Social media can actually help you find clients for your consulting business. But it isn’t easy. Creating compelling content takes time and energy—two resources that are sometimes in short supply for freelancers. If you’re already struggling to juggle it all, marketing your services on social media may land at the bottom of your priorities list. The idea of drafting tweets and Instagram posts in between client work and day-to-day operations can be daunting.
Can perfectly on-brand, quippy, conversion-focused content just… magically appear on my profile? If only.
It’s no wonder many freelancers give up on social media. Most of us work solo or on small teams that require us to wear many hats (or literally every hat). But we only have one brain.
Being efficient, effective, and creative with your social media marketing is no small task.
But the truth is, these days, many of your clients may back channel you on social media or even find you there. Other freelancers are also on social media and on the look-out for people they can refer. Building out your presence can be wildly beneficial to the longevity of your business.
Luckily, there are some simple ways you can build your online presence in a productive and effective way.
Here are my tips for how to do it.
#1: First, find your voice.
Start by honing in on who you are and what you have to offer your audience. Sometimes we take our own knowledge and perspective for granted, forgetting that we didn’t always know what we know. But there are people online who are waiting for your voice and want to learn from you. Start by making a list of the topics you’re an expert on or feel passionately about.
#2: Keep a notebook or document with ideas.
Create a place where you can jot down ideas as they come to you. It can be a spreadsheet, an online document… or a simple notepad. Wherever you choose to log your ideas, just make it a point to come back to this document at least once a week (and whenever inspiration strikes). Over time, you’ll build a repository of potential social posts that you can draw from. And future you will love past you who outlined all these awesome ideas.
#3: Give yourself space to be spontaneous.
In between planning, try to make room for authentic, spur-of-the-moment shares too. Timeliness and relevance are important. If an idea grabs your attention, try running with it and seeing where it takes you. Some of the best content I’ve created came from a flashbulb moment that turned into an entire unplanned thread. Don’t be afraid to just throw it out there, you never know what people are going to grasp onto and love.
#4: Follow other freelancers on social media.
The more you engage online, the more your voice is magnified. Building a community of other freelancers who you chat with and support is one of the best ways to source new opportunities and learn from other folks who know what’s up. So follow, follow, follow and engage, engage, engage. Even doing this for 5 minutes a day can be meaningful. If you need somewhere to start, here’s a list we put together of 28 freelancers to follow on Twitter.
#5: Chime in on relevant topics.
As you dip your toes into the water, start engaging in conversations that relate to what you do. Ask questions. Offer advice. Open the door and see where it leads. Sometimes a single exchange can lead to incredible opportunities, and all it takes is the willingness to speak up.
#6: Be clear about who you are.
Make sure your social media bios give people a clear picture of what you offer. If you have a website, plug it! If you don’t, you can build one—easily. Mylance makes it super easy to launch a consulting website (or “HQ”) that serves as a foundation for your business. Once built, you can share your website URL on social and start driving traffic to generate opportunities.
#7: Make it easy to get in touch.
Answer your DMs. Put your email out there. Actually respond to the contact form submissions from your website. If it’s easy to get in touch, you’re more likely to land a new opportunity.
#8: Follow the people you want to work with.
If there are companies or clients you want to partner with, just start following them. Add them on social media. Engage with their content. Make yourself known. There’s no harm in being proactive.
#9: Don’t be afraid to say hey.
And if you have a dream client that you’d jump at the chance to work with, you can reach out! Sending someone an intro email that sells your value and explains why you’d love working together can go a long way. So if you’re hesitating to hit up that person you’ve been thinking about, why not go for it?
As a former marketing executive, former freelance marketer and now co-founder of Harlow, a budding startup built for freelancers, I’m always looking for ways to do more with less. And I’ve learned over years of building and scaling marketing programs that with a little planning and consistent action, you can make some big waves. When it comes to building a following and generating business through social media, it all starts with a sound strategy and a repeatable system.
Samantha is co-founder of Harlow (meetharlow.com) - an all-in-one freelancer tool to help make managing your business easier. She’s experienced the ups and downs of freelancing first-hand and is passionate about helping freelancers transform their work lives.