Freelancers have limited options when it comes to quality business tools. As solopreneurs, they lack the larger budgets of a big organization. They also have limited time and resources to market themselves or find potential customers.
This is where social media can make a huge difference. Utilizing social media is a great way for a freelancer to be more effective throughout many of their business activities. Here are a few of the best ways that freelancers can use social media to their benefit.
1. Use Social Media to Build Your Personal Brand
Without a larger business behind you, who you are as a person is synonymous with your professional business. This makes your personal brand a critical part of the freelance process. Your personal brand explains who you are (both personally and professionally), what you stand for, and what potential clients can expect when they work with you.
Social media is a great way to cultivate your personal brand. You can also use your brand to set yourself apart as an expert in your field by sending the message that you’re a:
- Thought leader
- Experienced veteran
- Elite source of knowledge
Once you’ve identified your best strengths, unique selling points (USP), and accomplishments, you can use social media to spread your personal brand gospel out to the world.
Throughout this process, never pretend to be something that you’re not. Instead, maximize who you are and make yourself as appealing as you can to your online audience.
2. Use Social Media to Follow Thought Leaders
It’s important to cultivate a personal brand that establishes you as a leader in your field. However, it’s equally important that you, yourself, acknowledge the wisdom in following thought leaders, as well.
There is no better place to locate, follow, and interact with thought leaders than on social media. This can help you remain aware of what is trending in your industry at any given moment. It can also help spark creativity and increase your knowledge as you see what other like-minded individuals are discussing on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social platforms.
3. Use Social Media to Build Your Network
The modern world has already utilized virtual networking for quite a while. However, the coronavirus crisis sped up the process and turned online networking into a primary business activity practically overnight.
While many in-person networking events will likely return in the future, it’s unlikely that virtual networking will decrease in importance, even then.
With that said, you must use your social media accounts to network in the right ways. Each platform has its own strengths and weaknesses. For instance, here are a few ways that you can use social media to network, which can bring in more clients:
- Use LinkedIn to interact with peers, post your resume, and generally build business connections.
- Use Twitter to find thought leaders and stay up to date on the latest news in both your own and your clients’ industries.
- Utilize Facebook for more relaxed conversations and to let your friends and family know that you offer freelancing services.
- Use Instagram to establish a visual representation of your services online.
If you use each social media platform thoughtfully, they can be very effective in building your network.
4. Use Social Media to Identify Your Audience
Peer-to-peer connections aren’t the only benefit of networking on social media. You can also use it to hobnob with potential clients and directly target your customers.
If you offer a specific service, such as niche freelance writing or wedding photography, you can use social media to identify and learn about your target audience.
Use things like keyword searches and hashtags to find out what kind of people are interested in the services that you provide. From there, you can engage with them and use the opportunity to learn about what makes them tick, what their pain points are, and how you can help them the most effectively.
You can also use these interactions to help the best possible customer experience for potential future clients. As you work to find new clients, you can ensure that you provide quality customer service attention in your social media interactions through things like:
- Using active listening;
- Answering questions quickly;
- Setting realistic expectations for your service.
Social media is a great way to make a positive first impression on a potential client.
5. Use Social Media to Showcase Your Work
Social media can also be a great place to show off past work that you’ve done. Of course, you don’t want to do this in an obnoxious or blowhard fashion. Instead, look for reasonable yet effective ways to use social media as an extension of your portfolio.
For instance, you can upload links to something you wrote right into your LinkedIn profile. You could also share an article reviewing a project that you led on Twitter or Facebook.
Whether someone is visiting your social profiles due to an application you filled out, a referral from a past client, or a random search, displaying your work right there for all the world to see is an ideal way to impress a potential client. It has the potential to generate a steady source of leads indefinitely.
6. Use Social Media to Provide Information and Find Work
Finally, never overlook the practical use of social media as a way to communicate, exchange information, and even find work. For example, make sure to fully fill out your LinkedIn profile so that it operates as an online version of your resume. This is a great way to help others discover valuable information about you.
You can also use social media to let others know that you’re looking for work. Some platforms even generate job adverts and can send you notifications when companies are hiring someone with your skillset.
Getting the Most Out of Social Media as a Freelancer
Social media is a powerful freelance tool for so many different reasons. From industry research and personal branding to client acquisition, providing information, and bolstering your network, you can use social media to help your freelance efforts thrive.
So review your current social media situation. Consider if you’re using platforms for the right reasons, if your profiles are up to date, and what else you can do to improve your social media presence. Your career will thank you for the effort.
Noah Rue is a journalist and content writer, fascinated with the intersection between global health, personal wellness, and modern technology. When he isn’t searching out his next great writing opportunity, Noah likes to shut off his devices and head to the mountains to disconnect.