One of the cool things about starting your own freelancing business, is that you get to connect with people from all over the world (if you want to). One of the ways that this tends to happen is via social media.

But, where things can fall flat on their face is when you don’t use social media at all or don’t use it the right way. As a freelancer, you should be cultivating your business relationships via social media platforms, because it will often lead to collaboration opportunities and client leads… but not if you’re not doing this right!

If you really want to grow your freelancing business and get out of your job faster, then you need to figure out where your potential clients are hanging out and where your peers are hanging out, then get active on those platforms.

Easier said than done, right?

I know a lot of people say that social media is time-consuming, and it is, if you don’t know how to spend your time on these platforms effectively. Sure, we all love funny cat videos and grumpy cat meme’s, but if you constantly get sidetracked and distracted while on social media, read on to learn how to be more effective on social media.

How to Use Social Media Effectively in Your Freelancing Business

#1 Use it to Find Ideas

Used the right way, social media can be a great resource for your business. This comes down to ensuring that your following the right people on Twitter and engaging in conversations. The same goes for Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram.

The right people will be different for each of you. Think about the leaders in your niche, that’s a good place to start.

For me, these are the people I follow EVERYWHERE they are hanging out:

Twitter is definitely my go-to news source and Facebook is where I’ll see a lot of ideas for blog post ideas, business ideas and ways to use social media more in my business.

You should also, on a weekly basis, do a search on these platforms for your specific niche or keywords, see what is trending. You can set up Google Alerts to get a weekly email for this as well.

#2 Research

Starting with a Google search, I will often research an idea by seeing what’s going on via social media. More and more, people are utilising these platforms to share their thoughts and ideas.

It’s also a great place to ask questions of the people who are following you. Your friends and followers can often provide further insight into a topic you’re researching, so reaching out to them all via social media is a great way to get some direct feedback.

Sites like Instagram and Pinterest really foster this and my personal favourite, Medium.com, is also a great place to find trending topics and ideas.

Don’t forget to ask questions as you research.

#3 Sharing is Caring

Building meaningful and collaborative relationships with other freelancers is a great way to grow your business. Use social media the right way, and this will happen very quickly.

Share any leads or contacts with your networks,  particularly if they are outside your scope of work or if you just don’t have the time to fit the client in. This is a great karma building practice and one you won’t regret doing.

The only caution I would say here is that you should veto anyone that does reach out to you, which means making sure their work is legit and that they communicate well.

LinkedIn is great for doing this, as well as Twitter. Join groups that foster sharing, particularly on LinkedIn, and watch your business and opportunities grow.

Some LinkedIn groups you might consider joining include:

#4 Find New Clients

Social media is becoming the new ‘water cooler,’ where people chat online. This is why you need to make sure you conduct yourself appropriately, particularly if you want to find new clients via social media.

This means keeping your personal and business related profiles separate… do not add people to your personal Facebook account if you’re very open about what you do on a daily basis, ie, you’re posting compromising images, posts about how you hate this client, or that client etc, etc.

Sometimes, it pays to filter what you share on social media too, so always think before you post!

Social media is a great way to find clients, particularly on platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn. If you’re active on these sites and notice someone asking for help with something you do, then you have the ability to instantly reach out to them and offer your services.

Avoiding the Social Media Time Suck

Now, to avoid the time suck that social media can be, you need to set yourself some rules when engaging with these platforms.

Here’s some to help you get started:

  • Set aside a specific block of time that you're going to spend on each platform. 10 minutes, 3 times per day works well for me.
  • Stay off your personal Facebook profile and only focus on your pages during this time block. If you want to check out your personal stuff, set aside another time block to do this. I only access my personal Facebook stuff on my iPhone, keeping it separate from my business stuff.
  • Don't click on funny cat videos or non-business related stuff during this time block. You're in research and respond mode during this time.
  • Setup tools like Hootsuite or Buffer to manage your own social media posting. Batch these as much as possible, ie every Monday schedule your social media posts for the rest of the week.

These are just a few of the things I’ve implemented. I also don’t have any of these social media platforms open on my laptop, if I’m sitting in front of my laptop I’m in work mode. Having social media open is a massive distraction.

I access social media on my iPad when I’m jumping on to do research and respond to comments etc during my 10 minute blocks. The only time that I’ll access social media on my laptop is when I need to download PDF or research something that requires more than a few browser tabs to be open.

Social media is great for your business, because it allows you to reach out to more people than you could if you weren’t online. It removes the location barrier as well, meaning that the entire world is your potential client pool.

Have you successfully used social media to grow your freelancing business? Share your tips and ideas in the comment section below.

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Lise Cartwright
Lise Cartwright

Founder of Hustle & Groove and your creative business strategist. If you want to get notified of new posts just like the ones you see here, then make sure you join the awesome H & G community — Join Now!

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