Are you using social media to network? Maintaining a steady stream of freelance employment means maintaining a quality client list, and keeping yourself in the eye of prospective employers. The popularity of social networking has made both of these things easier than ever before. Networking through social media has numerous potential pitfalls, though.
The Do's and Don'ts for Social Networking
Follow these dos and don'ts to keep yourself swinging high above those career-damaging drops, and network like a pro.
Do: Create separate social media accounts for your business
If you're a freelancer, your business is you...but not the same you that goes out with your friends on Friday nights. Create social media accounts exclusively dedicated to your professional self, and use those to do your networking.
Don’t: Let your potential employers see every drunken Instagram selfie
It’s not just your unusual sense of humor or after-work shenanigans that could turn off potential employers. People will notice political or religious opinions that differ from their own, and, whether it should or not, it might affect their hiring decisions. Keep your polarizing opinions and wild nights off your professional accounts.
Do: Post things relevant to your field that will help your followers
Now that you’ve created your separate business accounts, use them to promote yourself as an expert in your field. Provide helpful advice and information that your followers can put to work for them. Show off your projects and accomplishments along side industry information. When it comes time to look for freelance help, they’ll know where to find you.
Don’t: Lead your followers on
“Click bait” may work for some online marketers, but it won’t help kick-start your freelance career. If you post a link called “Getting a Project Done on Time,” it better provide helpful tips on the other side. If it takes your followers to a page that says, “Hire me and I’ll get your project done on time,” you’ll irritate your audience before they get the chance to employ you.
Do: Connect with people
With every freelance job you work, ask employers and fellow team members for their usernames. This way you’ll build a list of like-minded people who already know what you can do, and may think of you when they're looking to build a team for a future project. Create a Twitter list (like this one) to keep track of different groups of people.
Don’t: Follow everyone
As soon as you launch your targeted freelance account, you’ll be hit with those new followers and friend requests from people who are only trying to increase their numbers. It’s generally obvious by the sheer number of people these individuals follow. Who can keep up with the tweets of 5,000 people? Choose quality over quantity to ensure you're building a network that is navigable and offers a high probability of future employment.
Do: Follow companies
Is there a dream company you'd like to work for? Follow them and regularly interact with their posts by commenting, sharing, retweeting, etc. If a position you're qualified for opens up, chances are the social team will know who you are. Don't forget to check for job specific accounts too. Many companies have a specific Twitter handle that only tweets open positions, like @ArtisanJobs.
Don't: Delay getting started
What are you waiting for? The best place to start social networking? Right now on the Artisan Talent LinkedIn and Facebook pages of course! Follow and like!