Social media can be a great networking tool. Used properly, you can meet both prospective clients and colleagues on social media. You can also use it to communicate with family and friends.
Sadly, however, too many freelancers are not taking full advantage the social media tools that they have available to them. Yet, they wonder why they aren’t benefiting from their social media participation. You’ve probably heard their complaints:
- “Social media is a total waste of time.”
- “I’ve never gotten a client through social media.”
- “My clients don’t use social media.”
In this post, I’ll help freelancers optimize their social media participation by identifying the five elements that all freelancers should have in their social media profiles. Having an optimized profile should address many of the complaints that freelancers have about social media. I’ll also identify some characteristics of spam social media accounts so that you can see the difference.
Five Critical Social Media Profile Elements
If you’re using social media for purely personal reasons, then you can totally ignore this post and do what you like. Just keep in mind, though, your clients may be able to find your “personal” social media account even if your privacy settings are set high–so it’s a good idea not to post anything that you wouldn’t want them to see.
However, if you’re hoping to glean some professional advantages for your freelancing business through social media participation, you’ve come to the right place. Although every social media platform has its own unique characteristics all social media platforms have one thing in common–they all have a user profile.
As a freelancer, your social media user profile is an important part of your online presence and it shouldn’t be ignored. If you’re serious about using social media to your advantage, your social media profiles should contain at least the following five elements:
- An Image. Although studies show that most people react most favorably to personal photographs, it’s also acceptable to use a logo or design. Whatever you do, don’t set up a social media profile and leave the default image in place. Using the default image for your social media profile shows that you’re uncomfortable online or even worse, a spammer.
- A description of your freelancing business. Your social media contacts shouldn’t have to guess what type of business you are in. It’s okay to include some personal information in your profile as well (after all, these sites are meant to be social), but don’t exclude your professional information.
- A link to your site. All freelancers should maintain a blog and/or a professional portfolio and naturally, your profile should link to them. This lets prospective clients find more information about your business easily.
- A way to contact you. Whether it be through direct message, or an email address, prospective clients need a way to communicate directly with you. Be sure to include contact information in your social media profile and keep that information up to date.
- Some activity. This element is last, but not least. Your social media profile is most valuable and most effective when you are actively participating. A social media profile that sits dormant for months is unlikely to yield any professional contacts.
Despite the fact that it seems like common sense to use the elements in a social media profile, an amazing number of profiles (some of them belonging to freelancers) are incomplete.
Don’t Get Mistaken for a Spammer
One problem that freelancers face when they join media is being identified as one of the “good guys.” You certainly don’t want anyone on a social media site to mistake you for a spammer. Here is a checklist with some of the characteristics of spammers. Make sure that your social media account doesn’t match of these:
- Skimpy profile information. Spam accounts rarely bother to fill out a complete social media profile.
- No profile image or a suggestive profile image. Using the default image or a suggestive image as a profile picture is a spammer give away.
- One-way communication only. Often spammers broadcast the same message over and over (until they are blocked or banned).
- No friends or fans or followers. Because they don’t really interact with others, spammers usually have no friends, fans, or followers.
Do you keep your social media profiles up to date? What other information do you make sure to include in your social media profile?
What other tips would you add?
Image by liako