If you didn’t attend the Design Influencer’s Conference this year I have to say, you missed some good stuff!
However, I think it will be even better next year, because it is going to be in San Francisco! Yay! One of my fave cities. :-)
We had so many attend that we pulled in Jeanne, who has done mentoring before, and it worked great! So glad she could help us out.
Mentoring Group Round Tables
Everyone at the table got a 5 minute window to give us their elevator pitch and then pose their biggest question they had about their social media.
We were a little loose with the format, as this was a new session in the conference and we didn’t know what the interest level would be, but next year we will be tightening things up and have two time slots to sign up for. Stay tuned for more about these as we coordinate and get it rolling.
Here’s what I learned from the mentoring groups.
Everyone comes at a different level of influence and expertise.
Some are very new beginners to the social media thing, others have had success on some platforms but not on others and are wanting to learn more.
Beginners are often overwhelmed with where to start and where the best use of their time should be spent and get confused with all the info bombarding them.
Some influencers there had way more Instagram followers than I did but still want deeper understanding of overall traffic driving (because Instagram doesn’t really do that, you know ;-).
I loved how everyone at the tables felt free to chime in, like it was a mastermind. It was so effective and I hope to encourage that next year.
If you attended these round tables and have any feedback for us, feel free to email me here or comment below.
Now, here are my takeaways from some of the speakers and overall buzz going on with vendors and friends at the conference.
First of all, Linda Holt’s iPhone photography talk was a hit!
Just a few tweaks editing your photos will make a huge difference in your Instagram feed. Once she gets that course she is doing online, no doubt she will sell out.
She got several other speaking gigs that day at the conference and everyone was coming up to her asking questions and commenting about her presentation.
Check out her blog where you can sign up to be notified when that course comes out.
I loved hearing from James Nord, the owner of a social media influencer talent company, Fohr. I didn’t even realize there was such a thing, but maybe there should be one specifically for design influencers?
One of the reasons he stood out to me is, after looking him up on Instagram, I think his profile rocks! I got caught up watching his YouTube videos too where he answers questions from influencers. BTW, he said don’t buy followers. ;-)
Shayla Copas has an impressive online presence and does a lot of video. I never heard of a watch party before but it sounds interesting. She had lots of advice for video and Facebook because she is rocking it there.
I am toying with the idea of stepping into video this year, something I actually don’t watch a lot myself. :-/
If I can do snippets like I did in this post every now and then, it might be a toe in the water. I am considering how I can make it work for what I’m doing online. I don’t want to be left behind, but don’t relish being in front of the camera! :-(
Michel Boyd was really inspirational for me and confirmed so much about what I know about social media as a designer, that it is all about leverage.
It’s all about how you can leverage your media success to make money in other ways, in other words.
All that media stuff doesn’t exactly bring in the bacon compared to client work, as you are building. He puts his clients above all else because they really are the ones that pay the bills. (Of course, he said that much more eloquently than I just did.)
However, it is really about where that exposure can take you on down the road and how you can figure out a path that is right for you. I am all about that, as you will see on down this post.
Deborah von Donop
Lastly and definitely not least, my friend Deborah von Donop, who used me and some others in our industry as examples of how to start making money using that exposure you are getting on social media or the internet. (She will have an overview of her presentations last year and this year soon, on her blog on her new website.)
This ties so well into what Michel Boyd said, it was like they compared notes prior to the conference. How do you leverage what you are doing, or how you like to use social media, to make money?
That’s really why we were all there, right? Does anyone want to be a social media influencer JUST so they can get more jobs? Because there are lots of ways to do that that are probably more effective.
I think this conference is really about how to make some money at something other than just clients.
Whether it is just extra money that is like a side hustle to your main business or whether it might grow into something that can sustain you in the future, we all want to know how to make the extra dollars. Right?
Here’s what I am doing now:
For me, I walked into social media years ago, without a specific plan or goal, just meandered along and tried lots of stuff. What happened over the years was that I found my voice, my strengths, and tried to develop ways to capitalize on the kind of traffic I was getting.
Selling consultations - via email and in person Example: I had two one-time consultations this week and four email consults. That’s a total of $1450 that I made fast with (best of all) no homework and no overhead. All these people have been reading my blog for awhile and had no intention of hiring a full service designer (only wanted personalized advice). Let me tell you, there are a whole lot more people out there like this than there are high end, perfect clients.
Selling digital products - Deborah mentioned the popularity of micro-learning. These are basically hacks, shortcuts, the exact targeted information that someone is looking for. People don’t want epic stuff that they have to wade through. (Amen to that!) They want it busted out into bite-size digestible pieces that hits exactly what they are looking for.
Affiliate marketing on my website - I get enough traffic to do this. It’s not a lot of money, but it is worth it for me. Is it worth it for everyone? Probably not if you are starting out and not getting a lot of meaningful traffic. There are likely better uses of your time.
Here’s what I don’t do…..
And best of all, this stuff I do online means that I don’t have to do anything else right now, at this point, to bring in new clientele, which is actually just what I always wanted. Not to have to do so much, but do exactly what I love even more, (design and writing about design).
I don’t work on getting published by a big magazine (takes a lot of time and no guarantee), I don’t do ads, I haven’t rewritten my About page to say “the only interior designer who…..”, I don’t send out a separate newsletter (because I send out each and every new blogpost to my list via Mailchimp with an RSS feed automatically)…… I don’t waste a lot of time doing a lot of stuff everyone says to do because I don’t have to.
I don’t market myself in any other way except with my blog and then sharing on my social media accounts. What I do online keeps enough business coming in and helps me filter incoming projects and clients to get the best for me and my business.
For me, blogging and social media is still a side hustle.
It all plays second fiddle to my design business. However, if you read my goals for this year, you know I’m hoping to grow it to be something bigger.
I’m looking to leverage what I’ve built so far, even more.
The Design Influencer’s Conference was just the boost I needed. It not only reconnected me with friends old and new, introduced some new info and reconfirmed some of my base knowledge, but I got a sweet deal myself that is a perfect fit for me! :-)
Hope to see you all there next year!
Here’s a link to Deborah von Donop’s recap.