So you’ve got a few thousand followers on Twitter and some connections on Google+ or Facebook. Where are the people who want to pay me for doing good work? Well, believe it or not, these potential ‘clients’ are out there using social networks, and they’re willing to pay good money for a job you can do well.
Though winning projects will depend on what jobs are out there, the services you provide and the quality of your work, there are several things you can do, as you go about using social media, to help push the likelihood of winning work in your favour:
1. Add prospects to your social networks
You may have lots of connections on Twitter, but are they really likely to ever be clients of yours, or just friends, or, at worst, indifferent to what you share? The main reason for you not attracting paying clients on social media sites, is because they simply are not in your network.
This owes itself to: a) You aren’t reaching out to or adding them in the first place, and b) You are not sharing updates, content and information that is truly of interest to them, as we talk about next.
2. Create content that is of interest to prospects
This is something that ties in very closely with the previous point because without relevant content to your prospects, people are unlikely to follow you. In the world of social media, those that win, are those who help others, are sources of interesting information and those who care about others.
Think about what it is that people who have the potential of hiring you would be interested in and include it.
In this environment, it’s not how good you are as a designer that gets people’s attention, it’s how valuable an asset to your network you are. Once this has been established, people start to hire you.
3. Maintaining professionalism online
A great deal of people are failing to win any clients or projects online because they simply don’t treat that space with much professionalism. This does not mean being all corporate, traditionalist and boring. Far, far from it.
Those that are winning work and interest on social networks are those people who have mastered the balance of staying professional, whilst maintaining the interest and enthusiasm in their follower’s, all the way along.
This means reducing the amount of junk you share, creating a professional profile, bio and about area, having a decent photo of yourself, being courteous, and so on.
4. Interspersing valuable content with a few references to your own work
Steer clear of sharing constant updates specifically to your own work, portfolio and other promotions online. Maintain a balance of having people interested in you and caring about you in return, whilst also sharing occasional updates to what you are doing professionally (ideally also of interest!). Keep it to a ratio of around 10 percent promotion and 90 percent sharing good, interesting stuff.
You will find that good things come to you, when the majority of what you do, online and offline, is in adding to the success and joy of others. Filling in the gaps with a little self promotion is one of the best strategies.
5. Contact people individually
Reaching out directly to someone who you think you could work with through an ‘@’ mention, email or direct message can be a powerful way of establishing solid contact with them, which could eventually lead to being hired. Find people who you think could genuinely use your services, then come up with a good reason you think you could work with them.
I would not recommend approaching people without having established some form of rapport beforehand. This rapport can of course be built up on social networks themselves!
6. Sharing your portfolio/website at the right moments
When the opportunity arises, such as when someone mentions their own work in a discussion, or when the topic of the kind of work you are in comes up in the comments on a post, you could provide feedback, and share your own work too.
Doing this means the self promotion isn’t quite so blatant as otherwise, and for the most part, will be a welcome addition to the interaction in question.
7. Collaborating with other people
You can use social networks to find other people who could join forces with you in a joint venture, for the purpose of promoting each other’s services and products. People are more likely to take notice when you are promoting someone else’s work, than your own (obviously you will be keen on sharing your own work). As such, joint promotion ventures can be very useful.
For example, you could join up with someone who has a mailing list to swap a mention on each other’s lists. Doing this could open up a whole list of responsive clients in one go. Or you could do a feature of someone on your blog in return for the same from their side, or simply swapping a share (a post, a photo album, a link to work) in Google+, for example.
I’d love to hear any further comments from you, as well as a tweet or share of the article with your friends, which you can do below.