25 Social Media Tactics to boost your freelance business

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Sheryl Maywood

Sheryl is a marketing whiz and an analytics expert. She's currently studying for her PhD in computational linguistics. She spends most of her time crunching numbers and developing new analytical models to help clients find the best way to market their products. Sheryl also has a knack for creating witty copy that gets people to buy things they never knew they needed!

The rise of social media has transformed freelance businesses as we once knew
it. In the past, freelancers were limited in how they interacted with their clients,
how they collected information about them, and how they marketed new
freelance services and products to them. Today, these restraints have been
removed, permitting freelancers to gather information, learn, and respond much
faster than ever before.

Social media has also transformed the freelance sector in another way: by
creating a rift between freelancers who know how to navigate social media sites
and services; and those who do not. Those who don’t know how to use social
media services may find themselves on the defensive constantly—doing anything
to retain clients—even if they had a successful business model only years ago.
On the other hand, freelancers who feel comfortable with social media may now
find themselves at a significant advantage.

Here are fifty stand-alone tips that you can use to integrate social media into your freelance business, use it to market your services, use it to find new clients, and use it to manage existing  clients and extract information from them.

#1: Be Consistent with Your Social Media Identity

Now that you’re ready to enter the world of social media, it’s important for you to
spend some time carefully thinking about your social media identity before you
create a Twitter account, launch a Facebook fan page, and begin to market your
freelance business through social media channels.

The first thing you will want to do is decide whether you should market your
business as your business, as yourself, or as both. Each of the three options has
benefits, but it is ultimately up to you to decide which will work best for your
particular situation.

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Once you have selected your route, you should create accounts on social media
sites and setup a profile that reflects your choice. For instance, a Twitter account
for your business should focus exclusively on business activities—and not your
personal life.

#2: Create a Coherent Social Media Message

This tip closely relates to tip 1: once you have setup your social media site
profiles, you’ll want to start finding followers; and then using those followers to
collect information and market your services or products.
As you go through this process, it is important to maintain a coherent message.
For this reason, it might make sense to spend some time planning a general
“theme” for your social media profiles. For instance, is their purpose to alert people that you are a freelancer? Or is the purpose to discuss the general
industry in which your business falls; and mention your new services casually?
There’s not necessarily a best approach to take here, but it is important that you
pick one and stick with it. Creating an incoherent message will confuse and drive
away potential clients who are following you.

#3: Create a Twitter Profile

Once you have setup your Twitter.com account, it is critical that you spend some
time to personalize your profile. Most businesses who do not do this will be
perceived as spammers when they ask Twitter users to follow them.
When you setup a personalized profile on Twitter, there’s not much to do. All you
have to do is select a pre-existing background (or create a customized one),
select your avatar thumbnail photo, and then fill in some short “bio” and “about
me” information.

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As far as your avatar goes, it is probably a good idea to use the logo for your
business; and it may also be a good idea to create a custom background that
also includes your logo.

Finally, remember to add the URL of your business; and to create a bio section
that briefly explains 1) what your business does; and 2) what the purpose of this
Twitter profile is (i.e. to give away free stuff, to hold contests, or to provide free

#4: Create a Fan Page for Your Business on Facebook

Facebook is one of the most promising social media outlets when it comes to
marketing your services and products. One good way to use Facebook is to
create a fan page on the site; and to use it to draw in potential clients or buyers.Start by investing some time to create a high-quality fan page. This page should include links to your site, a well-written description of what you do, and a brief description of the purpose of your fan page (i.e. to provide all of your loyal clients with free information about upcoming services and product launches, product give-aways, and coupons).

If you don’t yet have enough “fans” to get the ball rolling, it might make sense to
start by giving people an incentive to become a fan. You could do something like
this: offer everyone who joins your fan page a 20% off coupon for one of your
services or products. You could then say something like “if this fan page has over
5,000 members by July 10th, every fan will get service Y or product X for free.”

