Social networks are all different. Gone are the days when everyone was on MySpace or Facebook or Twitter. Social media is now splintering out more into niche areas where there’s a social site for everything. This means we have more social channels to monitor or participate in discussions therein, but it also opens up the possibility to connect to potential buyers in a non-threatening way, so it’s not all bad.
Why Join LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is not your typical social media site. It’s not another Facebook where you share posts, photos, videos, connect with your friends and people who are only just pretending to be your friends.
LinkedIn is a business focused site. Creating a page for yourself allows you to enter your personal details, your work history, previous employment and current occupation.
This is in effect like a personal resume or CV that you are uploading. As buyers with money are looking for good freelancers to work with, they can often be hunting for someone who is local to them or who has worked in the right field for a certain number of years. LinkedIn makes finding that right person a lot easier than it was in the past.
Getting a profile up on the LinkedIn service is essential these days if you want to do well as a freelancer. The profile pages rank well in Google, so if someone searches for you personally, they’ll likely find your profile page up on the first batch of results that the search engine spits out.
Joining LinkedIn Professional Groups
There are now groups that you can join for different interests, industries and types of work. Depending on what field you work in, there are often opportunities to network within a group.
People who have produced work for people in the group before may have a positive rating which other group members can see. This can be the deciding factor for them to get in touch with you or even the deciding factor between choosing between you or someone else who isn’t in the group. People like to work with like-minded people who match the way they think. Group mindset is a powerful motivator.
It’s possible to use LinkedIn to upload some samples of your work. Alternatively, you can link out to your design portfolio or other types of freelance projects that you’ve worked on such as social media marketing.
If you’re in a professional group that’s related to your field or it’s something like a small business group in your area, then it can be easy to get noticed as someone who can provide valuable services at fair prices.
Just be careful not to price yourself too low otherwise members may get the mistaken idea that they’ll receive a discounted (or heavily discounted) price just because you’re in the same group.
Any group is one more marketing channel for your business, not a discount aisle in a supermarket for anyone who can find you. You will want to be clear about that. Professional services at fair prices, should be the goal here.
Linking About Us to LinkedIn
Every web site should have an ‘About Us’ section. Inside this area, you might want to consider linking up your LinkedIn profile as it will relate to business.
Always bear in mind that every personal social media channel can be read by prospective and current clients. This is especially true with Facebook forever changing the privacy settings on their site to the point where private information is no longer considered private at all, and what you put up on the site should be considered public even if it starts out as private.
Just as potential employers often check social media profiles, don’t surprised if a possible new client has been checking out your family photos from your last trip or seeing what’s on your Amazon wishlist.
A Mystery Factor In Decisions
Often it’s a reality that we do not know what exactly helped a new client sign up with us. They may not even know themselves. Sometimes it can just be a combination of factors rather than any one thing.
Having a public web site and a LinkedIn profile as your public face can be useful. It may stick in the potential client’s mind when looking at various freelance options.
Would you rather hire someone with a weird username from a large freelancing site or choose someone with their own web site, excellent samples or portfolio, and a public LinkedIn profile with good, clear information about their history? The faceless freelancer is less likely to get the deal and it’s also more likely that the client will pull out later because they haven’t built up enough confidence in the freelancer before hiring them.
Because of these factors, a profile on a social media site like LinkedIn can be the mystery factor that put things over the top. It can create that extra business connection that someone needs to feel comfortable with you.
A personal site or social site can also help to flesh out that you’re a real person, rather than only a username on a Freelancing site. This can help to create the initial trust needed for a people to take the leap of faith required to hire anyone new.
LinkedIn is not just for the little guy or gal. Oh no. Some corporate executives from the Fortune 500 companies are signed up too. Because of this, it’s sometimes possible to connect with people through their online profile instead of just being one of many sending them a tweet to try to get their attention. It also has the benefit of being a more private and personal way to contact them too. This can help in receiving a response.
Less of a Social Media Time Drain
Unlike using Facebook where you can get sucked into posting news, replying to comments, adding photos and video and using up a lot of work time, LinkedIn has none of those kind of things to drain your day away.
It is possible to use the professional groups to get involved with ongoing discussions about different matters. These professional groups work the same as regular discussion boards or forums; you’re free to get involved or not, as much as you like and your time allows.
For some people, they may find that participating in discussions make group members in the group more aware of them. For others, they ultimately feel that this doesn’t add to the likelihood of pulling in a new client from their time invested in LinkedIn forum discussions. Often the success of this can center around what you discuss and how helpful you are.
Growth & Expanding LinkedIn
This social network continues to grow and evolve. It’s not going anywhere because it now makes its money from its ad network, just like Google does. So time spent setting up a profile on LinkedIn won’t be in vain.
As LinkedIn continues to grow, they are adding new features. Skills and expertise is something that is very useful to highlight. There are also company pages, so if you’re thinking of setting yourself up as a company, then you can have a page that reflects that and no longer looks like a personal page.
It is possible to grow your business as LinkedIn grows in importance over time too. By getting in now, you can ensure that you have the best chance of attracting new clients from as many marketing channels as are open to your business.