Social Media and the Freelancer
‘Social Media’ – the term that can strike abject apathy into the heart of any (non-creative) freelancer. But what can Social Media really offer the freelancer? Future blogs will assess the merits of individual applications; but for now let’s discuss Social Media as a single entity.
For the sake of brevity, let’s accept that freelancer writers, bloggers and other ‘creatives’ are all over Social Media like a rash. Let’s face it – if writers aren’t utterly proficient in its use then they’re not likely to making much money out of it. Please read on if you’re not, though…
The Appeal of Social Media
Social Media is omnipotent, omnipresent, omnificent and…omnifarious (yes I had to look that one up too). Its appeal is heightened by its ability to give instant feedback – 100 likes; 200 views; 8 favourites … and this let’s us know how great we are in a heartbeat (doesn’t it?).
Although retailers can ‘do business’ on and from Social Media, the appeal to the freelancer is the creation and promotion of a brand – permeating awareness into the sub-conscious of the worldwide audience. If you’re not yet networking on Social Media then you really need to start now – your competitors certainly are.
Benefits of Social Media
As a devout and practicing Yorkshireman it’s biggest appeal is its cost – nowt. That is to say it doesn’t have to cost you a penny – only your time (and we’ll come back to that). Social Media is the provider of a truly global stage – all from the comfort of your own home or office. Done correctly, it will facilitate instant networking and can draw people’s attention to your talents in every corner of the globe.
The very aspects of Social Media that draw us in to its web of awesomeness are also poisoned chalices. Let’s be clear – Social Media is ADDICTIVE – and that’s not including any temptation to grow your farm or city – or match jewels to the accompaniment of horrendous jingles!
Reader beware: it is all too easy to waste time on constantly assessing how well you are performing. Real time data is addictive. Yes, it is prudent to establish what content works best (and where) – but limit the time you take to do this.
Do not, under any circumstances, believe the hype – for example, if your monitoring system tells you 10,000 Twitter users have seen your content; they haven’t. 10,000 people COULD have seen your content – if they were all logged on and took the time to find your post. It is a metric that defines the potential of your tweet. Think about it; I follow nearly 1000 people on Twitter alone – I would spend all 24-hours if I read all of their spewings.
The functionality of Social Media is simply outstanding; but beware of the communications from application operators who will try to convince you that you simply cannot cope without the ‘premium’ version. Very few freelancers will benefit from premium content. Think Yorkshire at all times.
Consider which Social Media application is right for your industry. Undertakers on Facebook? Accountants on Instagram? Well…would you?
Be careful to post only appropriate material on each of your selected platforms. For example – no one on Linked In cares about what you’re eating or how gazebo’d you got last night. Conversely, Facebookers will yawn at the latest article on the properties of granebulous and how it may be used as a replacement scrimshank in future boodle applications.
Engage and interact – be interesting (or at least be of interest).
Top 10 Furious Tips for Social Media
- No one on Twitter can see what you are ‘favouriting’. It is NOT a Facebook ‘like’ – just a private nod of approval or appreciation to the author.
- Check the best times to publish Social Media content – it DOES matter. Think about when your audience will be scanning their ‘phones to alleviate the commuting boredom for example.
- Think before you ‘hit send’. Once it’s out there you have relinquished all control.
- Post data and information that is relevant and appropriate to the medium; using high-resolution graphics and pictures in support.
- NEVER oversell. People will rapidly grow weary if every communication is advertising your wares. For every 10 ‘interesting articles’ you earn the right to post one ‘advert’.
- Actively search for and ‘follow’ both the thought leaders and competitors in your industry.
- Whenever possible, use Social Media to drive visits to your website, do not waste time or money on driving your audience to your social feeds; as this is ‘one-step removed’.
- Use (free) third party applications that allow you to schedule content in advance, create customised searches and lists, and provide weekly reports on performance.
- Share the outpourings of others within your networks – they will reciprocate (it’s a ‘psychology thing’).
- Post regularly (without spamming) – not only does it enhance your SEO, but people will not readily engage with dormant or inactive accounts.
What are your top tips on the use of Social Media? Let everyone know in the comments section below.
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