Social media enables us to handle a wide variety of tasks, yet so many of us think of it as only blogs, Facebook and Twitter. The truth is, social media encompasses so much more. To truly tap into its potential could mean to take your career to a whole new level.
If you think social media has nothing to do with freelance writing, you couldn’t be more wrong. Building an online presence can be an important step towards becoming a successful freelance writer, even if you’re doing something so innocent as playing a game or sharing music.
Below is but a sampling of how you can use social media to your benefit. Some of these are work related and some are strictly for fun. All of them rock.
Read to the bottom to find out how all of the items below will benefit you as a freelancer.
56 Uses for Social Media
- Promote: Use different social media tools to promote your stuff. Whether it’s via a Tweet, Facebook group, video on YouTube or a post on your blog, there are too many opportunities not to take advantage. The best part is, most social media tools are free and simple to use.
- Share: Find a link to something you’re digging online? Share it with your friends and followers.
- Learn: There are blogs available on almost any topic you can think of nowadays. Plus, top authorities are creating courses, ebooks, webinars and seminars. Find them and use them.
- Ask: Ask a question on any topic you want and see how many different answers you receive.
- Get the news: Twitter and the blogs are beating out the old school for breaking the news. Follow your favorite sources to learn what’s happening in the world.
- Learn what’s happening around town: Social media is going hyperlocal. Your favorite venues are online. Show them your support.
- See what your friends are up to: Social media allows us to connect with our old friends. That guy you had a crush on when you were 8 years old? Follow him. The friends from the block? Follow them. Your old college roomate? She’s online too.
- Make new friends: Connecting with old friends is fun, but don’t forget to make new friends via the social networks, forums, blogs and microblogs.
- Receive movie recommendations: Want to take in a flick or rent a DVD? Ask online and you’ll receive hundreds of recommendations.
- Receive book recommendations: Ditto books. Your online friends are certain to have favorites to discuss.
- Share recipes: Don’t know what to make for dinner tonight? Missing an ingredient and don’t feel like running to the store? Ask your Twitter and Facebook friends and prepare to be dazzled by your choices.
- Collaborate on ideas: Ask your trusted online friends to work on projects and build off each others’ strong points.
- Interact with famous people: Where else can you chat with Ashton Kutcher or Yoko Ono. OK, so not everyone answers back, but some do.
- Crowdsource: If you’re looking for information for a blog post or article, consider asking your Twitter and Facebook follwers. You’ll get a variety of responses and learn more than you thought possible. You might even find some excellent interview sources.
- Sell: If you have something to sell, online is the place to do it. Take advantage of all your social media tools to maximize your profit.
- Learn about the latest apps: Before loading up the latest apps, find out from your online friend whether they’re worth the download.
- Commiserate: There are plenty of people online who feel the same way as you. Find them and talk it out. You’ll feel much better later.
- Create events: If you have a book signing, band gig, speaking engagement or any other event, check out on of the many online event promotion tools and websites.
- Play games: Farmville, Mafia Wars. Scrabble. Yeah some of us don’t like having cows sent to us all the time, but the games are there for those who wish to enjoy them.
- Create and share videos: Upload a killer how to and show off your expertise.
- Share images: You no longer need to have a photography studio set up to share images online. Use Flickr or another social imaging network to share and discuss.
- Create a viral campaign: If someone you know wrote something brilliant, help to make it go viral but giving it Stumbles, Diggs and Tweets.
- Build your brand: Whether your brand is your name or your business name, there’s no better time than now than to grow your online presence. Create awareness through blogging and the social networks.
- Share an opposing point of view: Don’t be afraid to disagree, even if you’re the lone opposing point of view. Help to show all sides of the story with your own well thought out comments.
- Speak your mind: To expand on the above, don’t be afraid to say how you feel about anything, whether it’s on a blog post, forum, or comment in a social networking group. Keep it respectful, but share your voice.
- Help someone: There are so many ways you can help others out via social media. Reach out to a charity or respond to the person seeking job advice. Buy something from a brand new online entrepreneur or just offer motivation and encouragement to those who need it. Positivity rocks and it’s infectious.
- Raise awareness: Want to save the whales or help to find a cure? Leverage your online networks and do something good today.
