Every startup freelancer faces the same question: How do I get my name out there? It’s easy to find friends, family, and coworkers that need help with odd-job projects from time to time, but how do you go about acquiring serious clients willing to give you serious business? It all relies on two components: your personal brand and your voice. Your personal brand allows prospective clients to see your distinguishable features within the competitive market and your voice gives prospects the ability to seek you out. These two essentials can be watered and grown through the power of social media. Piecing the following social media techniques together will be the beginning to an easy and cohesive way of making yourself known.
Personal Website / Online Portfolio: This seems obvious right? Today’s world is moving in the digital direction faster and faster. While printed portfolios are beautiful, tangible showcases of your work, it is not a universal way to show off your skill. By having a personal website or simply using a free portfolio builder (Check out Carbonmade, www.carbonmade.com), it opens the door to everybody on the internet. This is also a place where you can tie everything together: your work, your contact information, and all your social channels. Every way you choose to make yourself available to prospects on the web can be managed in your portfolio website.
Blog, blog, blog! : Once you’ve established yourself and your work via your personal website, you need to consider the fact that prospective clients will want to know what you’re working on and gain some insight into why you should work for them. Using a blog will allow you to post updates on any projects you have going on and interesting, relative news you find. This will simply generate conversation between you and anybody who stumbles across your blog. Driving traffic to your blog will then drive traffic to your portfolio, so make sure to include a link to your site.
Guest Post: If you have colleagues and buddies that blog frequently, why not ask to guest post on their blog? This will allow you to talk about something you feel comfortable with (your line of work/skill/creativity, etc.) and attract more traffic that may not have existed otherwise. Try taking it to the next level and inquire about guest posting on a popular blog of someone you admire in the industry!
Podcasts – a blog for your ears: Want to switch it up a bit? Try creating a podcast to share. Essentially you do the same thing as blogging (updates, interesting topics, question and answer sessions), but now you are appealing to a new sense and people can get a feel for your personality by listening to your speaking voice. Utilizing a podcast gives insight into your character and professional demeanor. Post your podcast on your site or blog to allow people to ask questions or comment. Always look to start a conversation.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Oh My!: I’m sure you have used some social media channels personally before, but start using them in your freelance career to drive traffic and gain interest. Create a Twitter channel that is specifically for your freelance work and start following companies or individuals that pertain to your field – designers, agencies, magazines, etc. Follow your friends and family too, if they support your endeavors then they just might “@” mention you and boost your own followers. Use a Facebook fan page for your freelancing to gain “Likes” and popularity. This is also a good gathering place for people to discuss your work and ask questions – so make sure to enable wall posts from fans so they can engage in the conversation! LinkedIn will allow you to essentially build a profile that mimics a resume (or you could build a resume using their new resume builder) and show your professional history. This is another great way to network with family, friends, colleagues, and business partners which will, in turn, generate more connections for you to outsiders. A few other social media channels to consider would be Flickr to post photos of works in progress, and Tumblr, a platform that serves as a “creative diary.”
The main thing to remember when beginning your journey into a freelance career and acquiring a personal brand is to stay consistent– use the same tone throughout all your social media channels so people are not confused about the impression you are giving them across multiple platforms. This keeps your brand consistent in the clients’ minds. Engaging prospective clients in conversation throughout those channels, as well as making your presence known is also important. Clients want someone who is able to communicate well and be readily available to answer any questions they may have. This gives a sense of comfort and security, which will give more reason to trust in your work. Start gradually, build consistently, and soon you will find your personal brand and voice fueling your freelance career with the help of social media.