Why All Freelancers Really Need a LinkedIn Profile

So, you understand that participating in social media is important for your freelancing business–that’s a great start.

Let me ask you something else. Do you currently have a profile on LinkedIn?

If you answered “no,” then you may be missing a great opportunity to market yourself to the very businesses that you’re trying to reach.

In this post, I’ll discuss some of the benefits freelancers can find from using LinkedIn. I’ll also share some additional resources where you can learn more about using LinkedIn for your freelancing business.

LinkedIn Benefits for Freelancers

One of the most common questions freelancers ask is this: “How can I attract clients who are large organizations to my freelancing business?”

Well, the answer for finding any type of client is to make sure that you go where your potential clients are. If you want to count major corporations among your clients, you need to be where they are. Right now, that means you need to be on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn’s own statistics on their About Us page show that big businesses use LinkedIn. In fact, as of March 2012 their membership includes at least one executive from every Fortune 500 company. That fact alone makes LinkedIn a significant tool for reaching out to the corporate community.

LinkedIn is also great for freelancers because it is intended to be a network for professionals. Unlike on other social networks, you won’t find embarrassing photos of your cousin’s party or be startled by your ex-roommate’s off-color comments here. There aren’t a lot of LinkedIn games to waste your time either.

The people who are on LinkedIn are there for one reason–business.

LinkedIn Features Freelancers Should Use

Of course, you’ll want to make sure that your LinkedIn profile is completely filled out. You should also make a point to connect with all current and past business contacts.

Here are several LinkedIn features you should be taking advantage of if you want to use it to market yourself as a freelancer:

  • Groups. LinkedIn has a huge quantity of professional groups. These provide a great way to network with other business professionals. Once you’ve joined a few groups, check your group feed regularly for updates.
  • Jobs. LinkedIn maintains its own professional job bank. While many of the jobs are full-time, freelance jobs are listed. The jobs listed here tend to be more professional.
  • Companies. Are you interested in getting your foot in the door with a specific company? Try following them with the companies feature.
  • Answers. This is LinkedIn’s own Question and Answer tool (found under the More option). Answering questions here allows you to demonstrate your expertise to an audience of professionals.
  • Skills & Expertise. This is a new feature (still in beta at the time this post was written) under the More option. What it does is allow you to enter some keywords for your skills so that you can be found more easily.

Of course, there’s a lot more you could learn about using LinkedIn effectively.

More About LinkedIn

Would you like to learn more about using LinkedIn for your freelancing business?

Here are some great additional resources about LinkedIn:

Your Turn

Like so many freelancers, I have to admit that I neglected my own LinkedIn profile for years. While I had a bare bones profile, it contained very little about my business.

About six months ago all that changed. I took an online class on LinkedIn and started to take the advice that I was learning. Suddenly, everything changed. I started hearing from clients and recruiters.

Are you neglecting your LinkedIn profile? How do you use LinkedIn?

Share your best tips and ideas in the comments below.

Image by TheSeafarer