To sustain your income as a freelancer, you must possess the mindset of a salesperson. Consistent marketing of your brand is necessary if you want to limit the financial ups and downs that are part of being self-employed. Social media can help you maintain your brand and your wallet.
Thinking like a salesperson is an attribute that freelancers can greatly benefit from. Making cold calls, setting up new-business meetings, and projecting your income with monthly sales targets should be part of your daily routine.
Social media has a significant role to play in your sales and marketing activities as a freelancer. LinkedIn is a powerful networking tool. Facebook offers you massive exposure. And Twitter can position you as a thought-leader in your field.
Be social on social media
Lurking on social media won’t do you any good. Not being social on social media is like attending a networking event and sitting in a corner watching other people network. You cannot expect to make new connections if you do not make eye contact, have a few conversations, and hand out a bunch of business cards.
- Make eye contact on LinkedIn with a personalised note when you send a connection request, or respond to one;
- Maintain eye contact on LinkedIn with regular direct messages to your connections – I take opportunities from special days like Easter long-weekend, Spring-day, and the December holidays to send greetings to each of my LinkedIn connections;
- Have conversations on Facebook – yes, if you are self-employed, I believe that 50% or more of your friends should be business-related. Forget about your uncle’s uncle’s daughter’s baby and focus your Facebook conversations around getting to know your business contacts on a more personal level; and
- Hand out business cards on Twitter by taking part in relevant Twitter Chats and posting content with hashtags relevant to the services you offer.
The cobbler’s children go barefoot
This well-known English proverb is often true for freelancers. We tend to focus our efforts on executing projects for our clients and forget to make time to market ourselves.
To be social on social media requires a time investment on your side. You can do it yourself or hire a social media manager to assist you. But, social on social media you must be. If you, like me, prefer to be social DIY-style here are some tools that will make your life easier.
Pocket is a browser and mobile app that makes it easy for you to save articles you come across on the internet to read later and use as content to post on your social media accounts. If you spend 15 minutes every day scanning through your two favourite industry-related websites, saving articles on Pocket as you go, you will have more than enough content to share on social media.
Buffer is a social media scheduling tool that allows you to schedule content in advance. It is free to use if you have four or less social media accounts and allows you to schedule 10 posts in advance. That is more than enough for your personal social media content needs. If you schedule one post for every day of the week it means you must only spend about 15 minutes a week on posting content on social media.
Grammarly is a web app and Chrome extension that checks your spelling and grammar as you type content on Buffer or social media accounts, and across the Internet. I find it a very useful personal proof-reader at my fingertips whenever and wherever I need it.
You don’t need to spend hours on social media
All you need is a few minutes every day. 15 minutes every morning to read, 15 minutes once a week to schedule the articles you saved on Pocket, and a few minutes every morning and evening to engage with your connections.
Social media, when used correctly and consistently, can be a great asset to any freelancer. The saying ‘out of sight, out of mind’ is a truth that the freelancer cannot afford to battle with. An active social media presence will help you stay top-of-mind with your prospective clients.
Marisa Louw, mostly known as ‘eM’, is an independent marketing professional from Johannesburg, South Africa. She has 45 years’ life experience of which 24 years have been spent in the marketing industry. She specialises in publicity (PR or public relations), and content creation (writing), social media (strategies and management), and campaign/project management. Find her on Facebook and Twitter.
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