Most experienced freelancers already understand the benefits of being involved in social media. They already know that social media is a great (and still mostly free) option for networking, getting the word out, and other types of marketing.
But most freelancers don’t really make the most of the social networks that they are in. Many social networks contain features that would be of help to freelancers–if only they knew about them.
In this post, I’m taking a deeper look at Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter. I’ll highlight over seven little-known features for these platforms that you could be using for your freelancing business.
Facebook Features You Probably Don’t Use
Facebook remains one of the most popular social networking tools. It seems that nearly everyone is on Facebook, and your clients probably are too.
Many freelancers overlook the following Facebook features:
- Facebook Groups. Facebook groups allows anyone with a personal Facebook profile create a group of people with common interests. You can create a group and share relevant information only with the group members. You can also control the privacy of the group so only members can see what is posted there. You can also search for public groups by setting your Facebook search filter to groups.
- Facebook Interest Lists. This is a relatively new tool (March 2012) that lets you organize your Facebook News Feed. This tool lets you group posts about similar topics together. If you get a ton of posts and would like to organize them, this can help you. The downside is that you need to remember to check your interest lists.
If you learn to use these tools, and use them well, your freelancing business could benefit.
Google+ Features You Probably Don’t Use
Google+ is a great social networking tool for freelancers. Although most people may think of Google as mainly a search engine, Google+ has quite a respectable following, which makes it a good place for freelancers.
Here are two Google+ tools that many freelancers don’t use:
- Google+ Communities. Google+ Communities is comparable to Facebook Groups. This tool lets a group of people join together to share material that they are all interested in. You can own, moderate, or join a group as a member. You can also search for communities that are related to your interests.
- Google+ Local. The Google+ Local tool is great way for you to be found by nearby clients. To set up, you need to claim your business using Google’s Places for Business. Once you have done this, you can control the content on your local page, which will appear on Google+ and in the search engine. It’s important to link your local page back to your website so that prospective clients can learn more about you.
LinkedIn Features You Probably Don’t Use
LinkedIn has the reputation of being the social media business tool, and the reputation is well-deserved. Nearly all large corporations are represented here.
If your freelancing clients are businesses, you need a presence on LinkedIn. Here are two LinkedIn features that many freelancers overlook:
- LinkedIn Groups. Like Facebook Groups and Google+ Communities, LinkedIn groups lets you connect with others who have similar interests. LinkedIn Groups have been around for a while, so there’s a group for nearly everything. You can also start your own group. Be sure to take part in the discussions.
- LinkedIn Company Pages. Having a LinkedIn Company page gives you a business profile you can control on this professional network. Company pages have recently been updated to be more visual. Interested people can now also follow your company page, which allows them to see information that you share n their news stream.
A Pinterest Feature You Probably Don’t Use
Pinterest is a great new visually-oriented social media. It’s especially popular for businesses that sell products because the images can easily be shared. If your freelancing business markets a product, this could be a good social media tool for you.
What many freelancers don’t realize is that Pinterest recently set up Business Pages. Here’s what you need to know:
- Pinterest Business Pages. Pinterest will let you convert your original account to a business account, or you can sign up for a new business account. A business account allows you to create a public profile on Pinterest that includes your website. If your clients are active on Pinterest, this can be a great way to build up a community.
A Twitter Feature You Probably Don’t Use
Twitter started with a simple concept. Share what you are doing in 140 characters or less. It’s grown to the point where it is now one of the most popular social media sites. But even if you already use Twitter, there are features you probably don’t know about. Here is one of those:
- Twitter Lists. This tool lets you organize your followers into categories. You can then view the tweets by category. So, if you have a Twitter List for clients, you can view just their tweets to learn what your clients are talking about. Likewise, you can have a Twitter List for industry news and just view those tweets.
What are your favorite little-known social media features and how do you use them? Share your answers in the comments.