5 ways social media can help grow your freelance writing business
Social media is a fantastic tool for freelancers. It’s not only a powerful way to grow your business and brand awareness, but also contains a few additional benefits valuable to freelance writers. In this mini-guide, we’re covering five ways social media can help your freelance writing business, social media pitfalls to avoid, and people to follow for inspiration.
1. Become a better writer
Because of social media’s character limits, distilling your content for social posts is a great way to strengthen your writing.
For example, the three most common platforms used by freelancers all limit their character counts:
- Twitter: 280
- LinkedIn: 40,000
- Facebook: 63,206
While at first this may seem like a lot, you have to keep your audience in mind. People scrolling social media rarely take the time to read long, drawn out posts: they want quick and easy-to-absorb knowledge.
2. Showcase your brand
Whether someone is passively scrolling through their feed, the ‘suggested for you’ section, or reading your profile, your bio and content serve as the number one way to catch their attention and draw them in. Whether it's a brief post on why you decided to become a freelance writer, or a piece of content that resonates with the reader, social media is an excellent (and free!) way to get your name out there, and tell people what you and your brand can do for them.
3. Demonstrate expertise
Having a social media page is like having a living portfolio where you can post content you’ve written, spread opinions, and share industry-related posts that may resonate with your client base. By using social media to share your expertise you set yourself apart from those who use it solely as a landing page or contact information resource. While there are no guarantees, having an active profile is a powerful way to engage prospective clients because you’re showing what you can do. Showcase some recent projects you've worked on, or share some resources like articles, templates, or writing podcasts that have helped you build your expertise.
4. It’s a great reputation building and lead generation tool
Social media is also an excellent tool to build your reputation and generate leads. Whether someone you already know is tagging you in a freelance writing job call out, or you’re responding to someone else’s post, social media enables you to meet new people and connect with new leads on a constant basis, as well as on a much larger scale than you would otherwise experience at in-person events. You can even use social listening tools to help you find posts that talk about you, your business, or your industry by filtering for key words and phrases.
5. Create a community
With the changing workplace landscape and the move to higher levels of remote work, building a community has become more important than ever, and social media is a great tool to achieve this. Twitter chats, LinkedIn connections, and private groups are fantastic ways to interact with like-minded people who will not only serve as possible ways to expand your client base, but also support you, and help you grow and improve as a freelancer.
Pitfalls to avoid
While social media brings with it an abundance of opportunity and ways to benefit and grow your business, it’s necessary to keep certain things in mind when building your online presence.
Obsessing over details: If you spend hours fixating on finding the perfect profile pic, you’re robbing yourself of precious time you could be using to write an insightful post about your business.
Going off brand: If you write about math, don’t suddenly go on too many rants about fabric. If it’s part of your personality, you can occasionally touch on other topics, but be careful with this. People follow and engage with you for your specific content, and it should be consistent.
Engaging in thorny topics you don’t know much about: Throughout your career you might have to engage with some tough topics on social media, but always do some of your own research first. By posting too quickly and not critically engaging with any of the material beforehand, you could seriously harm your brand and reputation.
People to follow for inspiration
Check out these folks for examples of a solid twitter feed with good branding and consistent content:
Kat is a freelance writer who tweets about cultivating work-life balance as a freelancer, and how to run your business at its best.
You can follow her @kat_boogaard.
Duane is an ad agency owner and digital nomad who tweets about social issues, workers’ rights, and the importance of never doing your work for free. You can follow him @duanebrown.
Michelle is a freelancer writer and PR consultant who tweets about the importance of effective PR, how to protect yourself against PR scams, and other useful tips for freelancers.
You can follow her @PRisUs.
Don’t let social take over
Social media can do a lot of good for your business. However, it can also be a lot to handle sometimes. While it’s important to build your online presence and grow your business, it’s equally as important to not become obsessed and constantly doom scroll. Just like your banking or invoicing app, use social media as a business tool that serves a specific purpose, and once it’s served that purpose for the day, don’t be afraid to log off. Engage genuinely, then don’t worry about it—it will always be there when you get back.