by Robyn Roste
In October 2010 I joined Twitter. I had heard it was a good place to get freelance work so I put up a profile, followed a few people and tweeted when the mood struck. In general this was while I watched sports or when something interesting happened.
While I was having a great time, I wasn’t getting any work and wondered what I was doing wrong. So I took a social media course for freelancers. The strategies weren’t rocket science but they were a fundamental mindset shift, which took me some time to wrap my head around. As I implemented the tactics, much to my amazement, I began getting freelance work. It changed my entire freelance business and social media is now an integral part of my marketing strategy.
Freelancers emerging from longstanding in-house corporate gigs, or who are new to the freelance world, may be blinking in the bright lights of social media wondering how on earth they’re meant to use this tool to connect with potential clients or employers. I get it. How does posting photos on Instagram result in paying clients? How does linking an article on Facebook grab potential employers’ attention and encourage them to reach out? On the surface it makes no sense.
The digital landscape is confusing and overwhelming to say the least. When I got into social media marketing there were three networks with straightforward strategies. Today, there are many more platforms and the rules seem to be ever-changing. Tactics that worked a few years ago don’t seem as effective anymore. So what is a freelancer to do?
One option is giving up altogether. Decide it’s not worth the trouble and make your accounts private or delete them. Another option is learning how to make social media work for you, starting with optimizing your profiles.
I like the second option.
How to optimize your social media profiles to connect and build relationships with potential clients or employers
These days a potential client has a better chance of seeing you on social media than stumbling across your website or meeting you in person. Social media’s reach is wide. So how do you ensure your best foot is forward for these leads?
Here are five small tweaks you can make to ensure your social media profiles send the right message to potential clients or employers.
- Choose standout profile and cover photos
Most platforms want you using both, and you should. These images should be high quality and represent your brand. Unless you’re a faceless corporation, your profile image should be of you.
- Use your elevator pitch as your bio
Everybody skims and no one pays full attention on social media. You want anyone who visits your social media profiles to know in an instant who you are and what you do. Your social media bio works hard for you—it explains the work you do, who you serve, and hints at your personality.
- Link to your website or portfolio
No matter the platform, you have an opportunity to add a URL to your social media profile. Don’t leave this blank! This is an ideal opportunity to begin building a relationship with a potential client or employer. Where is the best place to send them? Link it in your profile.
- Use words your ideal clients use to explain your services
In the marketing world, these are known as keywords and they work for matching clients with freelancers. This can go in your bio or another relevant place. Think of what your ideal client or employer would search for, say on LinkedIn, and ensure those words show up in your profile in a natural way.
- Make it easy for people to contact you
You don’t have to publish your mobile number on the Internet, but you do need to include a way for people to get in touch if they want to hire you. Think about the way you want to be contacted and list that information. Make it easy for people to get in touch, but keep your boundaries intact.
It’s easy to assume your social media friends and followers are aware of and understand the work you do, but much of the time they don’t. Do you know the details of your entire network? Work from a place of assuming people DON’T know you and optimize your social media profiles for your freelance business. Make it obvious to even the most sleep-deprived mother and non-technical editor. Make it easy for potential clients or employers to think of you when they’re looking for help with their next project.
Robyn Roste is passionate about helping freelance writers market themselves online. She has created a free printable of these five ways freelancers can optimize their social media profiles.
POSTED IN: Features