Using Social Media to Find Freelance Writing Opportunities

You can read hundreds of articles online listing the latest and greatest websites to find freelance writing opportunities. These can be a great client resource pool, but often you will find clients expecting to pay less and expect more. Using social media to find freelance writing opportunities is a great alternative to these sites.

For example, I maintain an up-to-date LinkedIn profile and a Twitter account with over 350 followers, as well as this blog! One example of a client that I have now is Hipmunk. Thanks to my social media presence and passion for travel, I have been writing for their #HipmunkCityLove campaign for a few months, and love every post! To find great opportunities like Hipmunk, here are few social media tactics you need to start using.

Use the Same Professional Headshot

headshot1

You want your headshot to be the same on all your social profiles. This is a branding move so you are instantly recognizable. Don’t use any old photo from a family gathering or a night out. Invest in a professional photographer to take a decent headshot.

Update Your LinkedIn Profile

Via Flickr clasesdeperiodismo

Via Flickr clasesdeperiodismo

Proudly proclaim you are a freelance writer in your title, and summarize your experience and how long you have been a writer in your summary. I recommend putting your contact information and all of your social profiles in the summary section as well.

Complete your work history, but make it more freelance-geared. If you had a past job that influences your freelance career, feel free to put it in. However, I want you to focus on freelancing clients, provided you have not signed a non-disclosure agreement. List the major clients you have worked for and what exactly you did for them. A huge client list on LinkedIn is impre

Get Active on Twitter

Via Flickr by mkhmarketing

Via Flickr by mkhmarketing

LinkedIn is known as the job recruiting social platform, but I have found some of my biggest clients from Twitter. Other clients have been so impressed with my presence on Twitter that they have hired me from it! The key is to be active. Post at least two times a day. Half of your Tweets should be your thoughts or opinions on the freelance industry or a subject you commonly write about. The other half should be a combination of talking to industry professionals and fellow freelance writers, as well as sharing your content. More on that later.

Write to Self-Promote

Via Flickr by danpeerflix

Via Flickr by danpeerflix

Start writing blogs and LinkedIn Pulse articles about the freelance industry, business advice based on your experience, tips for focusing when working from home, work-life balance, or whatever else pertains to the life of a freelancer. Even though you are not getting paid to write these articles, they showcase your knowledge and who you are. Often, you will receive clients based on your posts!

Share Your Publications

Via Flickr Book Work Laser & Design

Via Flickr Book Work Laser & Design

Not only should you share any blogs or LinkedIn Pulse articles you write, but you should also share every publication with your name in the byline. Showing that clients have hired you to write for them is a big recommendation for your services.

Once you know how to master social media, you can get away from those low-paying freelance sites and start finding better clients.

Advertisements

Hashtag Etiquette on Twitter

Hashtags are the keywords of Twitter. They are so effective that other social platforms and digital spaces are implementing them. That being said, there is an absolutely wrong way to use hashtags for a business’ reputation and perception online. The same way Google has SEO guidelines and algorithms to prevent keyword stuffing, your business needs to do a self-check on how you are using hashtags on social.

Via Flickr by  James Mitchell

Via Flickr by James Mitchell

Businesses want their Tweets to be seen, so they often make the mistake of stuffing their posts with as many hashtags (or keywords) as possible. An example:

Buy our product! #product #anothernameforproduct #industry #relatedindustry #relatedindustry #relatedindustry #companyname

Yes, hashtags can be helpful in getting your content exposure. Too many hashtags turns users off. When you hashtag stuff, you become:

  • a spam email
  • a flyer shoved in their fact at an event
  • a blind telemarketing call,
  • a pop-up ad

Fix It Tip: Stick to 1-3 hashtags at most for each Tweet.

Via Flickr by mikecogh

Via Flickr by mikecogh

Alright, you‘ve got it, 1-3 hashtags! You start sending out Tweets that look like this:

Buy our product! #product #industry #companyname

But you don’t see any improvement in engagement or reach. One reason for a lack of engagement in the above example is the hashtag placement. Social is about having a conversation, and sticking hashtags at the end still gives off a distinct advertising feel.

Fix It Tip: Place hashtags naturally into the conversation, such as:

Buy our #product – it improves #industry. #companyname

As you may have noticed in that example, it is okay to put a hashtag at the end of a Tweet as a statement point. But the majority of hashtags should be placed naturally in the Tweet.

