Social Media Trends Freelancers Shouldn’t Ignore

As a freelancer, what do you need to know about Social media trends?

Probably quite a lot. Social media is an important marketing strategy for most freelancers.

But, if you’ve been freelancing for a while you also know that social media changes often. It can be hard to keep up.

In this post, I list four recent social media trends and their potential importance to freelancers.

Trend 1: Facebook Promoted Posts

What it is: Facebook recently launched a “service” to its users. For a small fee (which seems to vary depending on your profile), you can have your statuses appear at the top of the user feed.

Why it’s important: Facebook is one of the largest social media networks online with a huge user base. No matter what your freelancing specialty, chances are that your target audience is on Facebook.

When this post was written, some users seem genuinely unhappy with the new service of promoted posts. Consider, for example, this editorial by Matt Silverman at Mashable.

While promoted posts may not last, the fact remains that Facebook needs to earn a profit. If this is not the means, rest assured that they will come up with something else.

What you can do: If your networking is done solely through Facebook or mostly through Facebook, you should investigate other social media sites as well. It’s never good to have all your eggs in one basket.

If you want to play with promoted posts on Facebook to see what happens right now the price seems cheap enough for freelancers to test this feature.

I don’t recommend this as a long-term strategy, though. Those little charges could really add up. I think “wait and see” is a good strategy for most freelancers when it comes to this trend.

Trend 2: LinkedIn Skills & Expertise Endorsements

What it is: LinkedIn has enhanced the Skills & Expertise section of the LinkedIn profile so that your LinkedIn connections can endorse a skill area.

Endorsements differs from testimonials in that your connection does not write an endorsement, but merely clicks on a skill and the connection’s image appears by that skill as an endorsement.

Why it’s important: Personally, I greatly prefer LinkedIn recommendations over LinkedIn endorsements. But the fact is that recommendations are hard to get. Clients get busy and don’t have the time to write one.

Within the first few days after LinkedIn endorsements launched, I quickly received endorsements from several clients who I had tried to get recommendations from previously.

What you can do: List any skills that you feel are strengths so that these skills can be endorsed. Endorse others. Ask for endorsements.

Trend 3: Bing Social Media Sidebar

What it is: While it doesn’t boast quite as many users as Google, it’s still important to consider the Bing search engine. Plus, the user base is growing.

The Bing Social Sidebar has been in place since May of 2012. What it does is list relevant social media information beside your search results in the form of people who might know about your search query. You can then directly ask your question through social media.

Why it’s important: Your social media presence has never been more important. By listing names in a sidebar by search results, Bing is, in effect, identifying experts. Social media tools that can be accessed by the Bing Sidebar include:

  • Facebook
  • Foursquare
  • Google+
  • Klout
  • LinkedIn
  • Quora
  • Twitter

(In my own tests of this feature, most of the recommendations seemed to come from Quora. I’m not sure why.)

What you can do:
If you don’t have an active social media presence, start to build one.

Trend 4: Google+ Mobile App

What it is:
The newest version of the Google+ app for Android and iOS allows users to see their Google+ stream and share with their circles.

Why it’s important:
Google is still the most popular search engine by a wide margin. So, it’s important to pay attention to what they do. Google+ is likely to affect Google search engine ranking.

Beyond that, this is a cool app that can help mobile freelancers keep up with their Google+ social media presence.

What you can do:
If you haven’t established a Google+ presence yet for your freelancing business, consider doing so. If you’re a mobile freelancer, download the app so that you can keep up with your social media activity while you travel.

Your Turn

Have you tried any of these new social media trends? What do you think? Are they helpful, or not?

Share your answers in the comments.