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As a freelancer, social media is key to your growth. It helps establish your online presence, research on trends and best practices, connect with your desired audience, and many more.
So, how can you effectively leverage social media as a freelancer? Follow this step-by-step guide.
Take for example you’re a blogger looking to market to Facebook users. In 2018, the number of active users on the platform peaked at 2.23 billion globally.
Here are some key statistics to take note:
Now collect the same data for key channels like Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. This helps you derive the best marketing strategies for your client base.
The best freelancers don’t work hard, they work smart.
So don’t go trigger happy and post on every social media outlet. Trying to manage content for several channels is difficult and time-consuming — especially when you’re running a one-man team.
Select only the channels suitable for your freelancing business with the following criteria:
Are you trying to grow your audience? Or are you looking to gain more engagements and build customer loyalty?
Assess your skill set. Are you capable of meeting your marketing goals with your current resources?
On which platforms are your target audience spending most of their time? Consider what line of work you’re in, where your target audience is at, and what format of content you’re comfortable with.
Are you a writer? You can leverage Facebook Groups to meet fellow freelance writers, earn referrals, and connect with a network of potential clients. LinkedIn has a feature called LinkedIn Pulse, a blogging platform where you can write your own content and share it with your followers and those who are interested in the topic.
Are you a designer? Post your work on Instagram and tag them with the appropriate hashtags so potential clients can see them. You can also post them on Pinterest, where the half-life of a post lasts 1,600 longer than one on Facebook. Your content can remain on the feed for months, which increases the chance for clients to find your work.
Are you a developer? Reddit offers a wide range of platforms for you to interact with fellow developers, such as r/programming and r/coding. And, even when they’re not technically considered social media networks, Github and Stack Overflow are also essential. In Github, you can post your code to share to an online community. With Stack Overflow, you can either ask or answer code-related questions.
Think of your social media handle as your business name — the name that your audience remembers you for. Use it consistently across social media to make it easier for clients to find you online.
So what happens when your chosen handle is unavailable? Say, it has been taken by someone else or it has exceeded the character limit? Follow these hacks:
For the purpose of this article, let’s use a dummy handle: John Smith. You can separate the first and last names with a punctuation mark, so it becomes john.smith or john_smith.
Use an abbreviate of your handle and add a little spin to it. John Smith can become HelloIAmJS or JSOfficial.
This can help your audience identify your line of work. Let’s say you are a graphics designer. You can use JohnSmithDesign or DesignByJohnSmith.
If you’re comfortable letting your audience know where you’re based in, you can suffix your location info for your handle. If you live in Australia, John Smith can become JohnSmithAU.
If you are eager to use your chosen handle, you can opt to message the one who’s using it. But this is only applicable when the user is inactive on the platform. If they reply and say yes, you’re lucky!
Aside from a consistent social media handle, there are other ways to establish your online brand.
Canva has a huge database of resources where you can make graphics like logos and posters, and even a colour palette generator to help you form your brand colour scheme.
For your tone of voice, it helps to write like you’re speaking to a friend. Avoid unnecessary jargons to appear more authentic and relatable.
Your brand should stay consistent across your social media accounts. For example use the same logo for your display pictures, the same colour scheme for your images, and the same tone of voice for your write-ups.
Every social media channel has a different specialty: Instagram and Pinterest have photos and videos, Twitter has instant life updates in 280 characters or less, LinkedIn has professional networking, and Facebook has… basically everything.
Think about the most suitable content formats for each channel.
For example, writers can share write-ups on Facebook and Twitter. You can even sign up your website for Instant Articles on Facebook, so your audience can conveniently read your articles without leaving the platform.
Designers, on the other hand, can post works in progress (WIP) as Stories on Instagram of Facebook Messenger.
For developers, you can share bite-sized advice on Twitter, where many of your fellow developers also thrive.
So you’ve chosen the social media channels to use for your freelance business, reserved your social media handle, created your brand image, and decided on content formats for every channel...
Time to go post and be a social media-savvy freelancer? Not yet.
Creating a posting schedule helps you boost online engagement. Start by determining the most favourable time for your content to get as much reach as possible.
Take Instagram for example. In a 2018 study, lunch time from 11 am to 1 pm is the best time to post on the platform, followed by evening from 7 pm to 9 pm. Of course, you shouldn’t rely on statistics alone. Expect to go through multiple trial runs when creating an effective posting schedule.
Social media is a powerful tool to connect with people and engage with a community you belong to. And, as a freelancer, you need a strong network of fellow professionals and prospective clients to sustain your career.
Get started with social media now, and see your freelance career reach greater heights.
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