But, just because these social media tools are popular today, doesn’t mean that they will always be effective marketing tools for freelancers. What’s popular today may be forgotten tomorrow. The shrewd freelancer will be constantly exploring new social media marketing alternatives.
Here are five promising new social media tools for freelancers to explore (and why I think each is worth looking at):
Amplify is a social media tool that allows you to bookmark and share all or parts of what you find on the web. It also links to many other popular social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook.
The basic idea is to help you find and share better content more quickly. Let’s face it, most of us operate in an information overload state and anything that can help combat that is a welcome addition.
From my perspective, the distinguishing factor is that Amplify allows you to share information in context without being limited in the number of characters through its clip and share feature. Also notable is that within days of joining, without any real promotional effort on my part, I had several dozen users selecting me as a source (similar to a follower on other social media sites), which means that many of my contacts are already here.
2. One True Fan
One True Fan intrigues me and scares me at the same time. I definitely see potential for freelancers, but at the same time it scares me in the same way that Foursquare scared me. (As in, do I really want to share where I am at all times? Except in this case, the “where I am” is virtual and not physical.)
This tool allows you to check in to various websites and blogs that you visit. The person who checks in the most becomes “the one true fan” of the site. Like geolocation sites, there are gaming elements. Naturally, online stores and perhaps even bloggers may wish to offer discounts and incentives to the person with the most check-ins.
This application can give freelancers who own websites insight into potential customers who may not contact them through comments or email. Also, freelancers can connect with others who show in interest in a site since the interface allows you to see who else has visited a site. According to Andy Beard, One True Fan is from the folks who brought us MyBlogLog (remember them?), which was big for a while.
Quora seems to be a site that many freelancers are exploring right now. It’s a question answering site with a social element (see Fluther below). It’s goal is to become the best online resource. Like other question answering sites, you can link Quora to other social media including Twitter, Facebook, and more.
In fact, answering questions can be a good strategy to demonstrate expertise. Asking questions can also be a good way to get information and Quora seems to be drawing a large number of small businesses and professionals. It will be interesting to see where Quora goes in the coming months.
Fluther is another question answering site with a social element. Of course, many other social media platforms have a question feature (LinkedIn comes to mind), but this company is now linked to the social media mover and shaker, Twitter through its development team (from Mashable)–which makes Fluther one social medium for freelancers to watch.
To me, Fluther did not seem as well-organized as Quora (see above). It did seem more intuitive and I found it a little easier to use. However, it does not seem to be drawing a professional community (at least not from a casual inspection of it).
5. Mobile Interfaces
While this isn’t technically a single social media tool, mobile computing is only going to grow. Mobile interfaces already exist for most of the major social media platforms. I would expect to find most of your favorite social media utilities available as mobile apps in the coming months as well as new mobile-only social platforms.
Mobile social media tools are good news for freelancers, because it allows them location independence and even greater flexibility for keeping up with clients and prospects. In fact, if you haven’t gone mobile yet, why haven’t you?
These new tools are definitely worth investigating. I can’t tell whether any of them will become the next big social media platform, but all of them show some promise.
What new social media tools do you find promising? What have you explored? Share your answer in the comments.