#5: Track Your Twitter Results

As with any marketing campaign, you should monitor your Twitter promotional
campaigns by tracking the results. One free way to do this is to use
http://search.twitter.com/ to find all instances of people talking about you or your business on Twitter.

Another tool you can use is called Tweet Beep. This service will automatically email you whenever something about you or your business is Tweeted.
Finally, you can check your website’s analytics/traffic statistics program to
determine how much traffic you have received from Twitter. If you don’t currently have a good traffic statistics program, you can get one for free from here: http://www.statcounter.com/.

#6: Think in Terms of Social Capital

When it comes to using any form of social media services to promote your
business, it is always a good idea to think in terms of building social capital that
will generate flows of returns over a long period of time.It’s important to understand this because many marketers treat social media sites
like pay-per-click (PPC) advertising services. That is—they expect to see returns
immediately after creating an account on Facebook or Twitter.

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In reality, using social media sites correctly requires that you accumulate a large
following over a long period of time. You can think of these networks that you are
building as a form of capital. Once sufficiently large, you can begin to use it to
bring in additional members (without actively marketing) and additional clients.

#7: Using the Twitter Search Engine

Another approach you can take is to use the Twitter search engine to find Tweets
related to your business’s niche. This is an easy way to locate prospects who
might be interested in your products or services.
Once you have located some Tweets related to your niche, you can follow them
back to the source, determine whether the prospect might be interested in your
niche, and then invite them to follow you if so.

Initially, a lot of people you add may opt not to follow you; however, over time, if
you accumulate 50 new followers each day, you’ll gain momentum. If you make
interesting tweets, offer coupons, or tweet vital information, you might get retweeted, expanding your reach and possibly bringing in new followers.

#8: Use Twitter to Conduct Market Research

Unfortunately, freelancers often approach social media with the wrong attitude.
They hope that by simply creating a Twitter account, adding every person who is
willing to follow them, and spamming blatantly commercial messages, they’ll
accumulate clients and make money. In fact, this is one of the worst ways to build a freelance business with a social network, as potential clients will see
through it easily; and will choose to opt out.

On the other hand, freelancers often miss the great opportunities that Twitter presents—such as doing market research. In the past, it was very hard to observe your clients when they talked casually about your services or about competing services; however, this is exactly what you can do with Twitter (perhaps by using the Twitter Search Engine, as mentioned above).

#9: Create a Tutorial Series on YouTube

There are many ways in which you can use YouTube improperly; and get nothing
out of it. In fact, that is what most freelancers do when they try to find new clients or make money off of YouTube or video content in general.If you decide to do this, I personally suggest that you start by creating a tutorial

This could be something like 5 videos, each of which covers a topic in an
area related to your freelance business.If the videos are well-made; and if you market them well to get the ball rolling,there’s a good chance you could see a viral effect, where others begin referring colleagues to your videos without any compensation for doing so.

#10: Create a Linkedin.com Profile

If you’re not familiar with LinkedIn, you might be surprised to find out that they’ve already collected information about you; and have used it to construct a profile that might include some or all of the following information: 1) where you went to college; 2) what jobs you hold or have held in the past; 3) what businesses you have owned or own; and 4) miscellaneous personal and professional information about you.

If you want to control what that profile says; and to use it to network with other
business owners and potential clients, it’s a good idea to start by creating a
profile. Once you do that, you have a lot of options in terms of promotion and
networking; however, for now, simply worry about getting the ball rolling by
creating a profile.

 #11: Put a Thumbnail Photo in Your Social Networking Site Profiles

No matter what social network you are using, it’s always a good idea to place a
thumbnail photo of yourself (or at least your business’s logo) where possible. In
general, people will be hesitant to interact with profiles that don’t have faces
attached to them.

Of course, this is a personal decision and is ultimately up to you; however, if you
plan to take your social network marketing efforts seriously, this is an important
step to take.

