Guest post by Paul Dunstone
Social networks are often an untapped resource for many freelance writers. With literally millions of potential customers and interested readers constantly active in the social sphere, you can be sure that there is much to be gained by increasing the awareness of your written works and skills across social networks.
The good news is, that with a little bit of clever marketing, freelance writers can easily get their work out there in front of the right types of audiences, greatly boosting the visibility of their work and the chances of growing their client base. By actively and regularly engaging with potential clientele on social networks such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, freelance writers can quickly reach new and targeted audiences, guaranteed to increase their market reach, and improve their portfolio of works.
Before you head to the social networks, make sure you have an online portfolio of work first
Social network marketing is all about driving visitors to a destination, or showcasing something of interest. If you’re a freelance writer, the best way to do this is to provide a collection of your best work in an online portfolio.
The most successful portfolios of work are generally portfolios, which have their own domain name, are well optimized for search engines, and are easy to navigate, visually attractive and make it really easy to contact the portfolio owner. In addition, you should also ensure that your online portfolio has a clear link with the social networks you participate in and the ability to share content via social network sharing buttons. By doing so you’re going to increase the number of people who see you on social networks, and follow you for new and exciting updates.
Utilize LinkedIn Groups
If you’re not familiar with LinkedIn Groups, the concept is quite simple. Users of LinkedIn with a special interest in a particular topic (such as blogging), join groups where they can receive topical updates via regular emails or by visiting the Groups area of LinkedIn. This is an amazing opportunity for freelance writers to reach a targeted audience. Because writers often write about a diverse range of topics, there is literally a LinkedIn group for just about anything. Although each of the groups are moderated, as long as you post quality content which is of interest to group members, you’ll be able to reach thousands of targeted users with your content. Writers who use LinkedIn Groups are often members of numerous groups, so I recommend growing your group membership base as your portfolio grows. However be sure to manage your incoming email frequency, as you can end up with a lot of mail filling your inbox if you’re not careful.
The art of using Twitter hashtags
Twitter hashtags allow users of Twitter to implement extra keyword targeting into their tweets. By researching which hashtags you can either append to the end of a tweet, or include within a tweet as long as it does not affect readability in any way, you can reach an amazingly broad and active range of targeted users on Twitter. The key to successfully marketing on Twitter using hashtags, is to do your research and go niche. Tools such as hashtag.org allow you to gain data on how popular a particular hashtag is, whilst sites such as hashtagify.me can generate some amazing visual representations of related hashtags to core topics so you can really dig down to hashtags which allow you to reacha highly qualified audience. For further assistance with using hashtags, we recently wrote an extensive guide to using hashtags on Twitter via Job Stock.
You shouldn’t forget Facebook either!
Facebook Communities are another great way to interact with other freelance writers and connect with topic area specialists. Communities such as Freelance Writing Jobs have a large following and are constantly posting updates and interesting news which many freelance writers will find relevant. Communities such as this are often very willing to help freelance writers out with advice and guidance, and are happy to engage in open discussion. Although you may think of Facebook as something you generally only use for personal reasons or business marketing via Facebook pages, Facebook Communities really opens up the dialogue between niche professionals who can collectively help each other out with their craft.
Build your social following
Just because you may not be a celebrity, does not mean you can’t build a really engaged social following on sites such as Twitter and Facebook. The key is to build your following over time, with targeted followers, and not to worry about the size of your follower base too much. Focus on providing engaging, regular updates and connecting with relevant subject matter experts of influence in your niche. This can be done by simply following the updates of others in your industry, guest blogging to reach a new audience and including your social credentials in your author profile, or by undertaking a marketing campaign to grow your social following. But remember, always include your social credentials wherever you showcase your works or business profile, and you’ll soon find that you’ll gather some speed and the right kind of audience will be both following and highly engaged with your social updates.
Taking advantage of the many benefits that social networking has to offer is something freelance writers can easily do to benefit their budding writing enterprise. With a little bit of research, some solid branding and regular targeted updates via their core social channels, finding freelance work and boosting the awareness of your work is very easy to do if you become a social authority in your space.
By ensuring you market to both the broader writers social scene and niche topic audiences across social networks, you’ll be able to reach the kind of audiences you’re looking to engage with in real time, and you can interact with those who choose to comment on your social updates as an added bonus. However remember to keep your updates social. Make sure you check your tone, and ensure that you’re not simply “pushing the hard-sell”, and you’ll receive some fantastic support via social media channels.
Paul Dunstone is the founder and CEO of the Job Stock freelance marketplace which offers freelance job opportunities to workers from across the globe. Paul is also the editor of the Job Stock blog which provides various freelancing and small business tips and discussion.