you the ability to upload your work in a way that’s platform specific. It’s as simple as uploading an image saved in your camera roll. Then, it’s housed on their server under your profile. If your profile is public, then you’ve made yourself a one-stop shop to view your work.

You will have inspiration at your fingertips
All creatives go through ruts. When tasked with certain design projects, a blank slate (read: File: New) can sometimes feel more daunting than inspiring. So instead of freezing up with where to start, hop on to a social media site for ten minutes and immediately let the inspiration sink in. Being part of a larger online network give you 24/7 access to a never ending cycle of design inspiration to get you back on the design path quickly and easily.

You can get answers to difficult questions
We’ve all been there before. We’re in the middle of designing a website and want to create a ______. Whatever the challenge is, you can always (literally any day, any time) turn to your social media network to pose your question. You’ll be surprised at how quickly and helpful your peers on the platform can be as you get a range of answers, fast.

There are as many good reasons to be on social media as there are platforms to join.  Are you currently on any social media networks? Which are your favorites and how have they impacted your business or design style?