#12: Lure in Followers by  Posting Free, Useful Information

As I’ve mentioned before, one of the best approaches you can take to social
media marketing is to disarm potential followers by providing something truly
useful. For instance, you could provide free information about something related
to your niche.

You could provide:
1. Links to important news related to your niche
2. Commentaries on important happenings within your niche
3. Links to sales and coupons (even if they’re not your own)

Once you use these strategies to build rapport with your visitors, you can then
begin to reap the rewards by marketing various services or products to them.

#13: Promoting Your Business Through Blog-Commenting

Many freelancers believe that the only way to get traffic to a blog is to post
frequently, ping, and optimize for natural search engine traffic. In fact, one of the
greatest ways to generate traffic via blogs doesn’t involve any of this.
The approach I’m talking about is simple: get direct traffic from other blogs by
commenting frequently. Of course, it’s important to understand that when I say
“comment frequently,” I don’t mean spam other people’s blogs with irrelevant
information. Rather, I simply mean that you should look for relevant
conversations in niche blogs; and then make a useful, intelligent comments that
links back to your blog.

If you spend a lot of time making useful comments, there’s a good chance you’ll
re-direct some of the traffic that lands on the big name blogs to your own. You
can then pass this traffic through the sales funnel.

#14: Encourage Existing Clients to Use Your Facebook Fan Page

There are two benefits of encouraging existing clients to become a fan of your
business on Facebook. The first is that you can slowly move away from paid
mediums (such as reliance bulk mail and autoresponders to disseminate
important information to clients.The second major benefit is that you can market new products and services to existing clients without pitching to them directly. You can do this by simply creating a status update on Facebook. Whenever they log into their account (even if they have no interest in conducting business), they’ll see your status update on their feed. If they find what you’re offering useful, they might just buy.The best part of all of this is that you didn’t have to make a high-pressure sales pitch, which might be awkward to do with existing clients. Instead, you can simply let them choose which pitches interest them; and which do not.

#15: Encourage Others to Promote Your Twitter Account and Facebook Page

Earlier, I mentioned that you can use contests and other incentives to get people
to become a “fan” or a follower. But even if you don’t want to go that far, there
are much simpler things that you can do to draw in new members of your
network.For starts, you can encourage people to tell others about your fan page or Twitter account. This is as simple as including 2-3 lines of text on your profile that explicitly state that visitors should tell friends and businesses about your profile if they find it useful.

#16: Improve Your Search Engine Ranking Position with Linkedin.com

One of the best uses of Linkedin.com is to generate organic search engine traffic
related to your niche. How can you do this? By getting your clients to review you
on Linkedin.com. With each positive review, your profile’s search engine ranking
position will improve.This can do two things for you: 1) it can direct people looking for services or products related to your niche to your linkedin.com profile; and 2) it can get more people to find your website through your profile.

#17: Link Your Twitter and Facebook Accounts

One way to save some time while maintaining your presence on both Facebook
and Twitter is to link the two accounts. This will allow you to have Facebook
automatically update your status using your Tweets.

Doing this is pretty simple; and can save you the hassle of moving between the
two accounts and re-posting the same messages multiple times. If this sounds
like a good idea to you, go to the following URL: http://apps.facebook.com/twitter/.

Once you’re there, all you have to do is click the button to allow Twitter to post
your Tweets to your Facebook account. After that, your Tweets will automatically
be posted to your Facebook account.

#18: Use Your Facebook Fan Page to Give Your Clients a Behindthe-Scenes Tour

One of the great things about being able to interact so freely with your client-base
is that you can extract important information from them. Another benefit is that
you can send them important signals about your business.
For instance, one thing you can do through your Facebook fan page is offer your
“fans” a behind-the-scenes look at what goes on with your business on a daily
basis. You could use status updates to announce the various stages of a service
or product launch; or you could announce new services or product ideas you

This will do two things for you: 1) it will increase customer engagement by
exposing them to your thought process and daily business happenings; and 2) it
will show them how much thought and work goes into the services or products
you create, so that they grow to appreciate your brand as a result.

