Social media is a boon or a curse, depending on how you look at it. It can be used for tremendous good or abject evil, but if you are a freelancer, it’s a smart way to connect with clients and other freelancers.
We Can’t Avoid Social Media
We can’t avoid social media. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, Instagram, LinkedIn – these sites are all around us, a part of everyone’s daily life. Not everyone uses social media. I, personally, don’t enjoy using it. I like posting photos on Instagram, but I dislike the way Facebook pervades every corner of modern life. Maybe it’s because I am fundamentally a very private person, but social media tends to encourage oversharing. You know the kind of thing I’m talking about. It’s that post where somewhere you barely know unburdens their deepest relationship horrors on your Facebook feed, or posts a stream of Tweets about their descent into depression.
In the old days, if we wanted to talk to someone, we picked up the telephone or wrote a letter. These days, letters and voice calls are somewhat redundant. After all, why put pen to paper when can type out a pithy message on Facebook?
How to Use Social Media
The key to success with social media is how you use it. It stands to reason that if you never use social media, it won’t work for you. Consistency is important, as this is the only way to build an online profile. You may hate posting on Facebook or Twitter, but if you want to improve your chances of securing new clients, it would be foolhardy to ignore social media.
Networking is easy if you use social media. Instead of picking up the telephone and risking a long, fruitless call, you can post on a person’s Facebook or Tweet them. We are all busy people, but it takes seconds to connect on Facebook or LinkedIn.
Leverage Your Connections
Make the most of your existing social media connections. Some of these people could have useful contacts you might be able to leverage for new work. Be chatty, open to engagement, and always have an eye on what’s happening online.
Tout for Work
Use your social media feeds to look for freelance work if things are quiet. If you could do with a few new clients, post a message letting contacts know you have an opening in your busy schedule. You never know who might be reading.
Be a Professional
Be professional in all of your social media conversations. It’s easy to get sucked into the informal nature of social media posting, but a few ill-thought out comments are an unprofessional rant about a client could cost you a lot of future work. Make sure your social media accounts are an accurate reflection of you as a person. Be authentic and play nice; there are already more than enough evil trolls out there in social media land.
You don’t have to bother with social media, but if you want to maximise your freelance opportunities, you can’t afford to ignore it.
Image credit: Brantley Davidson on Flickr