Many freelancers rely on social networking. They often say it has boosted their business, building trust, relationships, and spreading the word about their work.
Freelancers use social media for two main reasons: to connect with colleagues and to promote their business, blog, or product. In every field, there’s a lot of advice. If you search online, you’ll find the same suggestions on many blogs, articles, and ebooks.
Just like there is common blogging and freelancing advice that doesn’t always work, there is also popular social networking advice that sounds good but might not always be effective. I’m not saying this advice is always bad; sometimes, it can be really valuable.
However, not everyone faces the same situations. So, if you’re following the well-known social networking tips below and they aren’t working for you, it might be because they don’t fit your specific situation.
Automate Your Updates
Many social media experts recommend automating some of your updates to appear active all the time. It’s useful if you’re too busy to spend time on your favorite social network.
Try this: Open X (formerly Twitter) and look through your feed. You’ll probably see automated posts from blogs, quotes, and many links shared through services like Buffer.
However, automation can feel impersonal after a while. Imagine you haven’t been on social networks all week. People looking through your posts will only see shared links, quotes, and promotional tweets about your products. They won’t see any real interaction with your followers – and that’s the main problem with automated updates.
Making Automation Work for You
While automated updates can handle a big chunk of your social networking, overdoing it can have negative effects. To avoid sounding robotic, only automate a small part of your updates.
If you blog often, use plugins like Tweet Old Post and set a 4-8 hour interval between post updates. If you’re really busy, schedule some of your updates using a web app like Hootsuite or Buffer. When sharing a link, add your own thoughts to it.
If you know you’ll be away for a few hours, schedule a tweet to let your followers know. People understand you can’t be online all the time. Your followers will appreciate your honesty about not being there instead of trying to trick them with automated updates pretending you’re always active.
Be Active Everywhere
Every time a new social network appears, people rush to join and spend a lot of time there, following the popular advice of being “active on social media!” It’s good to be active, but remember, trying to be everywhere can spread you too thin. As a freelancer with limited time, being active on every social network isn’t practical.
Being active on social media doesn’t mean you need to be on every platform available.
Making Selective Activity Work for You
Certainly, create a profile on each social network. Get your account and a custom URL. But then, focus mainly on the ones most useful for your marketing. Assess your freelance business marketing and pick up to 3 social networks where you can be most successful.
For me, it’s X and LinkedIn. Also, I’m currently exploring Pinterest. It’s good to try out new platforms. Spend some time on your preferred social networks during weekends or after work hours.
This way, you can figure out if they’re beneficial for your business before committing your valuable time to them.
Share, Share and Share!
Being on a social network isn’t very helpful if you’re not sharing content with your followers. However, freelancers often make the mistake of sharing everything they find interesting, even if it’s not related to their professional field.
If your profile is about your freelance business, but you’re frequently posting about bird watching, for example, you’re confusing your audience and giving them the wrong impression. Soon, they might not see you as a reliable source of information and may unfollow or ignore you.
Effective Sharing Strategies
Share content that is relevant to your industry or target audience. If you’re a freelancer aiming to connect with other freelancers and potential clients, then share content that matters to them.
Even better, add your own thoughts to the content you share. Let them know your perspective. The content you share can establish you as a go-to source for information in your freelance field and solidify your reputation as an expert.
Post n Updates Daily
When I started using social networks for my business, I was puzzled about how often to post updates. The common advice was less on Facebook (5-7 times a day) and more on X (15-20 times) throughout the day. Following this, I spaced out my updates, which disrupted my schedule and made it hard to keep track of conversations.
The suggestion to post a specific number of updates is generally good – except when it isn’t. Sounds confusing, right? It was for me too.
Finding Your Own Update Rhythm
The best way to determine the right frequency of updates is by actively using the social network. When my updates were being overlooked, I stopped focusing on the number of updates and started having more conversations. Some days, this meant 100 tweets; other days, just 5. Sometimes, a single Facebook post would spark enough conversation without needing more updates.
It really depends on the type of conversations you’re having and the time you have to dedicate to it.
The beauty of social media and networking is that there are no hard rules. What works for one person may not work for another. Only you can decide what’s effective for you and what feels right. Have you ever followed popular social networking advice that didn’t work for you?