#19: Encourage Others to Promote Your Twitter Account and Facebook Page

Earlier, I mentioned that you can use contests and other incentives to get people
to become a “fan” or a follower. But even if you don’t want to go that far, there
are much simpler things that you can do to draw in new members of your
network.For starts, you can encourage people to tell others about your fan page or Twitter account. This is as simple as including 2-3 lines of text on your profile that explicitly state that visitors should tell friends and businesses about your profile if they find it useful.

#20: Participate in Discussions with Visitors

Unlike most marketing campaigns you’ve probably run, you can’t simply create
an ad, purchase ad space somewhere, and then wait for the prospects to come
in. It’s quite the opposite with social networking sites.
Instead of creating a profile, adding some information, and then waiting for
prospects to buy, you should focus some energy on engaging the people who
actually do show up. If they have questions about your business or
services/products, be sure you respond in a timely manner and with thoughtful

The more you engage your clients, the greater your base of followers will
become. At some point, it’ll become self-perpetuating, so that your followers
bring in new followers on a regular basis. But it all starts with you closely
engaging your followers.

#21: Let Clients Contribute to Your Fan Page

One of the most important functions of social media is that it allows businesses
and organizations to receive feedback from clients and visitors, which they can
then respond to through the various social media services they are using.
You should think of doing this with your Facebook fan page. Consider asking
visitors to post or send you a story about how they’ve used your service or
product. You can then hold a contest where the person who wrote the best story
gets free services or products from your online store.

#22: Using Tumblr.com to Save Time

If you use multiple social networks, it may be a good idea to consolidate your
workload, so that you don’t spend a large chunk of your time repeating the same
tasks. One way in which you can do this is by using www.tumblr.com.
Much like the Facebook app I mentioned earlier, Tumblr allows you to post to all
of your accounts at one time. This means that you can tweet, post a Facebook
status update, and post to any of your other accounts at the same time.

#23: Integrate Your Twitter Feed with Your Homepage

If you want to make your site more dynamic, you may want to consider adding a
scrolling Twitter feed. In brief, this is basically just a script that cycles through all
of your tweets, displaying them in sequential order in a nice-looking frame.
This is always a nice touch to add to your site. It will not only improve the
appearance of your site, but it will also create the feeling of dynamicity. Visitors
will enjoy reading it; and may choose to follow the feed to your Twitter profile,
where they can become a follower.

To create such a feed, all you have to do is use a widget like this:
http://www.widgetbox.com/widget/twidget. It will generate code that you can
simply copy-and-paste into your site editor.

#24: Use Last.fm for MusicRelated Businesses

If your business relates to music at all, then it might be a wise idea to employ
lesser-known social networking services, such as www.last.fm. If you’re not
familiar with last.fm, it’s a form of Internet radio that automatically creates
playlists for you.

As you list to music on the site (or even if you opt to let the site capture the music
that you listen to on iTunes or elsewhere), the site records your choices; and
then adds them to your last.fm profile, which any user may view.

This may sound like a fringe idea, but if you happen to be in the music business
or sell “how-to” music products, using last.fm could be a great way to build
rapport with your customer base. It will not only show that you’re a real person
(and not just some mysterious person trying to hammer products down people’s
throats), but will also tell your clients something about you—what music you like.

#25: Use Your Facebook Profile to Refer People to Your Business’s Fan Page

When it comes to using Facebook to promote your business, it is almost always
a good idea to have both a business/personal profile and a fan page. Doing this
gives you a great deal of versatility when it comes to recruiting new fans.
You can use the following approach: first, locate people who could be potential
clients for your business. Next, use your business/personal profile to add them as
a friend (and hope that they accept).



Now that you’ve read all of this, take some time to process it, make plans
accordingly; and then jump in. Don’t make the mistake that many other
freelancers make of waiting and worrying. Instead, get to work building your
social media empire; and use it to generate massive flows of income for your