On the 24th of February 2019 I will have been a Behance for member for 10 years, it feels like just yesterday that I joined. A lot has happened since then, one of the more recent updates introducing the ubiquitous “stories” to replace the rarely used work in progress feature. Apart from a few changes the functionality, to the casual user, has remained quite unchanged for a large part of it’s history. I’ve always appreciated the way Behance promotes work organically and this is why I think it is a good platform for designers.
A large audience
The most basic thing Behance does well is notifying all your followers when you post new work. This is done through e-mail notifications if you have them enabled, and also through a simple “New” tag on your dashboard. Behance users don’t tend to post as often as other networks so it’s quite easy to follow a couple hundred people with email notifications turned on and not be overwhelmed by the amount of new work.
One of, if not ,the best things about Behance is how if any of your followers interact with your work, comment or appreciate, that gets broadcast to their followers by appearing on the their dashboard. As you can imagine this works exponentially. If you have lots of followers, or a small number of high-quality followers, you are able to broadcast your work to a very large audience (which in turn helps to audience to grow more). Additionally when you appreciate or comment on another project you know that your are promoting it to your followers and you can use this to recommend good work. Theoretically this could be abused, but my general experience has been that by curating the people you follow you avoid the people looking for quick exposure. On the flip-side if you follow good curators you are exposed to more good work which is also great.
Curated galleries are another great feature. They allow you to see fresh work consistently without having to follow specific creatives and they give you a goal to work towards for your own work as a form of recognition.
Why it’s good for businesses
If you’re a freelance, small or large studio, Behance can be hugely beneficial. Unfortunately the internet is becoming more and more centralised around a number of services and social networks, while it is still important to have a standalone portfolio, it is a lot harder for users to find it organically. Behance has the benefit of being a portfolio platform with a built in audience. Apart from the points mentioned previously, there is a much higher change of your work being seen organically through Behance then there is of it being found on your website, at least anecdotally.
Abusing the system
The basic idea of abusing the system is to get your work to show up in your follower’s feeds repeatedly to essentially give them another chance to appreciate it. There are a few ways to do this: Commenting on your own work, appreciating your own work (only works once I think), editing the project by adding or removing images, changing the cover image or simply unpublishing and republishing the work. For the most part these hacks are fairly innocuous and more effort than they’re worth. There is one scenario where it does pay to game the system a bit…
Judging a book by it’s cover
“You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to…” choose the perfect cover image. Luckily this isn’t the 313, you don’t only get one shot, and it’s actually beneficial to change the cover images of your projects every couple weeks. Most people are only viewing your project based on the single cover image which can’t always convey the entirety of a project. By changing the cover image you’re giving your followers another chance to be intrigued and view your project.