What comes up when someone Googles your name? Whether you’re a freelancer or employee, 77% of employers (and likely a similar percentage of potential clients) will Google you at some point during the hiring process. While search results are ultimately out of your hands, there’s a lot you can do to influence what shows up. Here’s how to clean up your online presence and market yourself from anywhere.
Get Your Own Website
Instagram, Twitter, and Behance can all function as portfolios, but a freelancer’s website is still the keystone of any online presence. It’s a little piece of digital real estate that makes you look more professional and credible as a business, whether you’re a designer, copywriter, or marketer. We’ll get into social media later, but ultimately, your follower count, interactions, and posted content are all beholden to the fortune and policy whims of the network (remember Vine?). Even if your website is simply the online equivalent of a business card, with contact info, a great bio, and some project links, it’s still the best way to make a statement about yourself.
Sometimes, the hardest part of making a website is picking a good domain name. When in doubt:
- Keep it short (12 characters or less) and easy to spell.
- Use .com by default, but be open to alternatives, as new top-level domains like .pizza, .photography, and .club are becoming more mainstream.
- Use your own name or business name.
Even if you have a website, Google is still the primary way people find you. Whether you’re trying to generate new leads organically or just want to make sure your online presence is well-curated, search for yourself on Google regularly.
- Delete any unused social network or other website accounts that show up on the first page of results.
- If you have a common name or share a name with a famous person, distinguish yourself by adding a vocational description to your name, i.e. John Smith, Studio Photography in Springfield, IL.
- Google uses an algorithm to determine the meta description it puts after the site title in search result listings. If you don’t know what that means, don’t worry—most website builders will allow you to customize “website description” in settings without touching any code. Keep it short and personable—a condensed version of your bio. For example, creative agency Fuzzco's site description reads "We build and extend brand systems and experiences for modern businesses." Looking for something filled with personality? Letterer-author Jessica Hische’s site description is “The portfolio and random thoughts of a crazy cat lady.”
Less is More with Social Media
Regularly posting to multiple social media platforms can be hard to keep up with and disruptive during your workweek. Commit to just one or two social networks you want to prioritize and delete the rest. Better to have one or two consistently updated social media presences than a half dozen sporadic ones.
- Use the same username (but be safe about how you do it) and profile picture to make it easier to recognize you across platforms.
- Try a layered strategy for content—sporadic posts of exciting up-to-the-minute news whenever you want, mixed with a drip of general content once or twice a week. Drip content could take the form of posting inspiring posters for a designer, inspirational quotes for a writer, or software development links for a developer.
- Use a tool like Later or Hootsuite to queue up a few months of drip content in one big batch.
- Choose the social media platforms that make sense for your strengths and your goals. If you’re an experimental Illustrator, your following might not be on LinkedIn. But it might be on TikTok or Instagram. However, if you’re a creative Project Manager, LinkedIn may be perfect for you. Think through the demographics of each platform before you commit to it.
- Consider if you need professional accounts separate from your personal ones. No, we’re not necessarily talking about creating a finsta account. But you may want to consider it if you like to post personal content that doesn’t align with your in-office self.
- Want more? Learn how to Network by Sliding into Someone's DMs.
If marketing yourself isn’t getting you the results you want, Artisan might be the shortcut you’re looking for. We connect great talent with great companies. Reach out and let us know what you’re looking for.