4 More New Social Media Trends for Freelancers to Explore

At the beginning of the year we posted about five social networking trends that freelancers may wish to explore. While those five trends will still be of interest to many, six months is a long time when it comes to technology. That’s why I’m posting today about four more social media tools or apps that you may wish to explore.

Here’s the newest list of social media trends for freelancers:

1. Google+

Perhaps the biggest change in the social media arena is the addition of a major new platform by Google, Google+. Although the platform is still in beta at the time of this writing, it will almost certainly become a major player in the social media arena.

Of course, the number of users on Google+ is currently limited to those who can get invites, but once Google opens it to the general public I expect that it will take off. With Google as a backer, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this one advertised on mainstream media either–Google certainly has the resources to wage a full scale campaign.

I’ve been fortunate enough to be one of the early adapters of Google+, and my initial reaction is mostly positive. This platform directly addresses many of the concerns that users have had with Facebook and other social media tools (such as the ability to control who sees which information). In addition, Google+ has the potential to become an all-in-one platform since other Google tools are already incorporated. I also understand a business platform is on the way.

Some key features include:

  • Circles. Divide your contacts into categories. You get to choose which circle can see which information.
  • The Plus. The plus of Google+ allows you to vote on virtually everything on the Internet. Ultimately, this will impact search engine rankings.
  • The Hangout. Chat with up to ten of your contacts at the same time.
  • The integration. Google offers a large number of tools already (such as Google Documents, Analytics, email, etc.). Now they are all integrated with Google+.
  • Google+ is definitely one to watch and it might well eventually become a social networking standard for freelancers and other small businesses.

    2. Klout

    Influence, and specifically social media influence, has been a big topic for the past year, or so. People are looking for ways to determine whether their social networking is effective. (And who can blame them?)

    As a result of this need, several apps have sprung up to help social media users determine whether their efforts are working. Klout is one of these apps.

    If you give Klout access to your Twitter, Facebook, and/or LinkedIn account it will provide you with some interesting statistics about your social media usage conveniently displayed on a handy dashboard. Among other stats, some information you will find includes:

  • A list of those you interact with most frequently
  • The probability that something you share will be acted on (amplification)
  • Your true reach

You can also compare your influence to others and even affect the Klout scores of your friends. One of the most interesting aspects of the app is the underdeveloped Perks feature, which offers “rewards” to those who have achieved a high Klout score.

The Klout app is also in beta, so there may be additional features added in the near future.

3. Twylah

Twylah is a Twitter aggregator, much like paper.li. However, rather than the end result appearing like a newspaper, the Twylah aggregation is designed to be a customizeable landing page of your related topics. In fact, the focus of Twylah seems to be much more about you and your brand. There’s even an option for your readers to click on so they can follow you in Twitter.

Another distinguishing feature of Twylah is the power tweet, which some reviewers have claimed can dramatically increase traffic. However, like other Twitter aggregators, Twylah creates an additional layer between Twitter and the original source of the content.

Like the other tools mentioned, Twylah is in beta version.

4. ReferralKey

ReferralKey, or something like it, may well be how freelancers find jobs in the future. (Although some might argue that LinkedIn is already meeting this need.)

The site is designed specifically for helping freelancers refer projects to each other. Freelancers connect with those who they might recommend for future projects, with colleagues rating each other in six categories ranging from responsiveness to fees. There’s also the option to reward those colleagues who refer work to you with a finder’s fee.

ReferralKey is also open to members of the community, who can review the profiles in the member directory and select the freelancer whose services they wish to use.

I know this will be a place I check when I need to refer work to a colleague.

Your Turn

Have you tried any new social media tools or apps lately? Share your experiences in the comments below.

Image by Arne Hendriks


  1. says

    I just began using Klout and ReferralKey. I haven’t jumped on the Google+ bandwagon for a number of reasons. The first is time — I’ve got clients to please. Second, I don’t quite understand what it’s all about yet. I’ve learned that I (especially me) should not get involved in things I don’t fully understand. Third, I’m waiting for all the hype to die down a bit to see if it’s really worth it or if it’s just the excitement of ‘something new’ driving all the talk. I saw your (Laura) profile on Twyla and LOVED it. I put in a request to become involved and haven’t heard back yet. The two most valuable social media platforms I currently use are Twitter and Stumbleupon. I am just beginning to use Facebook. I’m still not clear on how FB is going to drive clients to me or traffic to my site(s).

