An expert’s guide to building your online profile while studying

The students who start kicking career goals straight after graduation are the ones who focus on the big picture while they’re still studying. If you’re planning on launching your own design business or want to get the attention of your dream design studio, you need an established online presence. One that demonstrates your skills, your style, your professionalism and your passion.

No one knows this better than marketing consultant, Nicola Dore. Over the years, she’s helped a range of clients stand out in the crowded online space. While completing her master’s degree, Nicola focussed on human behaviour and the impact digital has on the buying process. Then, after years of working with top agencies, Nicola launched her own successful marketing agency.

Despite her busy schedule, Nicola was kind enough to share her advice for building an authentic and appealing online presence.


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Digital marketing is accessible, flexible and allows you to attract customers and build brand personality…  

If you’re a student, social media is the perfect way to start building your online portfolio, style and knowledge so that when you launch your own business or go for your dream job, you’ll be one step ahead of the competition.

For existing businesses, you can get a much higher, measurable return using digital marketing and all campaigns are nimble. If you are not getting results, you can change your ads or strategy immediately, rather than wasting thousands of dollars on traditional media.


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Spend time building your online presence while you’re still studying. It’ll help you hit the ground running when you graduate.

The best way to build a relevant audience is to have a strong online presence that showcases who you are…

Show people your style and share your opinions on different designers’ work as well as styles and trends. That way when you meet with a potential employer or client, they’ll feel like they already know you. It’s critical to be authentic online. No one likes meeting someone they’ve been following for the past few months only to realise they’ve been lied to. It is next to impossible to build a relationship from that point.

The sooner you get started, the better...

Social media is a bit of trial and error to begin with. It will take you some time to get used to the type of content that your audience loves, what looks good on your feed, what hashtags work and how to really engage with people. Potential customers will take time to get to know you, then like you, then buy from you so the sooner you get started then better. 

Start small and build up as your confidence and content grows…

Instagram is the best platform for aspiring interior designers to build an audience and start engaging with brands. As your portfolio and style grows, you can move to Pinterest. It may be smaller and slower in growth, but it’s where people look for interior design inspiration. It also enables you to create great online portfolio for job applications. Houzz is another platform that works well for students enrolled in the Diploma and Bachelor courses as it showcases more structural work as well as interior design. It also never hurts to have a LinkedIn profile as this platform continues to grow. 


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Showcase your style and skills by sharing your student projects along with other
designer’s work that inspires you.

Don’t worry about being perfect…

Often people get so worried about posting perfect content, they never start. Just do it! Digital is super forgiving, you can pause, delete or edit items if you need to. Being real and human online is what endears people to you. We all make mistakes, it’s the lessons you learn that make you successful. Also, the sooner you get comfortable with video the better. Start using Instagram stories daily to build that confidence. They disappear in 24 hours so there’s a lot less pressure!

Bigger isn’t always better…

When it comes to social media, people often think that bigger equals better but that’s not the case. It’s far better to have 100 followers who will actually use your services than 10,000 followers who will never become a customer. Don’t get caught up in numbers, rather focus on delivering great content to a relevant and engaged audience.

 My top three marketing tips for interior designers…

  1. Have a strategy. This doesn’t have to be a big dry document, it can just be a few lines on a piece of paper that outlines who you are trying to attract with your content, your ideal customer, what type of brand personality you have and what impact you want to make through your online presence.
  2. Be unique. If you feel like you are the only person in the world who doesn’t like Scandinavian style, that’s ok. Tell people why you don’t like it and what style you would prefer to see more of.
  3. Add value to your audience. Share tips and advice, don’t just post pretty pictures.

If you’ve been putting off building your online presence, there is no time like the present! We hope Nicola’s pearls of wisdom have given you the confidence to get started or enhance your existing content. Don’t forget to tag #mymercer so we can show you some love with likes, follows, shares and comments. And be sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook.

 

If you have been thinking about studying Interior Decorating or Interior Design, our May intake is currently open for enrolment. Find out all the details here or book into our next open day on May 11. 

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