Facebook, with more than 500 million active users, presents an excellent marketing opportunity for freelancers. Assuming your target clients are active Facebook users, you can easily find new prospects in this social network.
I dare say, if you can’t or won’t create your own freelancing website–even though it’s now cheaper and easier than ever–then a Facebook page is the next best thing.
Benefits of a Facebook Page
Facebook pages are indexed and findable through Google and other search engines. Especially if you’re targeting a highly competitive keyword, having an optimized Facebook page may be the best way to rank highly in the search engines.
Facebook pages also offer plenty of functionalities, which make them more interactive than a static web page. You can embed an opt-in form and collect contact information, for example. You can link it to your blog so links to your posts are automatically published on your page’s wall. You can even use video and add all sorts of other whiz bang features, depending on how much coding you know or are willing to outsource. Nevertheless, the most basic Facebook page will let you do plenty of things.
Finally, creating a Facebook page will allow you to keep your professional interactions separate from your personal account. This way, you can share all your personal updates freely to family and friends (including potentially embarrassing stuff), but not to prospects and clients. That said, your Facebook page will show you as the administrator of that page. However, you can choose to share your personal updates only to friends.
9 Tips for Promoting Your Freelancing Services
Here are nine tips you can use to promote your freelancing business with a Facebook page:
- Know who your target clients are. This is the basic ingredient of any good marketing campaign. Know exactly whom you’re targeting, what their interests are, and where they hang out on Facebook. Maybe they don’t even use Facebook, in which case, you should stop reading this now and go to where your target market is. Understanding how your target clients use Facebook will determine how you use and promote your page.
- Fill out the information on your page. When you create your page, you’ll have several information fields to fill out. Input as much as is relevant. Definitely write something in the “About,” “Description,” “General Information,” and “Website” fields. Provide your location, if that is relevant, such as when you target local businesses in your geographic location. Under “Products,” name the main services you offer, like “graphic design” or “WordPress installation and customization.”
- Use client-focused language. When providing information about your services, avoid the common mistake of being self-centered. Write from the point of view of your prospects instead. One way to do this is to focus on the benefits you bring to clients, instead of only talking about the features of your services. To illustrate: web design that’s attractive, user-friendly, and affordable are features of your service. The benefit is that your client will effectively attract more of their target market, communicate their unique selling proposition, and establish a strong visual brand.
- Collect contact information from your page. Make your Facebook page work as hard as your website would! Embed an opt-in form on your page and collect the contact information of people who like or visit your page. This will allow you to build a list of prospects and communicate with them regularly. Even if you don’t have an email opt-in form on your Facebook page, you can still communicate with your page’s “likers” or followers. Every time you publish an update on your page wall, it will appear in your followers’ news feeds. However, there is another, better way to connect with them. That’s by sending them an update from your page (under the Marketing section). Your update will be sent to your followers’ emails, which gives you a better chance of getting their attention. Despite these features, I still recommend you get your Facebook contacts into your own email list. This gives you much more control and ownership of the list and frees you from being at the mercy of Facebook (and its many changes).
- Link your blog to your page through Networked Blogs. If you have a blog, link it to your page through the Networked Blogs application. You’ll find this under the Apps section when you click “Edit Info” from your page’s home page.
- Interact as your page. Facebook recently allowed users to interact on Facebook as pages, rather than their personal profiles. The implications of this feature are big for those with business-oriented pages. This means you can get much more exposure for your business, because it’s your business page, not your personal profile, that appears throughout Facebook. After you log into Facebook, click on the Account tab on the top right corner of the page. Select “Use Facebook as Page” and choose the specific page you want to interact as (if you have several pages). Now–as your business page–go ahead and “like” other pages (ideally the ones your target clients like as well). Post comments on those pages. Notice that this time, your page’s name and profile picture appear instead of your personal profile. This means exposure for your business! Go ahead and interact on relevant pages for a few minutes each day.
- Pimp the row of photos on top of your page. Facebook now displays a row of pictures on top of your page. This is another opportunity for you to attract prospects and showcase your services, especially if you’re in the visual industry. You can use the row of pictures to display your best photographs and illustrations, for example. However, even if you don’t provide graphics-related services, you can still use this feature creatively. For inspiration, check out Mashable’s list of 10 creative uses for the new Facebook profile.
- Promote your page. Your page will market your services effectively only if you get enough eyeballs to it. Invite all your friends and loved ones to like your page, even if they’re not your target clients. This will help you tap into their network, because when they interact on your page, this will show up on their wall. You can also add a widget to your website, so your site’s visitors can like your page. Another option is to pay for an ad on Facebook, if you’re so inclined. This post shares more specific tips on how to grow the fan base for your Facebook page.
- Post on your wall at last once a day. When you create a Facebook page, you need to commit to maintaining it for at least a few minutes every day. One of my social media marketing guru friends says we should post on our page wall at least once a day. More often is even better. And definitely respond to comments and other things your followers post on your page. Facebook now sends you a notification every time someone posts something on your page (assuming you allow others to post on your page wall), so you can respond in a timely fashion.
Ready to Facebook It?
Facebook marketing is becoming increasingly popular among businesses. Why not harness it for your freelancing business as well? It’s completely free (unless you use ads) and relatively simple (if I can do it, so can you). You can spend as little or as much time as you like on it (but remember you get as much as you put in).
Are you ready to join the millions of businesses that have Facebook pages? Did this post inspire you to use Facebook or other social networks to find clients? Or did it help you decide that Facebook marketing is not appropriate for your target market?
Share your insights, questions and feedback in the comments below.
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