  2. says

    Hm, interesting choices.

    Google+ will be great for businesses, once they allow businesses to actually sign up. They’ve told businesses to hold off for a couple weeks and they’re even deleting accounts. It’s suggested that you just wait if you want to promote your business through Google+.

    Klout is honestly becoming more of a nuisance than a reliable source for freelancers. It was neat at first, but it’s not as reliable as you might think. It’s a bit skewed and honestly, valuing your Twitter by the amount of retweets and interactions is better than simply seeing a ‘popularity’ score.

    ReferralKey is also flawed. Everyone wants referrals and it’s rare when someone is actually referred. And then when someone is referred, they expect the price to be lower than expected. Basically, everyone is in it for themselves. They’re not interacting like they would on Facebook or Twitter or even Google+.

    So in the end, definitely try these networks, but focus more on engaging with people.

  3. says

    Nikhail, Thanks for commenting. :) Let us know how it goes if you do try Google+.

    Hi Morgan. Great feedback. Re Klout: Retweets and interactions definitely count for something, but I think ultimately you’d want to know if the contacts took action based on your recommendations. As far as ReferralKey goes, I think it may be too new of a tool to know for sure if it is working. I do agree that it is not the same as Facebook, Twitter or Google+. What I’m most interested in is what trends you’re seeing. What apps are you trying out?

  4. Lucy says

    Laura, I completely agree with you that freelancers helping other freelancers is going to be seriously popular – and profitable, if we all use the idea responsibly. I already see a lot of groups like this being formed, although I haven’t seen another site like ReferralKey. (Actually, I’m a bigger fan of the sites that leave the money part up to the parties involved, but they came up with an interesting way to introduce freelancers to the concept of referral fees.) The smart person is going to be the one to merge many of these sites together into one huge resource for reputable freelancers to find each other.

    I first heard about ReferralKey on the Professional Freelancers Network. The founder wanted to build on the “freelancers helping freelancers” model. One of our members had some concerns about ReferralKey. Here’s the link to the thread: http://www.professionalfreelancersnetwork.com/public-forum-general/its-just-business/paid-referrals-what-do-you-think-of-them. The feedback from the other members was interesting. Hiring someone is one thing; referring someone is quite another.

  5. says

    Hi Laura,

    I just started using Google+ and I’d say it’s a breath of fresh air… and the format is uber simple, zen-like is more like it. Hope to connect with you there! By the way, thanks for suggesting Twylah and ReferralKey.. I get to learn something new.. so Thanks! ;)

  6. says

    Thanks Lucy! That’s an interesting discussion you linked to about ReferralKey, but I think some of the concerns don’t apply. As far as I can tell, you aren’t pressured to refer people and you can preview their work to ensure that it is top notch. Also, if I understand it correctly, the fees aren’t paid unless the referral results in work.

    Hi Issa, I also thought Google+ was pretty easy to pick up, but I couldn’t tell if that was because I’ve been using so much social media.

  7. Lucy says

    Laura – good to hear! That’s how referral fees are supposed to work. I think she just wanted to hear it from other people that this was on the level.

  8. says

    Thanks for pointing me towards Twylah Laura, I will look at that, I am using Klout, also Peer Index which is similar and I am active on Empire Avenue which is a great indicator of people’s activity level in social media. The only problem is that it is addictive and very time consuming.

    I have been playing around with Google + this week, it does have some nice features, but I don’t know how many Facebook users will take the time or trouble to transfer their activities and contacts. It seems that the very active social media users are liking Google+ but as for more casual, non business users, time will tell?

  9. says

    This was a great post, and I really enjoyed the information. I had not yet heard about Twylah and what it’s capabilities are. I can’t wait to try it out!

  10. says

    I’ve been one of the first users of Klout and I highly recommend it, especially for those who want to check how they’re engaging with their tweeple on Twitter. I’ve played around with paper.li… and Twylah got me curious, so thanks for sharing!

  11. says

    Excellent site you have here but I was wanting to know if you knew of any discussion
    boards that cover the same topics discussed in this article?

    I’d really love to be a part of group where I can get comments from other knowledgeable individuals that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Cheers!


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