My biggest reason to use twitter has been to start conversations with people I don’t normally have access to. It’s like in the corporate world when you get a chance to have a beer with someone outside the office – you get to talk on a level that’s more useful than while at work.
5 Ways You Can Use Twitter To Build Your Online Profile, Network And Get More Clients
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
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August 21st, 2008 at 12:23 pm
August 21st, 2008 at 12:44 pm
I used Twitter to socialize with other people and just kick back for a while. (I’ve taken a small two-week vacation but I’ll be back, everyone.) I enjoyed it for what it was – a place to be myself in rapid-fire mode.
Harry used Twitter differently. He found many people asking for help, and he would be there offering his services when the cry came. That was a few months ago, so yes, we can say that using Twitter for service calls works. (Heh, beat you to it!)
It’s worth it to network, no matter how you use the place. Period.
August 21st, 2008 at 12:49 pm
Thanks for the Info
I do not know why I have not opened my Twitter account yet.
But I will Today!
August 21st, 2008 at 6:09 pm
In the first week of using twitter i didnt think much about it, but as i added more people who were interested and prefessionals in the same area that iam in, it became even more interesting as people post links to topics of interest even if they are not initially directed at you, im really sort of using it to connect with other professionals its always good to get some one elses opinion and any followers can also get good information from what you tweet about.
Good post thanks.
August 21st, 2008 at 7:10 pm
Some great points, I really do think that twitter is perfect for designers & freelancers for all the reasons you’ve mentioned. I particularly find it great for interacting with fellow designers etc and finding out about new reading material etc. & It’s been a long time since I’ve experienced any down time on twitter.
Joram OudenaardeAugust 22nd, 2008 at 6:23 am
I tried using Twitter twice in the past year and a half, but I think that it’s not really common in Holland to get in contact with possible clients. It’s suprising that these kind of fantastic opportunities happen quite a lot in America, Canada and the UK, but I’ve never heard a successtory in Holland :-)
August 23rd, 2008 at 7:53 am
Twitter is also a huge referrer for both my portfolio and my css gallery: http://www.cssloaf.com. I have made some awesome friends on twitter and love the real sense of community within it, its a fantastic place to socialise and interact with other designers, developers and freelancers.
I have been contacted several times through twitter by potential clients and have received some lovely comments on my work as well, always a bonus. As Dave points out its a huge plus to be able to talk with people you wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to chat with, it opens up all sorts of possibilities.
August 24th, 2008 at 3:48 pm
I just recently began using Twitter more. It has been a big help by leading me to a lot of experts, new apps, and tips & tricks among other things. That’s how I found YOU. :-)
These are people and things I know are out there, but with Twitter I don’t have to take the time to search for them. They just come to my door thru Twitter and with Twitter I have the ability to decide whether to answer the door or not without a lot of issue with making that decision.
I use Digsby from Digsby.com and keep it signed into my email accts, Twitter, and several IMs while up on the right side of my screen. This way I don’t even have to take the time to run over to my Twitter page to check Twitters or into my email inbox to check emails, and I can post a Tweet quickly, too.
August 25th, 2008 at 10:50 am
After reading this article and the “50 designers to follow article” i think i will give twitter another try, the only problem i have is that i don’t know what to write about and who cares? people won’t follow you until you are influential, won’t they?
August 26th, 2008 at 1:08 am
I never got the hang of twitter, One I don’t know many designers/freelancers friends so anyone out there who is facing shortage of friends you know where to find me. My birdsign is twit twit lol kidding it antxardy so drop me some seed…….. i mean a line :)
*I wish i was funny*.
August 13th, 2009 at 7:52 am
Just started using twitter and is certainly great for keeping in touch with others in the field. I’ll be sure to expand my participation though!
October 24th, 2011 at 11:25 pm
Twitter is a great way to build up a personal brand if you aren’t constantly selling something or promoting products.
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