5 Simple Steps To Rock Social Media

social-crowdIf 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.

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Comments

  1. says

    Good points, although I tend to stick with just a few of the mainstream: Linkedin Twitter, Facrbook…there really are too many to keep up with and some like MySpace, Flickr, and StumbleUpon just don’t seem to do much for my busiess :)

  2. says

    Question: What if you want to change your name on your accounts…. I agree they should all be the same, but I wasn’t thinking that at the time. Any idea on how to make that transition?

  3. says

    Great points! Agree with Amber but 3 accounts may be too few. There are way more than a handful social media applications out there and it is always a good idea to test the new ones as they come out.

  4. says

    “Active Doesn’t Mean Obsessive” – Exactly. I totally agree with this point. Perhaps because of being fed up with reading useless jargon people socially network about. But also because it isn’t a good way of marketing, in my opinion, to constantly update every time you fart! :p

  5. Ritu says

    Thanks for your feedback guys.

    Amber, like I said I think it all comes down to preference and drives the most value. If only one platform can do the job, then that is more than enough. I am against having presence solely for the sake of having it :)

    Jacqueline, If it’s Facebook you can change it from setting on the top right. However, for most platforms it’s easier to simply contact the support and ask them to change it. But one has to remember that if you are shooting for a first name last name combination, it’s usually taken cause there might be someone out there. I usually register “ritubpant” and as you can imagine, it’s always available. I guess it’s a perk of having a not so common name.

    FreelanceShack, exactly!

  6. says

    Another great post Ritu,
    I still just use Facebook but will probably start Twitter and another one (I’m thinking LinkedIn – not that it’s very popular down here in New Zealand) soon. I When I start taking freelancing seriously, it will become necessary I’m sure. For now, I still have study and teaching, any freelancing still comes third. It’s always a good idea to network though, I suppose
    Nic at CrossLingo

  7. says

    Social media is clearly a very powerful tool when used correctly, but can be next to useless if you don’t know what you are doing with it. There are some good tips here, especially those addressing the usage of key sites rather than every site going, and posting worthwhile updates rather than pointless status updates – there is nothing more annoying than having a screen full of updates that have little value to them!

    Keeping an active role in the sites you’ve chosen is key to successful networking, and this is a point that is often overlooked. It is about interaction with other users, and nothing can get around the time and effort required if you want to create successful relationships with users on these sites. Point five’s comment “the more you engage, the more exposure you will get” is certainly true.

    With so many different social networking sites out there, I wonder what new developments there will be in the coming year? It seems Twitter and Facebook are king for the moment, but maybe this time next year there will be a new site for everyone to once again jump onto!

  8. says

    Building a social media presence is much more a marathon than a sprint. There’s plenty of content to develop, place and promote, and there are lots of relationships to build.

  9. says

    Most people have good photographic memory, so I definitely agree on using one particular photo for all the flatforms you are going to engage in. Personally, I’m not good at remembering names but a catchy alias usually retain on my mind. Another, as a reader I definitely remember those individuals with substance, I mean, for you to be recognized, you should put a trademark of “value” that can be seen on all your works.

  10. says

    Brilliant post! I agree. The more places you are, the better chances you have to be found. There are services like Ping.fm where you can feed many social networks at the same time with one single post (or tweet)
    Thanks for sharing.

  11. says

    @StephenWebb – great point about using social media effectively. I remind my clients that, though it’s the hottest trend right now, good business sense relies on ROI to determine effectiveness. With social media, it’s “Return on Time”. (Who hasn’t fallen into the vortex of spending too much time on social media?)

    One point: BE HELPFUL. Social media marketing is best served up with a side of helpfulness. If you can share good information with other professionals with genuine generosity (and aren’t just out there marketing information or charging the low, low price of $29.95 for your app or linking through your Click Bank), your respect will grow and your position as a specialist or expert in your industry will begin to blossom.

  12. says

    A few more:
    1) Have a home page whose name is yours, your business, your handle you use (ala #1), whatever. Register the .com, and .net versions at least. Use it – or let someone like http://www.nombray.com or other web services be the end point. You can then link to all your other social media as you need – or have feeds play out here (feedburner makes it easy to post a blog feed of all content to another site)

    2) Use the tools of social media to enhance old-school networking – the face-to-face, hand-em-a-card type.

    3) Explore! http://www.knowem.com is a great way to find out what social media sites are out there – and if your handle is registered.

  13. says

    I’ve recently found your blog and am really enjoying the straightforward tips and advice you write about. I work with small businesses and people in jobs working from home and posts such as this one about social media are answering exactly the sorts of questions that come up time and again about social media. Because it can be so easy for people to spread themselves thinly, it’s also a good idea to be really clear on your objectives for using social media – and these are of course different depending on whether you’re engaging for personal or business use. Not that the two can’t be mixed depending on your individual circumstances, it’s just a good idea to get clear on exactly what you’re hoping to get out of it from a biz perspective – eg are you using twitter to show you’re an expert in an area, make new contacts, network for business etc – and with any one of these, it’s important to remember that people don’t want the hard sell – hence the term ‘social’ media – it’s a two way process and great for relationship building if you play nicely!

    Thanks again for the great post

    All the best

    Tamsin@udgeme

  14. says

    I also think it is important to stick to a name.
    But my problema (which in fact I did create) is that I have my name, and the name I use for my personal portfolio…since I didnt want to use the actual name…

    which one should I use for social mideas…?
    or should I have different accounts for each one f the?

  15. says

    I tend to find a lot of value with adding people who inspire me, control large businesses or lead people by ‘doing’. If I read a great article online, I will try my best to link up that person on facebook, have a chat to them and get them to know me as well.

    While only a small amount of ‘big players’ actually accept the invitations and talk, the ones who do are usually amazing to talk to and you can gain a lot of one on one knowledge.

    I hope that helps anyone here.

    - Diesel Laws
    http://freelancerunplugged.com

  16. says

    You gave the chance to get the points about the social media also the highly analytical tips…thanks for that…I hope the business circle will be enlarged through the better source of the social media…keep sharing.

  17. says

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  18. says

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