How Freelancers Should Be Using Social Media

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Finding work as a freelancer can be difficult sometimes. Are you using your social media channels in the most effective ways possible to bring you new clients? Even if you think you are, you probably have some areas where you could afford to improve. Here are some strategic tips for you to use in maximizing your social media presence, so you can spend less time hunting for clients and more time working.

Setting Your Business Goals

As in any venture, your social media efforts won’t get very far without a plan. What goals do you want to accomplish? Here are some to consider:

  • Identify and build up your personal brand. Presenting a consistent, professional brand image is an indispensable component of freelance success. It shows that you know what you’re doing and you’re not afraid to make yourself accessible and transparent.
  • Get to know others in your industry whom you might never meet at a face-to-face networking event. Sometimes your best contacts will come from your online interactions, especially when you start out (the Internet may initially be the only forum where you start meeting other freelancers).
  • Market yourself without being too assertive. A simple greeting via a public social media post is far less intrusive than trying to contact someone at their office with no prior introduction.
  • Get industry tips. Tagging your industry related post with a relevant hashtag is sure to get you more information — and possible connections — than trying to make it completely on your own.

These all sound like daunting tasks — especially if your work time is already full of projects, and any extra social media effort might start eating into your personal time. Kevan Lee at Buffer has some pro tips for making the most of social media in 30-minute chunks, such as allocating a half-hour slot for each task and using a social dashboard to coordinate your accounts. With these, you can minimize time-wasting and grow your reach!

Choosing Platforms and Post Types

Even the best-laid social networking plans may fall flat if not implemented on the right platforms at the right time. Freelancers Union offers some tips on which kinds of social media profiles would be best for your goals. Almost any of the major platforms work well for freelancers, as long as you keep details about your personal life to a minimum, maintain a positive tone, and keep your business content focused and specific.

In addition to posting great content, you want your profile itself to be optimized for search. It helps to use the same profile picture for all your accounts and write your bio with common industry keywords in mind. More suggestions to make your online presence the best it can be include guest posting on similar blogs, following people who engage with you, and paying more attention to LinkedIn and local social platforms.

While there are guides out there on how to write the best posts for each social network (keep URLs short or out of the text when possible, don’t overuse trending terms, etc.), you have to use a fair amount of your own judgment as well. Draw on your past experience and analytics to help you decide what your followers most want to see. As far as timing goes, try to avoid the most common dead zones until you see for yourself when your posts get the most engagement and setup a schedule that addresses future events.

Benefiting from Your Social Media Strategy

Once you’ve implemented these suggestions, you may feel that the hardest part of your work is over, but you can’t leave social media unattended for long. To reap the benefits of a vibrant social media strategy, you have to stay on top of your industry. It may seem like a chore, but a 30-minute plan like Lee’s can lower your reluctance. The benefits include things like:

  • Increased awareness for your brand. This gives you an equal competitive footing with others in your field who work for a company or have already established their own solo brand images.
  • Connecting with other freelancers to collaborate with you on projects where you’re stronger in some areas than others. This also affords an opportunity to trade ideas with people who are as enthusiastic about the field as you are.
  • Using targeted strategies like LinkedIn group participation to go straight to connections who are dedicated to your industry. This makes networking a faster process, which frees more time for work.
  • Giving glimpses into your life, which makes you more relatable to potential contacts.

Social media has a world of opportunity to offer you, thanks to the unprecedented global connectedness it offers. You can network in a way you never thought existed, find a niche market you could only dream of, and acquire clients who were previously only available to large companies with extensive contact databases. What’s not to love about it?

How have you used social media to grow your freelancing career? Let us know any insight you’ve gained from your own experiences!

Katherine Halek is the content strategist at Signazon.com, a leading online printer that works with thousands of small businesses around the country. Katherine enjoys writing about social media, marketing and entrepreneurship. Connect with her on Google+.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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