I have had amazing traffic and enhanced relationships from using Facebook, Stumbleupon and Pinterest. Pinterest thoroughly surprised me in a very positive way :) (and, true confessions, I LOVE the site for inspiration). Although I use Twitter, my conversion to website traffic is almost non-existent in comparison to the other three sites.
The Top 10 Social Media Options for Freelancers & Small Business Owners
The fact is, for most internet users, social media is the main reason they get online. Chances are that many of those same users are also your clients and potential clients. If your freelancing business is not on social media yet, you’re falling behind.
Whether you’re new to freelancing and want to set up an online social media presence ASAP, or you’re a seasoned freelancing veteran who is just now taking the social media plunge, you’re sure to find a platform that appeals to you.
In this post, I’ll provide a quick overview of each of the major social media platforms and explain why a freelancer might wish to use each.
Ten Social Media Platforms for Freelancers
Here are some of the most popular social media tools that freelancers use:
- Facebook–Even if you’ve never been active in social media, it’s likely that you’ve heard of this social media site. That’s because as of February 2012 Facebook has over 845 million monthly active users (according to Facebook’s own statistics). You may know Facebook as the network to use to contact your out-of-state cousin or long-last high school friend. But did you know that you can also create a Facebook Fan page just for your freelancing business?
- LinkedIn–This social networking site differentiates itself by marketing itself as a professional network site. As such, it’s a favorite of corporations and other businesses. For starters, think about it as your online resume, except on steroids. You can list your work experience, links to your work samples, and even invite people to leave references for you. There’s more, though. LinkedIn is also home to hundreds of professional discussion groups.
- Twitter–Twitter is quick and fun. If you can encapsulate your freelancing business message in 140 words or less, then you can use Twitter. Currently, the site seems to be a favorite of journalists (citizen and otherwise) who use it to broadcast articles and other information. It’s also a favorite among conference organizers since Twitter live blogging an event can generate interest. Others use it as a way to instant message contacts using the DM feature.
- Quora–Do you have a depth of knowledge in a specific field or fields? Quora is a question and answer site, but prides itself on the quality of the answers that Quora users provide. In fact, the answers on Quora are often article-length and can be quite comprehensive. Not only is Quora a forum for showing off your expertise, it can also be used to research topics. Ask a new question of your own, or browse through the answers to existing questions.
- Pinterest–This is an up and coming social media site that has shown fast growth and popularity. Basically, it works like this. Users “pin” images of things that they are interested in to their “bulletin boards” on the site so that other users can view and comment on the images. Some freelancers have experimented with using affiliate links or using the images that they share to draw traffic to their website. If you sell a product or need to drive traffic, it’s worth looking into.
- Google+–The search engine giant is branching out. If you hadn’t noticed, they’ve launched a number of business and consumer-oriented products in recent years. Google+ is an important social media platform–both because it is tied to the powerful Google search engine and because it has shown a healthy growth during its first year. Users tend to be less frivolous than those on other sites. Expect to see even more upgrades and attention paid to this social media tool in coming months.
- MySpace–In many ways, this is the granddaddy of all social media sites. MySpace was the first of the “mega” social media sites. It was originally founded in 2003 and was once the most visited social networking site in the world. MySpace still gets millions of visitors each month. This social media tool is known for its active music and entertainment industry communities, but there are other communities as well. Don’t discount this one if your prospects are here.
- Tumblr–Tumblr is a microblogging tool. It allows users to create and share original content of various types. As of the time this article was written, Tumblr was getting over 15 billion page views in a single month (per Mashable). Now, that’s significant! One thing that Tumblr has going for it from a freelancing perspective is that it’s very easy to use. In general, Tumblr users tend to be younger and more visually oriented. If you like to share photos or images, Tumblr might be right for you.
- StumbleUpon–This is one of a number of popular news bookmarking sites. (There are many others including Digg and Reddit.) Like all bookmarking sites, StumbleUpon gives you the opportunity to mark and share content that you like with other users. Users select the interests that they would like to explore and the shares that they see are tailored to this preference. StumbleUpon also allows you to comment on shares and contact other users.
- YouTube–No list of freelancing social media tools is complete without YouTube. This is an extremely popular site where users share videos of all types. Not only that, many videos can be embedded in blog posts and on other sites. You’ve probably already watched many YouTube videos. For a freelancer seeking to establish their expertise, YouTube can be an invaluable tool. You can create an interesting video that explains a topic of interest to your prospects.
