This week here at Rarebit Social we’re chatting with illustrator Laura Hickman for our #rarebitsocialstories series. Her bestselling colouring book OOTD is a must for fashion lovers and she’s been using her Instagram as a platform to find work and build a community.
RS: Tell us about yourself and your business?
LH: I’m a freelance illustrator and print designer working primarily with fashion and beauty brands.
RS: How has social media helped your business to grow?
LH: Instagram in particular has played a huge part in the growth of my business, as a visual designer it is the perfect platform to share your work, and equally for people to reach out to you in a less formal manner than traditional marketing methods. Your followers get to know you and really invest in supporting your business. I’m the author/illustrator of a fashion colouring book and I love being part of the community of colourists who share their completed pages from my book on Instagram. It’s also a great place to follow designers who have used my prints on their products, they provide fantastic user generated content for me – meaning I can share how customers use my designs rather than just a mock up or flat design image.
Instagram and Twitter have also helped me connect with designers and brands I have subsequently worked with, and introduced me to a community of fellow designers who share industry advice and experience.
RS: Is there anything you’ve learnt about social media that you wish you knew when you started your business account?
LH: I’ve learned not to take social media too seriously and I welcome the removal of ‘like counts’. I wish I had worried less about the number of likes when I first started out and just posted images I like! Your content doesn’t have to be perfect, social media is much more about connecting with your community than just having a perfect grid.
RS: Do you have a strategy that you use and do you follow a theme?
LH: I don’t stick to a theme or colour plan nowadays, I think the most important strategy is to tailor content for each platform – your followers on Instagram may not be looking for the same content as your followers on Twitter, each post should be optimised for each channel. I also think it’s very important not to put all of your eggs in one basket – ultimately we don’t have any control over these sites and if you build your business on one social channel, you’ll be in trouble if it falls out of fashion or unexpectedly shuts down!
RS: What are your favourite Instagram accounts to follow for inspiration?
LH: I love following fellow print designers such as @wgstudio @longinaphillipsdesigns and @digitalweaverstudio who share a lot of their design process – something I’m personally not very good at or consistent with! My favourite brand account is @adorofarm for some serious print inspiration! I also like to follow hashtags like #patternbank and #surfacepatterndesign to discover work from new designers.