I opened my Twitter account about 2 years ago and honestly, I used to see it as a real time-waster and I’m sure many of you still see it as the ultimate productivity killer. I know… how can Twitter be of any use to freelancers? It’s just something made to waste some time online, right?
Sure you can spend hours on Twitter! But I find it’s totally worth it! I started using Twitter more actively only 6 months ago and believe it or not, Twitter is now one of my best referral source! After words of mouth of course! :)
Use It To Connect With Other People In Your Field
There are tons of community and social networking sites out there, still Twitter is one of my favorite! In fact I got more followers on Twitter than I have readers on my design blog/portfolio site.
Say you’re a designer, I’m sure there are some websites and blogs you like to visit on a regular basis and I’m sure you like to check out other people’s work and some portfolio sites to get the creative juices flowing. Simply look for a Twitter badge or button and follow these people. More often then not they will add you back! Then it’s just a matter of joining or starting a conversation.
There are tons of designers and web-workers on Twitter (and freelance writers and bloggers too). Some time ago Steven from Vandelay Design put together a list of 50 designers to follow on Twitter, and Jeffrey at NETTUTS compiled this list of 9 web developers to follow. This should help you get started! :)
Take Some Time To Help Others
Recently the folks at Go Media started offering design help via Twitter. I think this is brilliant! What a nice way to give back to the community and help others!
A lot of other designers do the same – For example, if I see someone has a question about CSS, PHP or even blogging, I’ll try to answer the best I can! And if I have a question I know some people will do the same for me! It’s a win-win thing and we all learn from each other.
Link To Your Portfolio Site Or Blog
Of course Twitter is not a site where you can upload work samples like you can on Behance or Carbonmade, but you can definitely link to your site and tweet about your current design projects and even ask people for feedback on your designs.
You can link to your site in the sidebar and in your tweets. Sure not everyone will go check out your portfolio site, but the ones that do are more likely to contact you and maybe hire you since they already ‘know you‘ from Twitter.
Tweet About Some Industry Related Topics
You read a great article about freelancing, design, writing or blogging? Why not tweet about it and let your friends know you liked it? There’s a new PNG fix for IE6? Hey I want to know about it!
If I need to outsource work at some point I may contact that guy on Twitter because he helped me in the past, he’s friendly and I now see him as an expert, someone who knows his stuff.
Reply To Messages
I love it when potential clients send me emails saying they found me on Twitter and need a web-designer for a project. I think that rocks, especially since I don’t actually spend a lot of time on Twitter, I just write a couple tweets from time to time.
Some people will simply send you a quick message to see if you’re available for work. Make sure you read and reply to your messages! I know, you already have to check your emails and maybe you don’t want to have to reply to more people on Twitter, but what if it leads to a really cool design gig and a very nice paycheck? I know it happened to me many times!
Your Turn To Talk
How do you use Twitter to find clients? Do you see Twitter as a cool marketing and networking tool or as a complete time-waster? Did potential clients ever contacted you via Twitter? Did you get the gig? Please share your own tips, tricks and Twitter success stories in the comment section below. :)
About the author: Jon is a full-time freelancer, blogger and designer, he loves WordPress and plays guitar in a heavy act. he can also be found on Twitter. He’s also the founder of Freelance Folder. (Twitter page here)
Twitter bird image from Function Web-Design Blog