Via Flickr by mikecogh

Via Flickr by mikecogh

Let’s keep improving the Tweet! Even with the fix it tip, the Tweet is still obviously advertising because of its wording. Here is a real life of example of what you are doing when you directly ask people to buy stuff on social. Two friends are talking in a coffee shop and you interrupt them to show off your superamazingawesomelifechanging product. The friends will be annoyed and will never buy from you. Multiply that example by millions and that is what you are doing on social when you directly advertise.

Fix It Tip: Inject some empathy into that Tweet! Instead of using hashtags as keywords to gain customers, think of them as tools to help the customer find the product they need to make their life easier. An example:

This #industrytask makes your life difficult. Try #product to get back to easy work and easier living. #companyname

You may have noticed the trending hashtags on Twitter. You know they are popular and want to use them to get exposure. DiGiorno Pizza thought the same with their Tweet.

digiorno-pizza

Here is the problem – the #WhyIStayed campaign was about domestic violence and having real women explain why they stayed in abusive relationships.

pizzafail

Fix It Tip: Always. Research. Hashtags. This is a good example of why you need to. The trending hashtags are a conversation. You can’t jump in without knowing what it’s about. Another real life example – let’s say you are at a party and you overhear someone talking about peanuts. Excited, you jump into their conversation, raving about this awesome peanut-centric recipe you have, only to find out they were talking about how one person’s cousin just died from a peanut allergy. Not only is that immensely awkward, but you became “that guy.” Don’t do it on social! DiGiorno Pizza feels so awkward about their fail that they haven’t been on Twitter since (which is a whole other social media mistake, but that is for a different post entirely).

It is a good idea to research any hashtag you want to use. Find out:

  • what it actually means
  • who is using it
  • how are they using it
  • how often it is being used
Via Flickr by cogdogblog

Via Flickr by cogdogblog

Lastly, I will tackle the Shakespearean question: To use or not to use branded hashtags? A simple branded hashtag you put at the end of every Tweet (ie: #companyname) is a good idea. You can even have branded hashtags for campaigns or special things your brand does that sets you apart from the competition. Just don’t use all of them all the time.

Bonus Hashtag Tips: Since hashtags are on multiple platforms, you may be wondering, “How in the world do I use them everywhere else?” Here is a quick cheat sheet:

Via Flickr by clasesdeperismo

Via Flickr by clasesdeperismo

  • Facebook: I don’t believe you should use them at all, but that is a personal choice. If you want to use hashtags on Facebook, I would stick to one at the end of a post.
  • Instagram: More hashtags are okay on Instagram. Try 3-5 in a post and make them more personal and less trendy. Hashtags are a way of conversing on Instagram rather than to find images.
  • Pinterest: Preferably, hover around 2-4 per post. Often Pinterest users don’t care about hashtag content in a post, they just want the information on the Pin. If you want to use more you can, but I stand by the fact that keyword stuffing on any platform makes your brand look scammy and unprofessional.
  • Tumblr: Use as many hashtags as you want since they are nondescript. However, your brand will win the favor of the difficult Tumblr audience if you research the crap out of popular Tumblr hashtags to understand the platform’s unique conversation.
  • Google+: Since not everyone uses Google+ for audience expansion, there is not much etiquette on hashtags (besides keyword stuffing). Stick to 2-4 hashtags, either throughout the post or at the end.
  • LinkedIn: No hashtags on LinkedIn. Come on, people, LinkedIn is a classy professional place. Using hashtags is the equivalent of wearing sweatpants to a merger meeting.

Is Twitter a Better Job Tool than LinkedIn?

Everyone knows LinkedIn is the social media king when it comes to job search, candidate search, and promoting a company or business. But I learned something recently that shocked my knowledge and made me question my social media industry knowledge – Twitter might be a more effective job tool.

Via Pixabay by Nemo

Via Pixabay by Nemo

Some background: A couple of months ago I received a mysterious email from a local startup, asking if I could come in for an interview. I spoke with the woman on the phone, came to their office for an interview, and have been working with them as a brand consultant and social media manager ever since.

I assumed when I was headhunted that the startup found me on LinkedIn. After all, I just started publishing on the platform and it is THE career networking site. I was surprised to find out a few weeks later that she actually found me via Twitter. Amazed, I asked what she did. The startup searched for social media in combination with my area – Kansas City, MO. I was one of the names that came up and my Twitter profile and messaging was the most appealing to her out of all the candidates.

