If you’ve ever wondered whether or not social media can help you as a freelancer, the simple answer is — absolutely. Being social on the web has many rewards; including connections, community, interaction, exposure, and trust. These five elements are critical for a business to survive, and with social media you can make sure you are building all of them.
If you’re new to the idea of social media for freelancers, or aren’t sure how it can help out your business, I recommend you look into these social media basics to get a better idea of what this is all about.
Once you’re familiar with the idea of using social media for your business, then this post is for you. Here are 5 simple tips that can make a big difference to your success with social media.
1. Pick a Name and Stick With It
Before you even open an account on any social media platform, you’ll want to make sure you pick a name that will stay consistent. This is one of the key things that many people don’t seem to realize. If you have the same “profile name” on multiple platforms, it makes it much easier for others to find and remember you. It also helps you create a better personal brand if you become popular on these networks. For example, My user name is ritubpant on all social media/networking platforms. You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Reddit, Flickr, LinkedIn among many others as ritubpant. This makes it much easier for others to find me if they need to connect with me on different platforms.
Tip: You can follow this tip for your profile picture as well. If your picture is consistent throughout different platforms, it’s much easier for people to recognize you. Think of your profile image as a business logo.
2. Don’t Put All Your Eggs In One Basket
Many freelancers dive into social media and end up putting all of their energy and effort into one social media platform. This is not a great approach. Although it is good to stick with platforms that are popular in your industry, it’s key to build a community and a brand in different platforms. Make sure you are seen throughout the web. Some services may have millions of users while others may have only a couple thousand. Don’t go for the number, rather go for the quality network and community that you can build on these platforms. Having a presence on different accounts gives you a chance to connect to more people and eventually will help you grow your freelancing business.
3. Choose and Execute
Although this point may sound contradictory to the one above, it’s really more of a complimentary approach. As I have mentioned above, you should have a presence on several different social media platforms — however, you should also be able to maintain that presence. There is no point in creating a profile on 50 different platforms if you can only use five platforms actively. It is important to have a presence on different platforms, but engagement and participation is the real key.
Make sure you choose platforms that are relevant to you. Don’t spend a lot of time creating a profile on a social media platform that you will end up abandoning. If you never participate with that particular community, there is no reason to have an account there. Besides, if someone ends up looking for you in these platform and finds you inactive for months, it might give someone an idea that you are not worth following or keeping up with. Don’t give anyone a chance to think negatively about you or your brand. It’s better to not have a presence than to have one that is abandoned.
4. Active Doesn’t Mean Obsessive
In order to get the most out of social media you have to be active on the networks you’ve chosen. Being active, however, doesn’t mean you have to be obsessed. I use many different platforms each day and I am quite active on these sites — even still, there is no point in updating a Facebook profile or Twitter account just for the sake of it. As they say in blogging — if you have nothing to say, it’s better to say nothing. Follow that rule on social media platforms as well. A couple twitter updates each day is normal but on LinkedIn once a week is more than enough (or a few times if you are active on LinkedIn groups). It’s important to be active on different social media platforms, but make sure your participation brings value to other community members and is not a nuisance to yourself or others.
5. It’s All About Interaction
Social media is all about interaction. If you want to be seen and want others to take interest in what you have to say or do, you have to be an active participant. Whether it’s Facebook, twitter or any other platforms that you utilize, participation and engagement is the key to succeeding in social media. Social Media is often seen as a free tool to help you when it comes to exposure and creating a name for yourself or your business, but you need to keep in mind that it costs both time and effort.
This is the reason that I mentioned earlier that you need to choose the specific sites that you want to use. If you don’t think you can actively utilize a platform, it’s better not to be there at all. It’s all about the community, participation, and engagement. The more you give, the more you get. The more you engage, the more exposure you will gain.
Add Your Tips
These are some of my favorite tips for succeeding on social media, but there is a lot more out there. If you’re very familiar with social media (and I know a lot of you are) then why don’t you offer a favorite tip or two for our readers who are just getting started?
If you’re new to social media, feel free to ask any questions you have in the comments and I’m sure you’ll get several expert opinions in response.