How to use social media to market your freelance business
Love to get your name in front of new clients and generate more freelance work? Here are four easy steps to using social media to market your freelance business.
Pretty much everyone today is on social media in some way; whether it’s posting images from their lives on Instagram, updating family on Facebook, or debating politics on Twitter. Which means it’s also a regular part of the lives of your potential freelance clients.
As a result, social media has become virtually essential as a freelance marketing tool. And while it may not be your sole way of getting work, it should be a valuable part of your promotional toolkit. (If you’re not using social media to promote your expertise to potential clients, you can bet your competitors are.)
How to use social media to market your freelance business
So how you can you use social media to market your freelance business and find work? Here are four steps you can follow.
1) Set yourself up (for success)
The first step is to get yourself in the proper channels that will reach your audience. Instagram might make the most sense if you are a graphic designer, as it is a more visual platform. YouTube, on the other hand, might be worth checking out if you have some free information to teach potential clients, to prove your knowledge and worth.
Once you work out which platforms you want to be on, you need to set yourself up properly. Make sure your username is consistent across all platforms as much as possible, and ties in directly with the name you run your business under. You want people to be able to find you cross-platform with as much ease as possible, and to brand yourself across any and all channels you are on.
You’ll also want to create a visual brand for yourself. This can easily be done on sites like Canva or Fotor if you don’t have your own graphic design program. (And don’t forget business stationery and printed marketing materials, like business cards and flyers like these from HelloPrint.)
Every platform needs things like a profile photo/logo, a header or cover image, and a general color scheme. Keep it all consistent so that no matter where a visitor lands, they know it’s you. (Read six tips to help you build the right brand image for your business.)
Also make sure you include all the information a potential client might need, such as your website, contact information, and a small description of what services you offer. Make it easy for people to jump from social right to you without having to make too many steps, or you’ll lose them in the conversion process.
One platform you can’t afford to ignore is LinkedIn. Clients use it to find freelancers to work with, and to check your credentials if they come across you elsewhere. So if you don’t have a properly written profile you’re missing out on work. (Let us guide you through completing a professional profile that will attract and impress freelance clients, in our easy online course.)
2) Have a content plan
Now that you’ve picked your social media channels, what are you going to post on them? It’s important to have a content plan ahead of time, rather than simply posting things as they come into your head.
Without a clear plan and schedule, you’ll just be broadcasting randomly, crossing your fingers and hoping something works. So create a strategy; think of three to four key content pillars you want to write about and use these as the main topics to cover each week.
Once you know what you want to cover, find content to share and start scheduling. It’s often easiest to think of your schedule by day of the week. Mondays might be promoting your business as a whole; a new e-book, a newsletter to sign up for, or a call to action to visit your website. Wednesday could be a small tip, one that doesn’t give away your skills for free but shows you can be of help to a potential client and give them return value.
Sticking to this content plan is key. It teaches your followers that they should expect consistent news, tips and valuable information. They start to learn that every Friday, they are going to get an awesome #FridayFact or that every Sunday you are going to answer questions they tweet you or leave on YouTube comments.
Over time they’ll get accustomed to your schedule and look forward to your content. You’ll then be top of mind when they need someone with your expertise for their business venture. Here’s some more in-depth advice on sharing content:
- An easy four-step formula for creating a content marketing plan
- Four things you MUST do when creating or sharing content
- How to start making and sharing video content for your business
- Five easy steps to creating great digital content – and staying sane
3) Advertise where you can
Not everyone has a huge budget for paid social media ads, but you don’t need a lot of money to make an impact.
Boosting posts on your social channels like Facebook and Twitter can get your content and website out to a lot more people, especially if you use the targeting options wisely. Native advertising is easy and intuitive, though does take some effort to play around with your audiences to make sure you are making the optimal impact.
Facebook specifically has the benefit of some of the best PPC marketing options, but you have to understand the right way to optimise to get the right leads to your website. A/B testing, or split testing, is one of the best ways to find out what works best for the right cost per click.
4) Be part of the bigger conversation
Finally, make sure you are using your social media presence to be a part of the bigger conversation around what you do. Comment on the YouTube channels of potential clients, or those in a similar line of business. And search hashtags and keywords on Twitter to find people asking questions about your subject of expertise, then answer them.
A good way to get started is with some keyword research.For example, if you’re a graphic designer, drill deeper into what potential clients might be saying around this, and what terms they’re using – “business design,” “designing a company website,” etc.
Search these terms on Twitter, on Facebook, and find conversations happening around them and become a part of it. Look for questions you can answer or places you can give an opinion.
You don’t want to overtly push people to visit your site or openly sell your services; that comes across as spam and users won’t want to engage with you. Instead, just give your honest opinions and expertise with no strings attached.
People will naturally be interested in finding out more about who you are and why you know so much on a particular topic, and that’s where your initial work in branding your social media pages pays off.
30 minutes a day on social media can deliver big rewards
Making social media a part of your daily strategy to find new clients takes time but can be incredibly rewarding. It adds more channels for clients to find and reach you, and a bigger piece of real estate online for your name.
Even just spending 30 minutes a day working on channels can change your influx in inbound leads and get you more freelance work. So if you’re not already doing so, follow the advice in this article and start marketing your freelance business on social media.