Not only did this interaction make me extremely proud of my profile engagement, but it also opened my eyes as a social media manager. Companies who go digital head straight to LinkedIn to create a company page, get their employees on the site, and headhunt for new opportunities. Individuals who want to network for career advancement and are actively looking for job opportunities get on LinkedIn, customize their profile, and start applying to job openings.

Via Pixabay by tiffanytlcbm

Via Pixabay by tiffanytlcbm

Here is the problem – LinkedIn is so business professional that it is stuffy. There is an unspoken code of ethics, as if the users are constantly in their job interview mode (you know, that mode you get in when you are great at everything and can adapt to whatever the job interviewer wants). LinkedIn is flooded with people vying for positions and trying to B2B market effectively. It can be hard to sort through the noise to find people, especially since LinkedIn’s search function and strange connection rules make it hard to reach people.

Yet Twitter is the opposite. Even if people are looking for job opportunities, they go on Twitter to share industry knowledge, talk about their real lives, and communicate with others in similar professions. Twitter users are more real. They are not actively trying to find jobs on the platform, but do hope someone loves their content enough to follow them.

That means Twitter users are on their A-game to be the best selves they can be. This is different from the fake job interview-self that is the greatest at everything. Twitter users vent when they are frustrated, brag when they overcome challenges, and share personal photos and stories of their life. If you want to get to the heart of who someone is – go to Twitter.

Via Pixabay by Unsplash

Via Pixabay by Unsplash

That is what the startup I joined decided to do. Without even realizing I was being headhunted, I was appealing enough for that company that they considered me the perfect fit and solution to their problems. On LinkedIn, I am too focused on bragging about myself to do much else.

Remember this when you get on social media. People can find you anywhere online. Reserving one part of your personality for LinkedIn while putting another side on Twitter does not separate the two versions of yourself. Whatever you put online reveals who you are. This same rule goes for brands. People can easily find you on multiple platforms and will compare that messaging you send out. Even though each platform has a slightly different audience and messaging construction, you cannot treat them as separate worlds that will never touch. Be authentic on every platform and you will see your goals achieved.

How to Choose the Best Social Media Platforms for Your Business

So you realize that you need to be social. But where do you start?

It can be overwhelming. There are numerous platforms and every social media advice website will tell you something different. Here is what it comes down to – you need to evaluate your brand message and your marketing goals and find platforms that match the “persona” of your business.

“But how do I know which platforms match my business?” Luckily, I am here as a social media expert to break it down the main platforms for you.

Via Flickr by marcopako

Via Flickr by marcopako

Facebook. Many say Facebook marketing is as dead as paper marketing, which, if you follow my posts, you know is not the case. It is good to have some Facebook presence no matter what your business is (however retail, restaurants, and local businesses do the best). It’s a numbers game – there are over 1.2 billion active users as of January 2014. You can’t ignore that big of platform. Granted, Facebook’s algorithms make it hard for your messages to reach that platform, but if you do a little bit of research you can greatly use organic reach Facebook to your advantage.

Via Flickr by mkhmarketing

Via Flickr by mkhmarketing

Twitter. With the right hashtags, you can do anything on Twitter. Yet the best businesses on Twitter are the opposite of the best businesses on Facebook. This is because retail, restaurants, and local businesses have a dedicated customer base while other businesses have more casual relationships with the audience. This is where Twitter comes in. Twitter allows you to connect with other businesses, prospective customers, and industry enthusiasts who will promote you for free – as long as you use the right hashtags. I insist the majority of my clients get both a Twitter and Facebook. They are the two powerhouse platforms you can’t ignore.

Via Flickr by Link Humans UK

Via Flickr by Link Humans UK

LinkedIn. LinkedIn is THE platform for B2B marketing. Yet LinkedIn can be tricky. You need to have one employee be the “face” of the company, meaning they create, manage, discuss, and make connections on the company’s behalf. It can be tricky to outsource your LinkedIn marketing. Usually it is best to do in house after researching the best way to use LinkedIn as a connector tool, not as a spam marketing robot.

Via Flickr Zack D. Smith

Via Flickr Zack D. Smith

Google+. I admit, I have a love-hate relationship with Google+. There is a lot to be desired and I don’t see its use as a social media platform – outside of its affiliation with Google. With Google’s search engine rules, having a Google+ page is practically a must. With a Google+ page, you get higher search engine rankings and more credibility in Google’s (AKA – Internet God’s) eyes. If you rely on high search engine rankings for your business, get a Google+ page.

