Many freelancers ignore LinkedIn in favor of other social media platforms. Other freelancers think that all social media is a waste of time–they’re wrong, of course.
Social media is not going to go away any time soon. LinkedIn is a strong social media player. You ignore social media and LinkedIn at your peril.
In this post, I’ll outline the reasons (new and old) why I still think that LinkedIn should play an important role in your freelance marketing strategy.
Why LinkedIn Still Works for Freelancers
Have you taken a look at LinkedIn lately? Here are ten reasons why you shouldn’t overlook LinkedIn in your freelance marketing strategy:
- New Visual Portfolio Feature. You can now create a visual portfolio right on your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn lets you add images and other media right into your LinkedIn profile. While this is great for visually creative freelancers like graphic designers and photographers, other freelancers can use it as well.
- Your Profile Page. LinkedIn’s new profile page is a lot more visual and many would say it’s easier to use. The new profiles have a bigger profile photo, so make sure that your image is a good one. Make sure that all fields are filled out, especially the ones that appear at the top of your profile.
- New Contacts Tool. This feature is in limited rollout at the time that I’m writing this post, but it’s just a matter of time before everyone sees this. This lets you import contacts from Gmail and Outlook Mail and other applications such as Yahoo and Outlook’s Calendar features.
- LinkedIn Search. The LinkedIn search tool is more powerful than most freelancers realize. If you click the Advanced link, you’ll see the wide variety of search options available on the left side of the screen. Options include the ability to search for people, jobs, companies, groups, or updates. Click the advanced link above the search options for even more ways to filter your search.
- Causes, Skills, and Interests. These new profile fields allow you to provide even more information about yourself. Do you have a cause that you do volunteer work for? Have you developed a special skill? What types of things interest you the most? Now there’s a place for all of the information on your LinkedIn profile.
- Courses. LinkedIn has long allowed you to list your degree(s) and alma mater(s). Now you can also list the specific courses that you’ve taken. This is particularly helpful if you minored in an area that is relevant to your freelancing business. It could also be used to list professional courses that you’ve taken.
- Endorsements. This is one of the more controversial new features of LinkedIn. Many people dislike it because it’s easy to endorse someone without putting much thought into the endorsement. But the truth is, it can be difficult to get even satisfied clients to write out full-fledged recommendations. Getting an endorsement provides a level of social proof.
- Influencers. This is one of my favorite features. In addition to the articles and news that your connections share with you through LinkedIn, LinkedIn allows you to follow articles from a group of highly regarded experts. While the term “influencer” is often thrown about carelessly, in my experience the LinkedIn influencer posts are both timely and relevant.
- Groups. Freelancers, in particular, can use the Groups tool to connect with others who have similar interests. Some even post job listings. There are literally thousands of groups on LinkedIn. Be selective about which groups you join, though. You are limited to joining 50 groups–so make those group memberships count.
- Largest Group of Corporate Participants. LinkedIn is known for having a high percentage of participation among corporations. It also has the reputation of being the professional social network. In fact, according to a study 0f 160,000 companies conducted by Bullhorn Reach and shared in an article from by Derek Loosvelt on Vault.com blog, 97% of recruiters use LinkedIn.
Do you maintain an active presence on LinkedIn? Has LinkedIn helped you to find freelancing work? Have you used any of the new features?
Share your experiences and thoughts in the comments.
Image by Ardonik