Embracing Social Media as Freelance Job Search Tool

social-media-jobsThe challenges of freelancing don’t lie in the daily commute or finding the right outfit to wear to work. Instead we have to continually think of ways to market ourselves and drum up business. This isn’t always easy. Not only do we have to stay on top of our own game, but we have to consider all of the other freelancers who are vying for the same opportunities. The good news is that in 2010, there are plenty of options. Finding them is easy thanks to social media.

We all know social networks such as Twitter and Facebook are fun networking and socializing platforms, but they, along with other social media tools, can also be used to enhance your job search and help you to land more clients. While younger freelancers are eager to embrace social media, many “old schoolers” confess to “not getting it” or its importance.

Don’t underestimate the usefulness of social media, you never know what you might find beyond the regular job boards.

Social Media Tools for Freelancers

Everyone you meet on Twitter has the potential to become a client. If they’re not hiring freelancers, they may know people who are.

The power of Twitter lies in the ability to build relationships and create conversations with followers and the people who you follow. The people who you meet on Twitter:

  • Share job opportunities: Some Twitterers enjoy sharing what they feel to be good freelance opportunities. Others actually hook up their Twitter stream to freelance job search sites and blogs. Find the Tweeps who share your same interests and goals and share gigs together.
  • Share useful links: The best thing about Twitter is how there are always opportunities to learn. Every day yields links to blog pots, news items, videos and cool things to do. How does this benefit freelancers? Because there’s always the opportunity to learn and become inspired by the world around us. Twitter is the world around us.
  • Share your links: Once you have built relationships with your followers, share links to your blog posts, portfolios and more. Using Twitter also sends traffic to your blogs and website and help to build your name and reputation. Be careful not to become a spammer. Tweeting nothing but links is a turn off for most.
  • Offer support: Your fellow freelancers are very supportive and offer tips and advice, especially if you have questions. You’ll also find collaborators, conversationalists and fans.
  • Offer camaraderie: Working from home can be a lonely existence. Twitter’s water cooler effect helps to ease the solitude of a day spent alone in the home office.

Facebook holds the same networking and socializing benefits as Twitter plus more. Facebook offers the ability to build your own social network through their groups and fan pages. Many of these groups share jobs and opportunities. Look beyond the obvious “freelancing” groups and get nichey with it. For example, if you’re a blogger and who specializes in weddings, look beyond blogging for wedding groups and networks to join. Meet wedding planners and caterers. Meet musicians, brides and grooms. Once they know you, some of them are bound to hire you for their projects.

Many now offer job lists and links to available opportunities. The beauty of blogs lies in the comments, however, but blogs are more than job search tools. The benefits of blogs as networking venues abound. When you participate regularly in the discussion topics, your name becomes more familiar to people. Potential clients who appreciate your point of view will remember your name and contact you for their projects.

Other Options

  • Online forums: The communities share leads to jobs and job search advice.
  • Linked In: In addition to Linked In’s job boards, you’ll find an online resume service and many groups for sharing job leads, links and tips. Join the networks of people with whom you wish to build relationships and have former clients offer references and recommendations.
  • Blellow: A microblogging site for freelancers, Blellow also offers support groups and job leads.
  • Twitter Job Search: A search engine featuring all the jobs posted on Twitter, Twitter Job Search allows you to search a variety of categories.

Knowing Who to Follow

So how do you know who to hang out with on the various social networks and blogs? To find folks to follow (and vice versa) simply search your interests. If you’re a web designer, by all means, visit the various design groups but also branch out to the niches that interest you most. Align yourself with the people who:

  • Hire freelancers
  • Know people who hire freelancers
  • Outsource to other freelancers
  • Share the same ideas and interests
  • Have to potential to collaborate on ideas
  • Inspire you

Be Careful What You Put Out There

Keep in mind that while using the social networks to find work, potential clients will be using the social networks to check on freelancers. Put your best foot forward. Build a professional profile and act appropriately so they feel as if can trust you with their brand. If you tend to get a little wild, you may want to consider a separate personal profile for fun.

It’s All About Relationships

Using social media is all about building relationships. Everyone you meet, both online and off, have the ability to become a client. When you talk with the same people every day, you build up trust. Trust leads to business. If you build it….they will come.


  1. says

    Couldn’t agree more, Deb! We just recently hired a freelancer we met on Twitter. Right place, right time type of thing. Had great qualifications once we dug deeper. But the point is, we wouldn’t have founder her had she not been actively posting on Twitter. I’m simply amazed at the opportunity social media offers freelancers for finding great clients — as long as your smart and strategic about how you use these tools.

