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Chapter
2

Take stock of your social media profiles

Before we start using our social media channels to land paying clients, we need to pay attention to the image we’re presenting.

Take a long hard look at your social media profiles and overall online presence

The first thing a potential client is going to do is look you up online. They’re going to look at your social media profiles, your portfolio, and anything else they find online about you.

Exercise: Review your online presence

Search your name in your favorite search engine (search with quotes around your name for the best results).

What comes up with an online search of your name? Take an inventory of the first page of the results. Do you like what you see?

When I Google my name, I see my portfolio which features my services and samples of my work at the top. Below, I see my Twitter and LinkedIn accounts, which I’ve customized to be professional. Through the bottom of the page, I see articles I’ve written for different brands. These results show potential clients exactly who I am. I’ve taken a lot of time to craft an online presence that directs clients to my work and my services. It’s certainly paid off — clients can easily sort through my portfolio, social media accounts, and clips before making the decision to hire me.

On the first page of results, you’ll hopefully see your social media profiles, website, and any news articles you’ve been featured in. If you have published work, it may appear here too.

Think like a client. They are going to click on the link to your LinkedIn. What do they see? They’ll scroll through your Twitter. What do they see?

When you do this for yourself, take screenshots of what you see and put them into a document. Write down what is good, and what needs to be improved. We’re going to use this in a little bit when you give your profiles an upgrade.

Creating a professional online presence will influence your client’s first impression of you. On the flip side, an unprofessional presence may make them second guess working with you.

Clients often post roles on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Slack

You probably already use a few social media channels. Today, we’re going to focus on the most important channels that your target clients use to find freelancers. I use these three most frequently to source opportunities for myself and others, and I think you should too. Let’s examine these social media platforms and why they are important to freelancers like us. 

Of course, if you don’t want to be on all of these platforms, that’s okay! You don’t need to be everywhere at once. Just know that if you opt-out of a platform, you may lose out on access to good opportunities. It’s always worth giving these platforms a shot. At the very least, you need to set up and customize a LinkedIn profile.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a more professional social network, which means it is loaded with freelance opportunities! It’s also a great place to tell your network about the work you’re doing and your professional insights. A couple of secret tips that I recommend are:

  • Follow employees from companies you want to work with so you can see when they’re looking for freelancers. 

  • Search posts from different people to find hidden opportunities.

  • Discover freelance work directly through LinkedIn’s jobs tab. 

Twitter

If you’re looking for work as a writer, editor, or journalist, you should really be on Twitter. I’ve learned a lot about freelancing from other independents on Twitter. Twitter’s often used as a virtual water cooler for journalists and editors, and you’ll often find calls for pitches from editors and publications there. Also, since Twitter is used by many freelancers, it’s a nice place to find community.

Slack communities

Slack’s power is easy to overlook. It’s not just used for work communities anymore, Slack has many professional groups designed for connecting around a common interest. I’ll share more about these later in the playbook. Slack gives you the opportunity to connect with people in more siloed and private communities, so it’s a great place to find meaningful conversations as well as clients looking for your services.

You don’t need to be on every social media network or in every Slack group! That will just lead you down the road to burnout. I’m a member of seven Slack groups — ones that are dedicated to women, writers, remote workers, and freelancers — and I’m more active in some than others. Join as many as you want, and feel free to leave groups if you find they’re not for you.

Use a professional image that is consistent across LinkedIn, Twitter, and Slack

Will using professional images help you land clients? Think of it this way: would you rather hire someone who looks professional, or someone who doesn’t? Your images probably won’t make or break a deal, but they will elevate your brand so you can attract high-level clients.

Choose a professional profile photo

If you have a little cash to spend, hire a local photographer for headshots. Otherwise, take a photo at home with a clean background. Don’t underestimate this step! Research from LinkedIn shows that LinkedIn profiles with professional profile photos make you more likely to be viewed. Add the image to your workbook (aka rejection tracker) so you can find and access it easily.

Create an effective banner image

You’ll use this banner image on both Twitter and LinkedIn. It’s really easy to make a basic one in Canva, but if you’re a photographer or graphic designer, this is the time to let your skills shine! Include clean images, simple color schemes, and maybe even a little about you: like your name, client logos, etc. Add this to your workbook as well.

Show off your experience in your about sections

Never allow your about sections on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Slack to be vacant. You need to craft a professional summary of who you are and what you do that you can use across channels. We are going to dive into this in more depth throughout the rest of the playbook, but important points to keep in mind are.

  • Your summary should include who you are and your services. If you have space they should Include a link to your portfolio (this may be more challenging for Twitter, but is a must for LinkedIn). End this section with a call to action. This could be something simple like “email me at [address] if you want to work together.”

  • In Step 4, we will start off by writing our LinkedIn summary and in Step 5 will distill it into a Twitter bio. You only have 160 characters to work with on Twitter, and you need to make them count. Take both the LinkedIn and Twitter bios to develop a standout Slack introduction.

Here’s my Twitter bio for example:

Recap

  • Reviewed your online presence

  • Joined communities that can help you find clients

  • Wrote an about me that highlights your experience and expertise

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