- Have a contest: If you wrote a book, give some copies away. Or drive traffic to your blog by having a contest. With so many ways to promote your stuff online, it’s a win win situation.
- Find a solution: Sure you can complain every day about life’s little irritations, but why not try to find a solution instead? Griping only gets you so far.
- Reach out to brands: Reach out to another brand to discuss sponsorships, products, or to offer a compliment or suggestion.
- Resolve issues: Something bothering you? Talk about it online. Having a problem with something out of your realm of expertise? One of your online friends is sure to have the answer – or know someone who can help.
- Get political: Many of your local candidates are online now. Reach out to discuss the issues or help with a campaign. You don’t even have to leave the house to get involved.
- Find out where to buy stuff: If you’re looking for a rare breed of mushroom or special kids’ toy, someone online will be able to help you find where to buy it.
- Find out where NOT to buy stuff: Your online friends will also discuss their negative buying experiences, file them away for future reference.
- Discuss the weather: Talk about what it’s doing locally or learn what to pack on your vacation.
- Arrange a meetup: Wouldn’t it be nice to have a face to face meeting with some of the people you chat with online each day?
- Find clients: Everyone you meet online is a potential client. Learn who is hiring or who many be hiring and get to know them.
- Find workers: There are plenty of people looking for work right now. Don’t just post your job to Craigslist. Reach out to the job blogs and use Twitter to drop links to the good gigs.
- Offer to guest post: A terrific way to build up your online presence is to guest post on another blogger’s blog. Reach out to them and see how you can work together.
- Start your own social network: Oh yes, you can start your own social network and it doesn’t have to cost a dime. Try .Ning or Buddy Press and cultivate your own community.
- Help someone get started: Brand new freelancers log in to the social networks each day. Help them out by answering their questions. It’ll make you feel good.
- Learn something new: From deep facts to trivial pursuits, information is shared every day via blogs, social networks, videos and more. Take some time each day to learn something new.
- Raise funds: Help a sick friend or donate to charity. There are plenty of widgets available and all it will cost is a little bit of time.
- Find a job: Whether you’re using Twitter Job Search, Linked In or one of the jobs blogs, today’s job seekers have more options than ever. We’re no longer married to our newspaper classifieds, and, thanks to a global marketplace and a telecommuting setup, we don’t even have to leave our homes to work.
- Host a webinar: Who says you have to speak at a major conference? Host an online seminar of your own. There are plenty of options available for different price ranges. Webinars are a terrific way to establish your expertise and build your client base.
- Launch: Use your social media tools to launch a product or service. Again, most tools are free. If you have a large network and your network has a large network, the opportunities are endless.
- Participate in a meme: Not everything has to be work-related. Participate in a blog or Twitter meme or start your own.
- Earn revenue: Blogs, sponsored Tweets, webinars, online courses, and membership forums are just some of the ways you can use social media to profit.
- Learn about new places and spaces: Want to go somewhere? Whether it’s local or off the beaten track your social networking friends will have recommendations.
- Become an expert: Exploit your passion and become an online expert by starting a blog, writing an ebook or sharing your information online.
- Host your own radio show: Podcasting is a terrific way to promote yourself as an expert and build a community. Either host your own podcast or take advantage of one of the online radio communities.
- Give comfort: Reach out to someone in need and offer a shoulder to cry on or words of encouragement.
- Find a place to live: Not only is your Realtor online, but she probably has a blog or website and a Twitter account.
- Publish: Aspiring writers have no excuse not to become a published author, at least online. Thanks to blogs, self publishing and ebooks, there are many ways to share.
- Share music: Pandora, Blip.fm, and even YouTube allow us to share music with our online friends.
- Build trust: While you were doing the above – whether sharing music or reaching out to someone on one of the social networks -you were interacting online. As you interact with the same people (and new people) over time, they begin to trust you. You’re invited into their inner circles. They help to promote your stuff, and vice versa. They’ll remember you when they need to hire someone. That guy you’re playing Facebook Scrabble with may only be a social friend now, but one day he many be in need of a freelancer. Who do you think he’d rather call, the person he talks to everyday online, or a stranger who sends in a cookie cutter cover letter from a Craigslist ad?
Is there anything in the above list you’d like to discuss or learn more about? Talk to us in the coments.
How do you use social media?