The road to going freelance can be confusing – especially in today’s fast-paced market. Thankfully, there are more than a few ways in which prospective freelancers can get ahead. All you need is an internet connection and a smartphone.
In this article, we break down the things you should be doing on social media to cultivate your audience, amplify your content and attract new clients.
And in a society where social media platforms are growing faster than we can keep up with, we’ve also outlined the biggest social media players and their features to help you decide which is the best one for your business.
Stay up to date with trends
The social media landscape is constantly changing. While last year we were all busy making a stock photo of an egg the most liked post on Instagram, this year we’re fawning over Baby Yoda.
Social media is a growing vortex of viral trends, memes and challenges that reach a bigger audience than your best-paid social ad. It’s an addictive and consuming lifestyle that challenges you to keep up or be left behind the times.
That’s why keeping up to date with the latest online trends and being aware of these moments is key to staying reactive. Being one of the first to report of the latest social news will help to position you as an expert.
Showcase your business information
Social media profiles are the most important ‘about me’ blurb that your followers will see. This brief description gives them an instant idea as to who you are and what you do, so you need to make sure that you’re showcasing the highlights of who you are.
Your business bio should be concise yet informative, while having enough personality to help you stand out from the crowd. It should also include a professional email address so people can get in touch with you privately.
Keep your professional and personal accounts separate
Whether it’s your embarrassing Facebook pictures from high school or the very first tweets you posted back in 2007, we all have personal posts that we’d rather remain private.
That’s why it’s important to keep your personal and professional accounts separate on social media. Create a brand new account that you can start from scratch with and be sure to purge any incriminating posts from your personal account that might negatively impact your freelance business.
And while we state the importance of projecting your personality and giving your social channels character, you should always remain professional.
Have a long-term plan
Sourcing clients, raising your brand awareness, gaining a large following and achieving success won’t happen overnight. Unless you plan to take the viral approach, that is.
Building up your social profiles will take time and hard work, so be prepared to have to wait before you start to see results.
Forming a long-term plan will help you shape a social media strategy to follow. Identify your goals and research what tools you might want to help you achieve them. For example, you might plan to post regularly, in which case a scheduling tool might be useful.
Consistency and quality content are really important too, so make sure you factor these into your plan.
Make your brand image consistent across all platforms
Presenting a consistent image across all of your social platforms allows users to recognise you more easily. It’s one of the starting blocks to building your brand.
Where relevant, try to use the same profile picture, icon, header image and tagline.
Show off your work
Depending on the platform you choose to use and your profession, you should take the opportunity to showcase your work.
Image-sharing websites like Pinterest and Instagram have the ideal functionality for showing off creative talents. If you’re a website developer, creative designer or even a copywriter, use these social platforms to give your work more exposure.
Think of it as a portfolio of your best projects.
Interact with your community
Put the ‘social’ in social media by using your platforms to interact with the wider community. Follow your fellow freelancers and join freelance groups on Facebook to build up your network.
Once you’ve found your community, speak up and spark a conversation. From answering someone’s question to asking for advice, any interaction helps to build up a rapport with other freelancers.
You never know, they might give you client recommendations or point you in the direction of a client that’s in need of your talents.
Social media isn’t just useful for creating connections and forming an online portfolio. Your social platform can also become a fountain of knowledge if you know how to market your skills right.
Posting how-to guides, insights and other valuable information that other people find useful is a great way to position yourself as a figure of authority and boost your credibility.
Giving others the gift of knowledge makes you a reliable source, which will likely have people returning to your page.
Keep a blog to accompany your socials
While a blog isn’t technically classed as a social media platform, it does work hand in hand with social media. Having a blog on your website and marketing your posts through your social channels should increase your traffic, and your chances of landing a client job. Blogs also generate a lot of traffic from search engines too.
Keeping your blog updated with regular content shows your expertise and helps to build up your reputation.
Connect with businesses and brands
It’s not all about waiting for clients to come to you. Sometimes you have to be the one to initiate the exchange.
Once you’re all set up on social, be sure to follow the brands and businesses that you’d like to work for. This a good way to stay on top of what they’re doing and find out the latest news and updates.
Approach them or respond to one of their posts to put yourself in front of them. This way, you’re shining a spotlight on your talents and making sure that you’re seen.
Personalise your social content
Having a professional approach to your social accounts is definitely important, but don’t be a robot. Posting real life updates and the behind the scenes of the work that you’re producing helps to paint a more realistic picture of you.
