The very essence of social media is, of course, sharing and discussing information. It’s in this spirit of engagement that freelancers take to various social media platforms to promote their work, build a network, and even search for job opportunities. If you’re primarily relying on social media for these purposes and not seeing results, then it’s time to switch to a more mindful approach.
Play the role of platform matchmaker.
One of the first things that might be stymieing your efforts is the wrong choice in social media platform for your niche.
- Freelance writers, you’re going to have better chances through Twitter, Pinterest, or LinkedIn.
- If you’re a freelance graphic designer, you’ll want to choose Instagram (or Pinterest).
- Freelance videographers, YouTube should be first on your list, with Vimeo or Dailymotion as backups.
- As for Facebook, that’s slow-going for most freelance niches these days.
Adopt an attitude of selflessness.
Remember, people can be fantastically self-involved, with many approaching social media from the “what’s in it for me?” standpoint. That’s where freelancing comes in – you’re there to offer solutions to problems. Phrase Tweets/Posts/Pins in such a way that whoever sees it will, more likely than not, exclaim, “Yes, you understand me!” If you need some inspiration for social media content, look no further than Buzzfeed – their lists regularly evoke that sense of witty nostalgia many look for in shareworthy content. Speaking of which…
The sharing audience is the caring audience.
Liken your social media usage to a chain. All it takes is one unique, relatable post to get someone with a large following to share it, then in turn someone from there shares it, etc., and before you know it, you’ve been promoted like never before.
- Sometimes, it doesn’t even have to be your own content, or really have anything to do with your freelancing. A while ago, there was this pin I saw on my Fabulous Freelancer Pinterest profile homepage about how to make your own gnomes. As you can see, there are no fancy fonts or imagery. Still, I found the topic quite amusing, so I decided to repin it to my Creativity, Tricks, and Tips board accordingly. Since then, my stats (and subsequently, my blog traffic) have increased like woah.
- The key is to promote with regularity and authenticity. Don’t haphazardly post/repin/reshare just to fill your pages and timelines with content. Instead, only post things you truly feel have informational value, andhave a schedule where you post at strategic times (no more than, say, 3 times) per day across several of your platforms, with Pinterest being an exception – some people literally pin dozens of times there per day, often with the help of a Pinterest scheduler.
Following, and commenting, and liking, oh my!
There are those who, upon joining their favorite social media platform, take the immediate “go big or go home” approach and start following hundreds of people at a time. Don’t do this; it looks spammy, and can even, especially on platforms such as Instagram, result in a deactivated account. Tactics like this can also compromise your safety.
- For more on how to safeguard your identity and navigate social media wisely, please read article for Network World from IDG, “12 Tips for safe social networking.”
Take the higher road and follow small bunches of people at a time (not every day – try Monday and Fridays to start out with) – people who you truly think would be the best to network with. Some will follow you back, others won’t, but all around, you’ll be building a quality network. Also, in places like Twitter and Instagram, it generally looks better PR-wise to have more followers than you, in fact, are following.
When it comes to commenting, please, for the love of freelancing careers everywhere, don’t take the “Nice post” route. Instead, you can add meaningfully to any social media conversation by linking to articles or other content that furthers the discussion. As for “liking” things, again, do it with discretion, especially on places like Twitter where all liked Tweets have their own section for followers to see.
You want all facets of your intended audience to see any of your social media profiles and be like, “Yes, this is a talented, confident, creative person who brings a lot to the freelancing table.” Build with honesty, and you’re sure to develop a dedicated, valuable audience.
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