Imagine this, you open up Facebook and find a message from a prospect asking for your help with a project. You open up LinkedIn and find another message from someone wanting to discuss your services.
Later, you log back into Facebook and see a post from a local businessperson asking for SEO copywriting help and 6 out of the 8 responses are other people recommending you. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
It’s happened to me and it can happen to you, too.
Social media is one of the best and easiest ways to research potential clients and start the relationship-building process that can land you the assignments you want.
Because ultimately, whether you receive a project or not, getting work is all about two things: relationships and perception.
That’s where social media comes in.
You can use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other networks to showcase your knowledge and connect with others.
Here are 3 Ways You Can Use Social Media to Land a Client
1) Connect with people.
When you meet people at an event and they give you their business card, follow up with a request to connect via LinkedIn. Or, if it’s a more personal connection, via Facebook.
Send a message reminding them of where you met and why you’d like to connect. If they’re on LinkedIn, review their profile. Do they work for an organization that might hire freelancers? Who else do they know? What groups are they in?
Don’t try to sell yourself yet. At this point, you’re just gleaning information. To keep track, you can use a spreadsheet set up like this one:
|Name of Contact||Company||“Touches” — email exchanges, comments on LinkedIn posts, etc.||Result|
Scan your LinkedIn newsfeed at least once a day and look for their name in it, “Like,” comment, or share their postings. Send them articles of interest occasionally.
So few people do this. When you do it, you’ll definitely be noticed. LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to start building a relationship from the comfort of your home.
2) Join relevant and active groups on LinkedIn.
Review a dozen or so groups and then choose three to four that you plan to stick with. More than that gets unwieldy. For groups to be useful, you have to participate. Effective social media directly relates to the value you give. Schedule 15 minutes, 3 times a week to scan the discussions and comments in the groups you joined. If you have something valuable to add, add it.
Tip: Don’t try to sell here. Be helpful and share value as if you were talking to a friend. The networking group BNI has an expression, “Givers Gain.” Don’t drop in links to your website or contact info at first. You want to be helpful, not spammy.
Once or twice a week, create a new discussion in each of your LinkedIn groups. This can be a question you have, an interesting article you read, or a blog post you wrote (yes, you can post that here).
This shows your willingness to share information and your knowledge. People in the group will reach out to you to connect. If you’ve positioned yourself as an expert, some of those people will want to hire you.
3) Join Facebook groups relevant to your industry and to your town if you do business locally.
My town, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, has a community group page that has become a resource for all things Doylestown. It operates almost like a mini “Angie’s List” with people constantly asking for referrals for painters, doctors, and yes, even SEO copywriters (that’s where my referrals came from). Get to know the moderators of this group page if you do business locally. If the page is successful and active, these moderators will know many people in town.
If local business isn’t part of your marketing mix, you’ll want to concentrate more on the Facebook business pages and on the LinkedIn groups.
It’s All About Relationships
You may have noticed, each of these tactics involves building a relationship. Social media experts Ted Rubin and Kathryn Rose wrote a book called Return on Relationship. The idea is that relationships are the new currency nurtured through social media.
Relationships have always been the cornerstone of business. Since the dawn of business, people have conducted business with — and given referrals to — those they know, like, and trust.
What’s exciting is now you have power that reaches far beyond people in your geographic area. It’s relatively simple to build connections with people globally.
Use social media to target your ideal clients and get to know them. Send them articles of interest periodically, “Like” their posts, make recommendations … After a while, your name will be familiar and when you reach out via an email/phone call or snail mail, they’ll know who you are.
Ultimately, the method for social media success is the same online as off. Be helpful, be pleasant, and be friendly. And, be strategic. Schedule time each day for your social media marketing, be focused in a few groups, and track what’s working and what’s not. By this time next year, you’ll have created a marketing machine that fills your client docket!
What social media successes have you experienced?