Via Flickr marioanima

Via Flickr marioanima

YouTube. YouTube is more of a supplemental platform for your marketing plan. Only certain brands are good for YouTube. If you have the opportunity to make instructional videos, product reviews/highlights, or “commercials” online with your product or service, then YouTube is a great platform for you. Just make sure your videos are professional and high quality!

alicegop

Pinterest. Pinterest is a great platform if your business is highly visual. If you have high quality product photos or offer services that are eye-catching, get your boards started! The pinning platform is best for craft, home decor, home improvement, wedding, food-related, and retail businesses.

Via Flickr Play Among Friends

Via Flickr Play Among Friends

Instagram. Like Pinterest, Instagram is great for highly visual businesses. The difference in Instagram – you need to be very interactive as well. On Pinterest, you can get away with throwing up content without a whole lot of interaction. On Instagram, you have to be involved. You have to know the best filters, know the hashtags, and know your audience as well as constantly communicating with your audience.

Via Flickr by manoftaste.de

Via Flickr by manoftaste.de

Blog. Bottom line – blogs are important for pretty much every business. Blogs are your opportunity to showcase your knowledge about your industry. The golden rule is to never write an entire blog post as self-promotion. You should always blog to give away “free samples” of information to your audience so they want more.

Originally posted on LinkedIn

Benefits of Paid Advertising for B2B on LinkedIn

Yes, I am writing a post about paying for advertising. I believe that you can go very far organically if you know what you are doing on platforms and have great content. However, I struggle with LinkedIn. I have a client that is B2B and I need to be on LinkedIn for them. But, since working for them is not my only job, my profile is not optimized to promote them. So I have to look for alternative methods, and that means paid advertising.

Via Flickr koka_sexton

Via Flickr koka_sexton

LinkedIn probably has the most benefit for PPC advertising than any other social media platform. You will see a lot of benefit even from minimal ad investment. While it is difficult to understand their ad creation station overall, once you know your way around you can get a lot of bang for your buck.

There are two kinds of advertising on LinkedIn – Cost per Click and impressions per one thousand users. It costs around $2 per unit of measurement on each option. No matter what you option you choose, you are bound to get thousands of impressions in just a few hours.

Via Flickr koka_sexton

Via Flickr koka_sexton

The downfall of paid advertising on LinkedIn is the poor click through rate. Many companies complain that they may get a ton of impressions, but very few clicks when they pay for advertising. There are many studies and analysis online that explains why this is, but personally I believe it is the audience.

Users on LinkedIn are strictly professional. They will only click on links that are worth their time. They are too busy to investigate any link they come across, like on the Twitter and Facebook platforms. This means what you are advertising has to have a lot of worth for your target audience. Advertising can help you get their attention, but your content needs to be outstanding.

Making Content Shareable on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is known as a platform for employees to show off their skills and ambitions in order to get jobs or network. It is also a great way to share conversations about professional topics with nearly two million groups. When using LinkedIn for business marketing, you may not be seeing the results you want out of your shared content. There are a few things you can do to improve your shared content marketing strategy.

Via Flickr Link Humans UK

Via Flickr Link Humans UK

Why your content is not being shared can be contributed to the change in Google’s content standards. They are focusing on quality content. Google has complicated algorithms that search all content on the internet. One of the things they look at is keywords and make sure there is no keyword stuffing in the article. Content also cannot only be optimized for keywords; it needs to be quality. You can make these changes to your LinkedIn content to make it more shareable and Google friendly.

  • Make content industry specific.
    No matter how “boring” your industry is, LinkedIn gives you plenty of opportunities to create great shareable content. Look for groups with your target keywords or that are about your industry. This will help you find passionate people that will tell you your industry is far from boring. They will give you inspiration for great content. You also have the option to curate excellent content. This is how you can quickly and easily make blog posts relevant to the LinkedIn group. There are many tools online that allow you to create streams of content on specific topics and share them in a group.
  • Include photos with calls to action.
    Whenever you share an article on LinkedIn, no matter where, the site will post the image in the article as the preview. This is a perfect place to include a call to action because the reader’s attention is already drawn there. Tell readers to click there to learn more about the specific topic.
  • Share guest posted content.
    It is very easy for LinkedIn to flag your content as spam even if the content is extremely valuable. This is because other businesses have ruined the promotional content game. Some marketers have spammed groups with links back to their website, making moderators in groups very cautious about shared content. To share your content without getting it flagged as spam, focus on sharing guest posted content. Moderators will accept this because a guest poster will not be trying to showcase and advertise your brand throughout the content.
  • Write about LinkedIn.
    LinkedIn is a valuable business tool, but many users feel like they are missing out on all the LinkedIn has to offer. If you take the lead and write content about how to best use LinkedIn, it will be more valuable to users. Writing this kind of content can help your business reach wider audiences, increasing the lead generation potential.

