Twitter is a wonderful marketing, networking and lead-generating tool for new and seasoned freelancers. We’ve prepared a guide to Twitter for freelancers, so you can navigate the waters of @replies and lists to get ahead in your freelancing career.
Networking on Twitter
Twitter is a great place to meet other freelancers who are in your field, and start growing your network of contacts. A lot of good can come from following and interacting with fellow freelancers: you gain insight into their daily routines (which can be hard to come by as many freelancers work from home); you foster relationships with people who might be able to help you out one day if you are overloaded with work; and you can possibly score a gig or two through your fellow freelancers who have too much on their plates.
A good place to start finding other freelance professionals is through the FreelanceFolder account. This active and popular freelance network has created several lists of different types of freelancers to follow on Twitter, including freelance writers, freelance designers, freelance photographers and more.
WeFollow also compiled a list of freelance professionals to follow, which is updated constantly and reflects the influence level of those listed. It’s a great resource for anyone who is just getting their toes wet in the world of Twitter for freelancers.
Marketing Your Freelance Skills on Twitter
Having a presence on Twitter is essential for freelancers who want to market their services. If you have a sizable list of followers, many of whom may be potential clients, simply tweeting that you are a skilled and experienced graphics designer in between projects could land you a gig. At the very least, it gets your name out there as an eager, and social media-savvy, freelance professional.
Marketing can establish your freelance brand, and it can give you expert status in your field. Link to the best articles you’ve written, the most creative web designs, or your photography portfolio. It also helps to link to other, prominent items in your field that you might not have had a hand in, but that you find useful – this shows that you are engaged in the current conversation about your freelance specialty.
When you plan your Twitter marketing, you’ve got to understand how the Twitter-verse operates. For instance, if you are using a personal account – likely including your name and a picture of you – you’ll want to evenly spread your tweeting between marketing and other activities, like link-sharing and retweeting. However, if you’re using a business-specific account – featuring your business name and logo – you can emphasize marketing a bit more. Keep in mind, though, that people won’t want to follow you if you are using Twitter as a purely one-way broadcasting tool.
Finding Gigs on Twitter
Twitter is also a useful tool for freelancers looking for work. While it’s not necessarily easy, there are several ways that you can find gigs through Twitter.
First, as mentioned, you might be able to get a gig off another freelancer. There is a tight community of freelancers on Twitter who are willing to share gigs and clients with each other. If you network, you might find yourself receiving tweets from fellow freelancers offering work, if they have a full schedule and cannot take on another client.
Alternatively, you might find that a lot of your potential client base is already on Twitter. This is especially true for designers and programmers, although many clients looking for writers and other freelancers are on Twitter as well. If you follow the right people on Twitter, you could be the first to know about new jobs and gigs that are opening up, well before they get posted to any job board.
Offering Gigs to Help other Freelancers
Remeber: Twitter is a two-way street. If you’re looking for fellow freelancer to throw you a possible gig now and then, don’t forget to return the favor! If you are contacted by a client but can’t get the project done in time, don’t simply turn it down: ask if you can throw the gig out into your freelancer network and see who bites. This will foster a healthy, cooperative relationship with people who otherwise would be your competition.
Twitter for Freelancers: Tips and Advice
- Keep it professional. It can be hard to draw the line between personal and professional on Twitter, especially if you’re using your personal account to represent your freelance business. However, keep the type of image you want to project in mind, and avoid negativity or any tweets that could land you in trouble with a possible client.
- Your profile is your face on Twitter. You want to represent yourself well, and your profile is the first place that people will look if they’re interested in contacting you about a gig. A good rule of thumb when choosing a profile picture is to either use a headshot of yourself or your business’ logo; and keep your bio mostly professional as well – you can read our tips for writing a killer bio for some ideas on how to get targeted followers on Twitter.
- Be active, engage, and have a conversation. Twitter is about those two-way conversations that you have with others. If you only post links to your work, or advertise your services, without retweeting, @mentioning or conversing with other freelancers, you’ll likely turn people off from following you.
- Twitter takes time, every day. It can be tough, but make sure your Twitter account doesn’t lie dormant for too long. Try spending 10 minutes a day checking up on the people you follow and scheduling a few tweets. On the other end of the spectrum, Twitter can be addictive, so try to catch yourself if you’re spending several half hour chunks watching funny video links rather than building your freelancing brand.