“It is not enough to do your best; you must know what to do, and
then do your best.”
This famous quote from W. Edwards Deming really hits home when it comes to web writers and social media.
Many new freelancers aren’t sure what to do where social media is concerned… at least when it comes to marketing themselves.
Does this sound like you?
- You want to reach out to a new potential client on LinkedIn, but you chicken out because you don’t quite know how to do that.
- You publish something new on your website and tweet it, but you get no response.
- You attend a live networking event, but you’re too shy to network.
Unfortunately, this is where many new web writers stop. They’ve tried social media once or twice. But they can’t quite figure out what to do that will get them to where they want to be in their freelance career. So, their efforts feel wasted.
If you can relate, don’t worry, you’re not alone. And I think you’ll find as you learn that social media isn’t as difficult as you might think.
There are some simple steps — easy-to-follow dos and don’ts — that will help you make the most out of your social media efforts. These steps will keep you on track and grow your web-writing business steadily over time. The same techniques work for your clients’ social media campaigns, as well.
Dos and Don’ts of Social Media
If you stick to certain social media Dos and Don’ts, you’ll soon feel more confident in what to do next, each step of the way. You’ll build momentum. And good things will start happening for your business.
Social Media Profiles
Let’s start with your social media profile. Whatever network you’re on, your profile is how people get to know you… and what’s important to you. You want to put your best foot forward.
Do make it easy for prospects and customers to find you by crafting profiles that are clear and similar across your different platforms. This helps with branding. It’s more likely someone will find you on a social media platform before they find your website. Create all your profiles carefully and make sure they all give a true representation of you and your brand.
Do look at how your public profile appears to people who find you through a social media button, or search engine. You want to make a good impression.
On LinkedIn, you can find your public profile in the right-hand column. (See screenshot below.) You should also click through to your social media profile from any social media buttons you provide on your website. You will see what your customer sees. Make sure everything is how you want it to appear.
Do pay attention to those who view your profile on LinkedIn. You can find good-paying clients this way. In fact, I have a story about how I leveraged the power of LinkedIn using this technique.
Don’t leave your social media profiles incomplete. Use a professional photo and write a good summary that’s keyword optimized for your niche or specialty. Write about your experience and education related to your niche, not your whole life history.
Most smart phones can take a good-quality picture, but when in doubt turn to a professional. Photo editing can turn a decent photo into one you’ll be proud to share. If you don’t know how to do this, ask a friend or hire a professional.
Don’t let the covered-up summary on LinkedIn discourage you, or make you careless with your content. The new default design hides most of your summary, with a “see more” link. Just make sure the first visible words offer value to entice the reader to continue to read.
Don’t have more than one profile, especially on a professional site like LinkedIn. It’s like living a double-life. It gets hard to juggle. It’s also against LinkedIn’s user agreement, and they could shut you down. Plus, it’s a heck of a lot more work.
Social Media Goals
When you aren’t sure what to do on social media, it’s easy to fall into a shotgun approach. You can avoid this — and give yourself more certainty — by setting clear goals.
Do set a specific and time-sensitive goal.
Of course, if you’re not sure about what you’re doing on social media, you’re probably asking, How do I set a goal? What goal should I set?
No worries. Setting a goal is the very first step to any writing, whether it’s for web content, landing pages, or social media tweets or ads. And just like anything else, you want to set a goal that’s specific, measurable, and time-sensitive. Then from that goal, you want to create a plan.
Here’s an example of what this might look like:
- Step 1: Set goal – get 1,000 new leads by December 31st for new year prelaunch of XYZ. (Once you’ve clarified this is your goal, the next few steps become clear.)
- Step 2: Figure out your audience and create the perfect persona that loves XYZ.
- Step 3: Choose the medium your customers are using. Millennials love Instagram, but Generation Xers are on Facebook. Corporate executives are on LinkedIn.
- Step 4: Write copy that will get the word out to your audience about what you’re doing… share blog posts on Twitter, a sales page to connect with a PPC ad that runs on Facebook, write an article for LinkedIn Pulse… just to give you a few ideas.
- Step 5: Measure and analyze results based on your goal. Did you reach it? If not, why not? Your analysis should tell you.
- Step 6: Tweak, rewrite, repeat until you’ve reached your goal or conclude your project. If you hit your planned deadline before you’ve reached your goal, adjust your strategy and keep going.
Your goal could be anything… To increase your followers. To attract more traffic to your website. To improve engagement with your content. To connect with influencers. It just depends on what will best help your business.
Don’t forget that content and social media must integrate smoothly. Have you ever clicked a social media link only to find that headline you clicked on is unrelated to the topic on the page? That’s so annoying, isn’t it?
Jen Phillips gives some good guidelines for making sure you never leave your readers feeling confused in 3 Ways to Integrate Social Media With Content Marketing.
Social Media and Live Events
Once you get rolling with social media, you’ll find it creates a lot of unexpected opportunities. This is especially true when it comes to live events.
Do share with your social media community what you’re doing at live events. If you read Jen Phillips’ article above, then you understand how important keeping your community engaged is for success.
Your followers have shared interests. Chances are they would love to see your tweets about a keynote speaker in their industry. And it’s good for your reputation, too. Here Michele Peterson shares how to Gain Followers and Exposure by Tweeting at Live Events.
Don’t be afraid to try new ideas. Things are constantly changing on the Internet, and new trends come and go. But it’s an exciting time to be a freelance web writer. Keep your profiles fresh and up-to-date, set goals, analyze your progress to stay on track, and engage your audience through consistent messages. Once you get the hang of those things, you’ll find you always know what to do next.