Becoming a freelancer is one of the most liberating experiences that you can pursue. Not only do you control when and where you work, but you also get to decide how many projects you'd like to take on.
Unfortunately, it's not always easy to secure new clients as a freelancer, especially when you're in the early stages of your career. Interestingly, though, you can use social media as a tool to help you.
Let's take a look at how you can develop a powerful social media marketing strategy.
This might seem obvious, it's something that many freelancers forget to consider.
Although you might be capable of great work, you can't expect anyone to hire you if they aren't able to see that for themselves. You'll need to consistently post high-quality content on social media in order to showcase your talents to potential clients.
You can think of your social media accounts as online portfolios, and that's essentially what they are. As time goes on, you will be able to offer your followers a comprehensive look at the type of work you specialize in.
Depending on your field, it's not always possible to post original content on a regular basis. Those who shoot and edit video, for example, might take a week or two before posting anything original of their own.
To help fill in these gaps, you can repost or share other people's content in order to convey that you're still active on the platform. If you're not quite sure what type of content you should share, simply think of what your followers would enjoy seeing or would find useful.
Sharing the content that other freelancers in your industry post can also help you build professional connections. These individuals also tend to share your content if you consistently engage with theirs, which can exponentially increase your overall exposure.
As you begin to develop a larger following and secure more clients, you'll need to develop a system to streamline your content delivery. Fortunately, there's a platform specifically to help freelancers do so.
This is far easier said than done, but it's an essential step in a solid social media marketing plan.
The more followers you have, the more likely it is that content you post will lead to securing work in the future. Interestingly, there's also a psychological aspect to consider when it comes to your total number of followers.
Let's assume that two identical accounts are created that post the exact same content. They both target the same demographic and neither account targets the same individual person.
One account has 100 followers and the other account has 500,000 followers.
Although the content that the accounts post as identical, people are far more likely to engage with and share the content from the account with a higher number of followers. This is because the account with more followers is viewed as an authority in the space.
Having a large social following gives you plenty of industry clout that you can leverage when forming business relationships. After you reach a certain point, you'll also begin to have potential clients approach you directly with propositions.
It's also important to note that you should only prioritize accruing genuine followers for your social media platforms. There are many freelancers who employ paid services to instantly gain thousands of followers, but this always ends up being a detriment in the long run.
The end result is an account that has tens of thousands of followers but hardly any engagement on any of its posts.
Over time, you will consistently gain followers as long as you post high-quality content and interact with other people on social media. Fortunately, the rate at which you gain followers tends to grow exponentially over time.
You may eventually find that you get the same amount of followers in a single day that you used to get within a month.
Joining a social media group comes with a large number of benefits. But, this isn't a location where you can directly promote yourself or your work.
In many cases, there are rules that declare this type of behavior is unacceptable. Instead, Social media groups serve as a private community for like-minded individuals to network.
For instance, let's assume that an aspiring freelance photographer joins a photography group on Facebook. This would be a place to exchange ideas, showcase work, and learn from the other members in order to cultivate their own skill sets.
You can also use groups as a place to get feedback on your own work or ask for guidance in a particular area. It should also be noted that many groups are meant for both those seeking work in addition to freelancers.
This will provide you with the opportunity to directly interact with a potential client.
As long as you provide legitimate value to the other members of this community, there's a strong chance that you'll encounter opportunities that you would otherwise not have access to. In general, it's also better to join fewer groups than it is to join a wide range, as it can be difficult to stay active in a large number of different communities.
It's crucial to develop one-on-one relationships on social media as a freelancer. As previously mentioned, though, you should never approach the situation with self-promotion in mind.
Instead, you should selflessly interact with these individuals while offering them something of value.
The term 'value' here is subjective and could refer to something as simple as a compliment. Or, it could be a download link to a free e-book that you wrote.
If you choose to offer this person something tangible, be sure you ask if it's all right to send it to them beforehand. Otherwise, you will come off as shallow and potentially invasive. You may even find yourself on their list of blocked accounts.
This is a slow process that will often not produce results for months afterward. But, building relationships takes time, and you'll need to consistently interact with these people in order to benefit from your communication with them.
Although the end goal is to either secure work or gain insight into a freelance opportunity, it's essential to remember that the users on the other side of the screen are people like you. So, striking up industry-related conversations that both of you can learn from goes a long way.
When these relationships eventually blossom into freelance work, it's highly recommended to use a discovery form to help you keep track of all your clients' needs. As time goes on, you'll develop a better understanding of the type of information you should initially obtain and make the onboarding process easier for both parties.
One of the biggest mistakes that freelancers make is blurring the line between their professional and personal social media accounts. To elaborate, many freelancers tend to brand themselves as themselves.
While there's nothing inherently wrong with this, you'll need to keep a few things in mind if this is the path you choose to take.
When branding yourself as a professional, it's essential that you maintain a high level of professionalism whenever something you post can be seen by another party. This includes direct messages, tweets, posts within social media groups, etc.
Always assume that anything you say on your professional social media account will be seen by the public. Even a private conversation you have with another individual could still be relayed to other parties.
So, it's essential that you never speak negatively of certain professionals, groups, etc. This will allow you to keep your professional reputation untarnished and prevent issues before they arise.
One of the key pillars of proper branding as a freelancer is consistency. This means that your work should always be of a consistent quality, and you should always strive to portray the same image.
In terms of social media, this means that all of your social media platforms should have a certain level of cohesion. To get started, you can use the same logo, profile picture, header image, etc. to become as recognizable as possible.
The type of content that you post on each platform should be highly similar. It wouldn't make much sense to post highly professional work on Instagram but post lower-quality content (such as a mockup) on Facebook.
From here, you can ensure that people develop the right idea about you as a freelancer in a matter what platform they first encounter you on.
Although this may seem contrary to the above advice, this doesn't mean that you should ignore all but one social media platform.
Having your brand across multiple platforms will give you the greatest amount of exposure. But, you should choose one platform to serve as your primary focus.
This will depend highly upon what type of content you create. For example, a photographer would take advantage of Instagram since the entire feed on that social platform consists of images and videos.
If you tend to take on projects that require less creativity (such as freelance accounting), Twitter or Facebook would be a more viable option in the scenario.
It's worth exploring project management tools to help break down your required tasks when working for clients. This will help you streamline the process and stay as organized as possible until the project is completed.
In general, you'll need to keep the following info in mind when making your decision:
This platform is ideal for those who run creative businesses. With the use of 24-hour stories, reels, this image-centric social media platform is great for photographers, graphic designers, and videographers.
But, it can also be a solid option for musicians and other creative professionals.
When it comes to social interaction on the Internet, Twitter is king. This is where all the conversation happens and this is also where trends begin.
Any freelancer that needs to be on top of current events or frequently communicate with others should focus on Twitter.
Facebook ads are a great way to reach clients looking for your services.
As previously mentioned, you can also join a community or group in your industry to network with others while honing your skills.
If you primarily create video content, it's no surprise that YouTube is your go-to option. Many freelancers also find that their profession can benefit from the creation of video content.
You can also use YouTube in conjunction with Instagram to get the most exposure for your video content.
So, it's imperative that you make use of it. When implemented correctly, a social media marketing strategy can be one of the most powerful assets you have when it comes to securing new clients.
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