    What is great about this kind of content is it cuts through the clutter and appeals to everyone on LinkedIn. It will engage your target audience and drive them to action. Make your content about specific points on LinkedIn, such as reviews of which groups are the best for certain industries. Not all of your content should be about LinkedIn, but some of it can be a great way to grab attention.

  • Combine your LinkedIn content strategy with your overall marketing strategy.
    In order to make content successful on LinkedIn, it needs to correlate with a big picture marketing strategy. The content needs to help drive traffic, leads, and sales to your website at the end of the day. Allow your content to drive traffic to your website without creating spam.

What kind of content do you love and hate to see on LinkedIn? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @HS_Writing!

How LinkedIn Works for B2B Day and Night – Part 2

B2B marketing can be very effective when businesses understand how different parts of the LinkedIn website work. If you are trying to start a successful B2B marketing plan on LinkedIn, you also need to see how each aspect of the website is used in the day time and at night.

Via Flick clasesdeperiodismo

Via Flick clasesdeperiodismo

Personal Profile: Shows a person’s business credentials.

  • During the day: used to gather insights on prospects
  • During the evening: used to qualify potential candidates

Recommendations: Provides insight on individuals that reflect on an organization.

  • During the day: used to qualify potential business prospects and gather insights about a company.
  • During the evening: used for pursuing additional research on job candidate seekers.

Status Updates: People or businesses post insightful comments.

  • During the day: used to give insight into your organization’s capabilities, goals, and internal culture.
  • During the evening: used to give insight into prospective opening opportunities and qualification needs.

Links: Share useful content to a wide audience.

  • During the day: used as a source of business information to attract connections.
  • During the evening: used to show interest and knowledge of a field.

Question and Answers: Collects input or gives answers to questions related to a certain field.

  • During the day: used to share information to position individuals or organizations as thought leaders.
  • During the evening: used to position yourself as an expert and is a medium to display knowledge.

Groups: Extends the reach and connections of people who are active in groups or who start groups.

  • During the day: used to increase reach and expand knowledge of participants.
  • During the evening: used to expand a circle of contacts.

Company Pages: Shows off an organization.

  • During the day: used to provide evidence to help qualify employees and companies in business interactions.
  • During the evening: used to give background data on an organization.

Advertising: Extends reach with targeted ad.

  • During the day: used to enable organizations to target specific other organizations or individuals based on a range of segmentation options.
  • During the evening: used to target messages to specific types of job candidates with the right skills.

In Part 1, we covered stats of how people use B2B LinkedIn day and night. Don’t forget to check it out! In the meantime, let me know when you usually use LinkedIn for B2B marketing and which part of LinkedIn is most successful for your marketing strategy in the comments or on Twitter @HS_Writing!

How LinkedIn Works for B2B Day and Night – Part 1

LinkedIn is the premier social media platform when it comes to social networking for business. Recently it is becoming more known for its B2B potential by increasing lead generation and qualification. Brands can offer small portions of content that support business objectives. What many businesses do not realize is that B2B operations work a little differently in the day and evening on LinkedIn.

Via Flick clasesdeperiodismo

Via Flick clasesdeperiodismo

LinkedIn is most used during the work and used less on the weekends. This is different from other major social media sites where most activity takes place on the weekend. LinkedIn is a business tool, therefore most stay connected during their week of work and enjoy their weekends off from professional networking.

Views spike on LinkedIn when people take their breaks or lunches at work. The time of day that LinkedIn sees the most use is between noon and three in the afternoon during the week. It is also used when people need information online and have to connect to people for business reasons. Since LinkedIn is often used as a job board, it sees the majority of its use during a work day.

People on LinkedIn have some varying demographics, including being:

  • 58.5% male
  • 41.5% female
  • 35.2% between the ages of 23 and 34
  • 35% between the ages of 35 and 54
  • Most users are college educated, middle to upper class, and have no kids
  • The most popular industries are technical and medical fields
  • The most popular job functions are an entrepreneur, sales, and administrative

In Part 2, we will cover how each aspect of B2B LinkedIn is used day and night. Look for its release next Monday! In the meantime, let me know when you usually use LinkedIn for B2B marketing in the comments or on Twitter @HS_Writing!