What Do You Think?
If you’re a veteran freelancer who has already been using social media for a while, what tool have you found to be the most useful? Share your answers in the comments.
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February 22nd, 2012 at 3:24 pm
February 22nd, 2012 at 7:16 pm
Megan Bayliss–Thanks for sharing that comment. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Pinterest, which is why it is on the list even though it is very new.
February 23rd, 2012 at 3:54 am
Really? Myspace? And in 7th place, before Stumbleupon and Tumblr? I’m not sure I can take this article seriously after reading that… At least Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin were in the top 3.
February 23rd, 2012 at 7:00 am
There’s really no 7th place (or 1st, 2nd, or 3rd).
There are ten options, but the order that they are listed in here is random. Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin may be listed first, but this isn’t a ranking. Rather it’s a listing of popular options. The numbers by the options are only there to show that there are ten options (as opposed to some other number of options).
I was also surprised that MySpace was still as popular as it seems to be, but apparently there is still a segment that uses it.
I hope this answers your question.
February 23rd, 2012 at 8:21 am
Great list Laura. I’ve been meaning to check out Pinterest and Quora, just haven’t had the time.
It’s also important to search for social media sites that are particular to your vertical/industry. For example, Tipd is a good site for financial news.
February 23rd, 2012 at 10:39 am
Great example! Thanks for sharing Tipd with us.
February 24th, 2012 at 7:04 am
I use facebook as a ‘friends only’ platform. How do you suggest it be used to further enhance website footfall/more work?
February 24th, 2012 at 8:32 am
I use Twitter the most and have found the 140-character limit for tweets a convenient way to keep the messages sharp and concise. How much of my efforts translate into business opportunities only time has to tell, as I am a newbie to the social media world.
I got to know about Quora and Pinterest only through your post and would like to give them a try! Thank you for your insightful post.
February 24th, 2012 at 10:24 am
Evan–I would recommend that you build a Facebook page for your business. We have a great post on that: http://freelancefolder.com/how-to-use-a-facebook-fan-page-to-promote-your-freelance-business/
Sid, I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Have fun with Quora and Pinterest.
February 24th, 2012 at 5:46 pm
February 29th, 2012 at 9:17 am
Great article, very helpful. Hadnt heard of Quora.
Joined Pinterest 3 days ago but Im not sure I really ‘get’ it yet…. how are people using it? Im a freelance writer, so not sure what I would pin!
March 7th, 2012 at 1:10 pm
Hi Laura, Nice Article, Freelancers should be master in the social media sites, otherwise their life is doubtful, recent days freelancers are concentrate on the micro job websites like 3to30, fiverr…
March 10th, 2012 at 10:34 pm
I am the co-founder and marketing head of a tech startup, but work as a freelancer on the side doing client web design work. All the tools listed here are great – we use Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin for our startup YpickMe. Need to do more Youtube as that’s a GREAT tool for startup entrepreneurs and small business owners. Another tool that comes to mind and helps me connect with the community each time I move is meetup.com. Meetup groups are a great way to promote yourself and your business.
p.s: Nice article Laura. I have been following freelance folder for a couple of months and the content is well written. :)
July 24th, 2012 at 12:09 pm
Hi all, I will like to introduce everyone to freelance domain marketplace, it’s a freelance jobs marketplace where service buyers post jobs that they need to be done and freelancers submit bids to win the job. It’s totally free to post jobs. Our services include web designing, programming, writing, translation, software development, engineering, seo, marketing, advertising, copywriting, proofreading, data entry and more
December 4th, 2012 at 7:56 am
nice post. pinterest is now growing up and very professional.
December 5th, 2012 at 4:07 pm
Fiverr is high authority market for webmasters .
February 6th, 2013 at 2:30 am
Thanks for posting your articles so often, every day i access your website and check for updates
April 17th, 2013 at 12:31 am
I almost never comment, but i did some searching and wound up here
The Top 10 Social Media Options for Freelancers & Small Business Owners | FreelanceFolder.
And I do have a couple of questions for you if it’s allright. Could it be only me or does it give the impression like some of these responses appear like they are written by brain dead visitors? :-P And, if you are posting on additional online social sites, I’d like to follow everything new you have to post.
Could you make a list of the complete urls of all your community pages like your linkedin profile,
Facebook page or twitter feed?
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- Social Media for Freelancers « whyfreelancing
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