Give your followers snippets of your work process or an interesting anecdote of something that’s happened to you. Take them along to an event for a touch added value and personalisation. The real-life aspect of social media can attract people to your page and set you apart from other freelancers.
Try a paid social approach
If you want to accelerate your progress and fast track to a large audience, consider a paid social approach.
Paid platforms offered by the likes of Facebook and Pinterest can be especially profitable in garnering new clients – while tracking results will enable you to improve on a month-by-month basis.
Just remember, if you’re just starting out in the world of social, or you don’t have a lot of experience with the paid side of things, we’d recommend sticking to organic social.
Focus on one platform
Rather than trying to keep up all of the main channels, pick one or two that you think would fit your services the best. Give these channels your attention and time, crafting them to where you want them to be.
Each channel is unique in functionality, use and audience, so it’s crucial to pick the right one for you.
For example, if you’re a freelance accountant an image-heavy platform like Pinterest might not be the most suitable choice. Think about what you want to get out of social media and which tool will help you to achieve your goals.
To help you make your choice, we’ve pulled together a brief guide to each platform and their benefits.
Twitter, as defined by its About Me page, is, “what’s happening in the world and what people are talking about right now.”
It’s an interactive news site that reports on the latest happenings from every corner of the globe. Best for striking up a discussion, Twitter is the hub for social interaction.
Each carefully crafted, 280 character tweet is a brand-building, content-marketing and debate-starting opportunity for your business.
Follow, retweet and favourite your way to a bigger audience and shout out your services on Twitter.
Pinterest is an online visualisation of a pin board, but without the fiddly pushpins.
Create boards for each of your projects and pin your work to each one for a highly visual portfolio. The ability to pin infinite pieces of work to a board means that you can track the entire process of production, from mind mapping and ideation right through to publication.
It’s arguably one of the most effective ways to showcase your work, just make sure that all of your posts link back to your website so users know that you’re the creator and can contact you.
Pinterest also runs paid social advertising, meaning that you can tap into its 300 million strong user base.
The platform that needs no introduction, but you didn’t think you were going to ‘Add Friend’ your way into the freelancer community did you?
The group feature is the most effective way to harness the power of Facebook to grow your freelance business. Join groups to connect with likeminded people and fellow freelancers within your sector. You can find people in these groups who might be able to help you, and people who have an active interest in your services.
Build connections and engage through Facebook groups, but be wary of being too marketing-focused. People are part of these groups to network, not to trawl through post after post of self-advertising content.
The site that’s least suited to showcase your work, but that every freelancer should be signed up to. In fact, every business professional should be.
LinkedIn is the most essential of all the social platforms, with 61 million senior level influencers and 40 million decision makers using the site.
If Twitter is for sparking conversation, LinkedIn is where you go for the hard sell. It’s the place where you can target potential clients and let them know that you’re the perfect person for their job.
Nailing your LinkedIn profile is the key. Build your profile out and include all the relevant information about yourself that someone might need to get a good feel for you. Skills, qualifications, testimonials, work experience, etc.
Think of your LinkedIn page as your CV. Get as much information onto those digital pages as you can!
Video content has already established itself as king, so it’s only right that we should be using it to our advantage.
And what better place than the New York Public Library of digital video content? That’s right, YouTube is the biggest online video streaming site with over 500 hours of video being uploaded to the site every minute.
Video has proven to be one of the fastest and easiest ways to consume content, making it ideal to promote your work. Creating short showreel and case study videos are the perfect way to sell your talents and show off your work in a short space of time.
A more hands-on approach is to upload how-to guides, tutorials and demos to build your expertise.
Instagram isn’t all about golden hour selfies and perfect sunsets. The social network that allows anyone to be a photographer, Instagram is a super visual platform.
With each carousel post and highlight reel, freelancers can use Instagram to capture their projects and show off each piece of work that they’ve created. A freelancer’s Instagram page is a storytelling device that grabs the attention of potential clients.
The 24-hour stories feature also enables users to give their followers a behind the scenes look into their lives to capture the person behind the work.
Use hashtags to grow your audience. Live steam a Q&A to position yourself as an authority figure. Use the poll and question and answer features in stories to engage with your followers.
Instagram combines the visual aspect of YouTube and Pinterest with the interactivity of Twitter, for a multi-functional channel that’s really effective for creative businesses.
Whether you’re an established freelancer looking for a change of scenery, or a startup looking to make your mark on the industry, every professional needs space to succeed. Come down and discover the dynamic co-working office at Use.Space, where every space provides a stimulating setting for creating and succeeding. Get in touch with us today to find out more.