Time for Freelancers to Become More Social and Play the Game

For freelance writers, there are a lot of avenues available to promote their work.

Social media, however, should be the first and foremost tool to spread the word about interesting articles, searching for individuals to interview, gathering new story ideas and more.

Some of the challenges that freelance writers can face with social media are which outlets to use, how often to use them, and where and when to promote them. Although social media is not rocket science, it can be challenging at times, therefore stop writers from effectively using the various tools at their disposal.

How to Use Social Media Promote Your Business

When seeking to promote your freelance writings via social media, keep these factors in mind:

  • Promote, don’t spam–There is a fine line for freelance writers to walk when seeking to promote their articles through sites such as Facebook, Twitter and others. You want to promote your copy, yet not be spamming both friends and followers to the point where they turn you off. While there is nothing wrong with sending out a link to your copy or sharing it with others, do not continuously repeat the process so that the same article is showing up in their timelines several times a day. Promote discreetly so that you’re not viewed as simply a spammer.
  • It is okay to follow and befriend–While we’re often told to be leaders and not followers, you want to follow when it comes to social media sites. The more users (individuals and professionals) that you follow, the more avenues you will open your copy up to. It is advised, however, to follow users on Twitter, Facebook, and so on, who are worthwhile. Don’t follow just for the sake of following to pile up numbers. If you’re a freelance writer who covers the restaurant industry, be sure to follow and/or befriend others who are in the same field. When writing an article on the latest trends in this industry, the goal is to tweet and/or share your story with relevant parties so they can be your unofficial “salespeople” and help push your article along.
  • Engage in discussion–One of the key aspects of social media is that it allows you to engage in conversations. Since I write for several freelance publications on the side of my full-time job, I will often surf the Internet for relevant discussions related to what I’m writing about. For example, I cover professional football during the fall for four to six months. Doing so gives me an opening when I see a discussion about the NFL. I introduce myself, become part of the conversation, and then send along a link to those interested parties on the latest NFL story I wrote. Not only do I become part of the discussion, but my article does too.
  • Take the time–Another of the great features of social media is that it is available 24/7, 365 days a year. Given the fact I literally write eight or more hours a day between my full-time job and freelancing, my eyes sometimes need a break from the computer when I get home at night. If I am feeling restless or there is some available time over the weekend, I can get online, find a relevant discussion, and use social media to promote what I’m writing about. The doors are never closed in the world of social media, it just requires some time and effort to walk through them.
  • Look for invites to groups–More and more, individuals are taking part in social media chats. Whether it is a “tweet-up” or another opportunity to go online with others, look for such opportunities. The world of social media is all about networking, so don’t pass up the opportunity to be a part of it. You can also initiate such an online event and invite other freelance writers to join you. This is also a great way to share tricks of the trade with other writers, giving you the opportunity to better your skills.
  • You scratch my back, I scratch your back–Finally, you have to remember that the world of social media is not all about you. At my full-time job, we make sure we promote each other’s work–not only helping ourselves, but getting our company more public attention. When others promote your writings, be sure to return the favor, forming and keeping relationships together. If you only ask others to promote their articles and do not reciprocate, you will likely find very few willing to spread the word for you.

Is It a Fad?

Some individuals say that social media is simply a fad, something that will eventually go away.

I, however, think social media is not only here to stay for the foreseeable future, but will continue to expand its tentacles. If you have not already, take the time to understand social media as it relates to your freelance writing efforts, and get off the sidelines and into the game.

Your Turn

Have I missed any social media tips? What would you add?

Image by lothlaurien