Social media is a fascinating facet of modern life. On the personal side of things, it keeps people connected, disseminates information… but, sometimes, also causes conflict.
On the career side of the ledger, social media is often written off as nothing more than a marketing tactic. However, there are actually several unique and powerful uses that, marketer or not, can help to enhance your professional game — especially if you’re a freelancer.
Here are five ways that you can upgrade your efforts in order to enhance your freelance success.
1. Foster Client Relationships
Client relationships are a huge part of the freelancing lifestyle. If you can’t cultivate and maintain relationships with your clientele, you’re going to find it challenging to stay in business.
Social media offers an effective way to socialize with those that you work with, even if you aren’t on-site working by their side. It allows you to interact and discuss topics with them. This includes sharing content and replying to comments, two crucial activities that are part and parcel of a good social media presence. Throughout this process, you naturally learn more about each person that you freelance for.
Social media is commonly brought up as the future of e-commerce, as it adds a level of authenticity and power to a company’s offerings. As a freelancer, use social media to add that extra level of credibility to your own product: yourself.
2. Perfect Your Online Presence
The way that you’re perceived online is a critical factor of modern-day success. This is particularly true for those working in the gig economy, as the constant turnover in clients and the short-term nature of contract work means you’re typically looking for new jobs more often than the average Joe working as a full-time employee.
While you can build your own website and create a killer sign-off for your emails, it’s social media that really allows you to perfect your online presence. Sites like LinkedIn and Facebook provide platforms where you can showcase who you are, what you like, how you think, and even how you look.
Everything from sharing content that you’ve created on Twitter to posting a professional picture of yourself on your LinkedIn profile can help to cultivate how the modern online professional world sees you.
3. Build Awareness of Your Personal Brand
Along with cleaning up your online presence, social media also give you a chance to project that carefully cultivated personal brand out in front of your peers. It gives you the opportunity to discover pre-existing communities within your niche or industry — critically, communities that you can easily gain access to.
As a freelancer, you’re too often on the outside looking in. Social media gives you an open door to enter your industry, interact with others, and let them know that you exist.
As your brand grows in recognition, you can even position yourself to become a nanoinfluencer within your industry. This uses your social media efforts to establish yourself as an authority to your clients. It also acts as a beacon to draw the attention of others who may require your services.
4. Stay Up to Date on Industry Trends
The “club” mentality of many social media sites also allows you to use it as a way to keep up with the latest changes in your industry. By following influencers, bloggers, and companies that you work with, you can use your social media profiles to siphon cutting-edge information directly to your personal news feeds.
While this can feel like a pain in the butt to keep up with at times, it serves a very genuine and valuable purpose. By keeping up on the latest trends in your industry, it enables you to display a sense of calm, cool, and collected authority whenever you interact with clients — and there are few behaviors that are more impressive to an individual looking for a freelancer they can trust.
5. Get New Work
Finally, you can use some social media sites to literally get new work. Platforms like LinkedIn have job adverts that you can visit in order to see what companies are looking for freelancers with your skillset.
If you’re looking for a way to streamline this, you can even set up an email alert that sends batches of applicable jobs directly to your inbox on a daily or a weekly basis.
Using Social Media to Crush It as a Freelancer
In many ways, social media can feel like a professional burden. It’s easier to turn off those notifications and focus on your work.
However, if you can find the time to invest in a genuine social media presence, you can actually gain many benefits out of the deal. From growing your network to establishing your authority, perfecting your personal brand, and ultimately landing new gigs, there are many reasons to upgrade your social media game as a freelancer.
Indiana Lee is a writer and journalist from the Pacific Northwest with a passion for covering workplace issues, social justice, environmental protection, and more. In her off time she enjoys hiking with her two dogs. You can follow her on twitter @indianalee3, or reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org