If you’ve been following me for a while you know I believe there are no right or wrong ways to use social media, and often complain of “social media police” telling us how we should Tweet or use Facebook, However, that doesn’t mean I don’t believe we shouldn’t use social media to give our careers a boost. There may be no exact rules, but there are certainly tried and true methods for using the social networks and other social media tools to achieve success.
What I like about using online tools for networking and landing clients is how they’re so easy to use. In most cases, all it takes is a user name or email address and password. With that said, I also know plenty of writers who don’t care to use these tools because they either “don’t get it” or they’re uncomfortable exchanging ideas and conversing with others online.
Here are three ways I use social media to bring in clients:
- 1. Engage: I’m not a big fan of elevator pitches mostly because I don’t enjoy being cornered to hear a sales pitch, and I don’t know many others who enjoy this either. However, I also know there are ways of learning who is hiring or may be hiring simply by having conversations online. When you create conversations with your friends and followers they learn what you do. When they have questions about writing or hiring freelancers, you’re the one they come to. Also, by having conversations and learning more about the people in your network, it will create situations where you’ll be able to say, “It looks like you might be in need of a freelance writer. Can we talk offline?” or “I have some thoughts about your situation, can I email?” Conversational marketing can land more clients than job boards or waiting around for someone to contact you.
- 2. Follow: I enjoy finding new people to follow on the social networks, even people I don’t know. There are several types of friends I look for. I find the folks who make me laugh and share interesting links and experiences. I also seek out people who share my same interests, and, also, I follow many writers, bloggers and people who hire writers and bloggers. To me, the key to finding clients and readers for my blogs is to learn where they hang out and interact with them. In addition to following those who you know, follow the people in areas of interest. You never know when they could use a writer.
- 3. Join: To add to the above, join the forums and social networks in the niches and genres that would best boost your career. A mistake many freelance writers make is to ONLY join writing forums and online groups. While this can help, certainly other writers have valuable tips and advice to share, people who hire writers hang out at other places too. If you write about health and wellness, go where people are discussing medical stuff. If you write about green living, visit the environmental communities. If you’re a music writer, hang out at the music blogs and forums. This will serve many difference purposes: you will be conversing with and learning from others, you’re building up your expertise, your name is being associated with certain circles, folks may view your writing, and, finally, you might pique the interest of potential clients within that niche.
What I like about social media is that it isn’t rocket science. The tools are easy enough to use, and unlike methods such as cold calling, you can stick within your comfort zone. In most cases it’s simply chatting with people online and, as the relationships develop, taking them offline or through a different channel of communication to do business.
What are some of the ways you can think of to use social media to boost your client base?