  2. says

    @ Ed Gandia: That’s key! “… as long as you’re smart and strategic about how you use these tools.” So often people just use them to tell you that they’re on their way to the washroom… do I really care? Not really.

    Deb, you mentioned one thing about making sure you put your best foot forward (more specifically on Facebook). This is absolutely true. It’s heard that employers will browse your name during the hiring process. But you also mention that you may want to consider doing a separate personal profile “for fun”. This could also hurt you as a potential employee. The only way I see it being an issue is if you use your real name. People can easily search your “business” profile by its name and than your own by your name (regardless of them being separate).

    I think it would be pretty hard to keep something like that separate for the sole reason of how easy it is to find information on someone… regardless of how “separate” they are. Just my opinion. :)

    I’m hoping to learn more about social media, I found this article very interesting and educational! Great job and thanks for sharing! It truly is all about relationships!

  3. says

    @rik On facebook, you have the option to create lists an set different privacy options for each list. That way you can keep both personal and professional friends.

  4. says

    Thanks, Ed!

    @Rik – Lucian mentioned, there are privacy settings so you can keep personal and professional life separate. There are a few clients who I don’t friend on Facebook (though they follow me on Twitter) because I don’t want to cross that privacy line.

    But you’re right, it’s very easy to find someone online regardless of how well they feel they’re hidden. My advice is to keep it clean always, because surprises happen.

  5. says

    Great post Deb.

    I think this post highlights something that a lot of freelancers overlook.

    It’s easy to get started in social media with no real plan or objective in mind. For that reason many freelancers (and others) fail to see the value of social media.

    Welcome to Freelance Folder!

  6. says

    Deb, I’m amazed that a couple of clients who fit my definition of my Perfect Client to a T, recently found me on Twitter.

    I never set out to market my services on Twitter. In fact, I’m pretty much un-strategic when it comes to Twitter. The people I follow are a mish-mash of my various interests: attachment parenting Moms, eco-conscious people, freelancers, copywriters, Internet marketers… and yes, individuals who in my mind are my Perfect Client.

    So I guess it works.

  7. says

    Thanks, Laura.

    Lexi, I always say that everyone is a potential client. The people who you’re building relationships with on Twitter would rather trust someone they speak with every day than someone who they know nothing about. Thats why it’s important to find the people who share your interests.

    So happy it works for you!

  8. says

    Mostomoss – I prefer Twitter to Facebook for networking as well. Though I do have a few professional connections on Facebook, it’s mostly a personal place to shaure.

    Ari – Thanks for contacting me to ask me my thoughts on Blellow and your subsequent blog post. I do still think there’s a place for it, I just need to use my networking time in the place where it will do the most good.

  9. says

    The only thing I would say about twitter and facebook is that its not wise to mix business with social life and if they clash it could cause you a lot of trouble. I personally like to keep facebook as a method of communicating with friends but I do see the potential for marketing your brand through social networking, just its good to keep it seperate.

  10. says

    If it wasn’t important to build good relationships before it certainly is now. Thanks for the article, I am sure you could write many more on the subject as social media begins to explode. I added a link to your article from my blog so keep them coming.

  11. says

    I started twitter a few weeks ago, since then I’ve begun to love it. What started out as a love hate relationship it’s allowed me to network with people in my industry alot easier. News and updates happen in real time which makes for a great user experience.

  12. George says

    Good stuff Deb!
    Have you ever checked out http://jobbi.com??
    That site provides, unquestionably, the best job seeking/career improvement tools. Their free resume builder is really solid.

    What are your impressions on it.. i’m considering uploading my video resume.

  13. M Smith says

    Of all the social media I’ve tried, I’ve found Twitter to be most effective in disseminating information about my service. It’s not only accessible, micro-blogging just makes everything simpler, easier and quicker. :)

    Here’s another article that relates to this one : http://bit.ly/b5g38A

  14. says

    these are guidelines to be followed in the social media which should be made as possible as profitable one…I ask one question.. can we share our own interest and motivational process about the jobs…on the social media…?Will not be confused to continue with us..for the followers.?..keep sharing.

  15. says

    I recommend Twitter’s search tool on the right hand side of your Twitter page.
    I’ve used it to find locally based photographers. We get to know each other’s work so that we can refer business to each other. So far, I’ve actually ended up meeting three of them in person.

  16. says

    Really interesting post. As someone involved in online recruitment, I would definitely say that social media is the way of the future for job-seekers, especially freelancers. With the surplus of social networking sites out there, I would suggest selecting five or six which really suit your needs and focusing your attention on those – it will provide a greater return on investment in the long term.

  17. says

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