Using social media to find freelance writing clients is one of the most common advices given to freelancers.
But how does one find clients on social media? Unfortunately, not many people can answer clearly.
It’s easy to tell freelancers to find clients on social media, telling them how to find them? That’s a different thing altogether.
I’ve certainly never “found” clients on social media. In fact, it’s always been the other way around.
Think about it. It doesn’t make sense to go out and look up companies on social media to find clients. If that’s what you’re supposed to do, searching on Google make more sense. After all, you’re more likely to find the information you need on a company’s website than in their social media updates.
So, instead of wasting time doing something time consuming as finding, following, interacting, and prospecting clients—let them find you.
How? By doing these seven things:
1. Complete your profile
Not completing your profile is a social media faux pas that makes even the most average social media user (some of whom may very well be your prospective client) cringe.
So make sure you complete your profile and include relevant information that helps you gain the trust of your followers.
Who would you rather follow? A profile that doesn’t have an image, bio and relevant links or one that has a professional headshot, complete bio and links to his blog or a website?
2. Use descriptive keywords
Now that you’ve completed your profile, make sure you’re using keywords in your profile.
And don’t just stuff them in there either! Use them intelligently and make them as descriptive as you can.
Let’s say you’re a freelance writer who writes for sports blogs and magazines. Describe yourself as a sports writer and blogger instead of just a freelance writer.
Not sure about this tactic? Put yourself in your prospective client’s shoes. If you’re looking for a freelancer who writes about sports, would you search for a “sports writer” or a “freelance writer”? Which one will get you the most targeted results?
3. Get testimonials
Testimonials have always been a great tool to establish trust. In social media, they’re even more important.
Ask a few of your LinkedIn connections to write you a recommendation. Send the request to people you know have been more than happy with your work.
If you run a Facebook page, install an app that lets people leave testimonials.
For Twitter, favourite every tweet you think makes a good testimonial. Then install Tweetstimonial—a WordPress plugin on your blog or website and display them prominently. Every time you favourite a flattering tweet someone sent about your work, it’ll be displayed on your website.
For other networks, save a screen shot and link to the status update or comment that you can display on your testimonial page.
The reason testimonials on social networks work is because prospective clients can follow through with the people leaving you a testimonial if they need to. There’s no question of whether a testimonial is authentic or not because it’s already verified by the social network and user leaving the testimonial.
4. Share relevant content
By relevant content, I don’t mean content relevant to you. The content you share needs to be relevant to the kind of clients you want to attract.
So if you want to work with small businesses find and share content about topics important to them.
While sharing content as status updates is great, sharing the same on relevant groups and communities has more of an impact.
Be where your prospects hang and you’ll have a better chance of attracting clients.
5. Answer questions – as many as you can
One of the best ways to attract clients is to answer their questions. And not just answers that portray you as the answer.
Be as helpful as possible. Answer as clearly as you can, link to content that explains in further detail, and refer someone else to them who might be better able to help them.
The more helpful you are, the more you’ll position yourself as the go-to person for the kind of writing you do.
6. Reach out to your followers
One of the best ways to attract clients is to keep an eye on your followers. Every couple of days, check out who has followed you on various social networks and go through their profiles.
If they fall in your ideal client criteria, take a few minutes to interact with them. Send them a private message thanking them for following you. Ask if they were in need of a freelancer, or worked with them in case of a company.
At the very least, take the time to interact with them. Whether it’s commenting on a status update, liking it, plus-ing it or retweeting it. Anything that tells them you noticed their follow and are open to conversation.
You never know when a follower might respond and hire you.
7. Spread the word
Sometimes telling people you’re looking for work is the best way to get work. Just make sure you don’t come across needy or unprofessional.
When I wanted to work with small businesses, I sent out a social media update that I had a couple of client spots opening up and I wanted to work with small businesses this time. I asked my followers to point me in the direction of anyone looking for a freelance writer.
I had three leads in 2 hours.
Word of caution: This only works if you’ve spent time doing all of the tactics mentioned above.
A general rule of thumb is to earn the trust of your followers before asking them for anything.
Using social media to attract clients is a long term strategy
I’ll be honest with you.
Attracting clients through social media isn’t easy. Yes, it has the potential to become a huge client referral for you but it requires a long term strategy not many writers are willing to commit to.
What about you? Are you willing to make the commitment required to attract clients through social media?