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How to Really Use LinkedIn to Market Your Freelance Business

Today’s #SocialMedia Tip of the Day comes from @FreelanceFolder about how to use LinkedIn to market your freelance business. It was such a great post that I dedicated today’s tip to it! Enjoy.

Should freelancers be using LinkedIn to promote their freelance business?

To answer that question, let’s take a closer look at LinkedIn:

LinkedIn at a Glance

It is the biggest social network of professionals with an estimate 66 million members. According to Quantcast, an average of five million people visit the site every day. Because LinkedIn is for “professionals,” most of its members have had more education and make a much higher income, on average, than those of other social networks.

LinkedIn has the reputation of being used by human resources people, headhunters and recruiters to find suitable candidates for their job openings. Executives from Fortune 500 companies, business owners, and professional service providers also use LinkedIn.

Your Freelancing Biz Could Benefit from LinkedIn

If your Ideal Client fits the profile of the typical LinkedIn user, then obviously it’s a good place for you to connect with, find and be found by them. For example, if you want to work for specific companies, you could find the right people to reach out to by doing a search in LinkedIn.

However, even if your Ideal Clients are hanging out somewhere else, you can still benefit from LinkedIn.

For one thing, LinkedIn could allow you to connect with others who could, in turn, connect you with your Ideal Clients. You could link up with thought leaders and other influential people in your industry, niche, or even geographical location.

At the very least, LinkedIn is good for your web presence. With it, you can build high-quality backlinks to your freelancing site. Your LinkedIn profile is also indexed by Google and will likely be on the first page of search engine results when somebody searches your name.

So You Wanna Use LinkedIn: Here’s How

As with any other tool, LinkedIn will give you results if you know how to use it. Below are some basic strategies for getting started and making the most of LinkedIn’s features to promote your freelance services.

1. Get the Most Out of Your LinkedIn Profile

Your profile is the most important part of marketing on LinkedIn. It shouldn’t read like the typical resume, which is formal and dry.

Instead, strive for a profile that is both compelling to humans and crawlable by search engines. You can accomplish this by doing the following

  • Use a personable photo. One with you smiling directly into the camera is best. Avoid using your company logo or other image. People prefer to connect with other people, so show your face.
  • Craft an interesting and keyword-rich headline. This is the 120-character field following your name. Put your target keywords in there and at the same time hint at what sets you apart from your competitors. Think of your headline as your elevator speech. It will determine whether your profile visitor will continue reading the rest of your profile or not.
  • Maximize your summary. Again, use your target keywords in the summary. However, make sure what you write is interesting to humans first of all. This is where you can go into more detail about what you do, whom you help, and how you help your clients. Strive for something complete and concise.
  • Fill up all other areas of your profile. Fill in the details about your past jobs, education, interests and so on. Even if you don’t think these are relevant to your current freelancing work, these details help other LinkedIn users find you. Other users may also be more inclined to connect with you (and eventually hire you) when they see that you have something in common with them, whether it’s going to the same university or having similar interests.
  • Maximize the website links. LinkedIn allows you to display and link to up to three websites. Use all three links, even if you only have one site. One link could be to your home page, another to your About Page, and still another to an opt-in page or even your services page. This is a good way to build high-quality backlinks to your site. Use your target keywords as your anchor texts when creating links to your web pages.

2. It’s All About Connections

It’s a social network, after all, so after you’ve got your profile up, start connecting!

The easiest way is to import email addresses you already have in your Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail and AOL accounts. You can also find people you already know by searching company names and schools. You can also invite other people by simply entering their email addresses in the “Add Connections” tab.

Eventually, you’ll find that people you’re already networking with on Twitter and Facebook will want to connect with you on LinkedIn as well. Should you? There’s no harm in doing so. In fact, connecting on LinkedIn gives you just one more way to reach them when you have an important message to share. After all, your followers and friends won’t always see your Twitter and Facebook updates.

3. Get Props with Recommendations

One feature you don’t get from Twitter or Facebook is the ability to collect and display recommendations or endorsements from other members of LinkedIn.

This is a powerful feature for freelancers, as it gives social proof of your skills and abilities. LinkedIn displays the number of recommendations you have on your profile, so the more you have, the more impressive it is.

The easiest way to populate the Recommendations section of your profile is to connect with your clients who are already on LinkedIn and ask if they can endorse you. If they have existing testimonials, they’ll be all too willing to use the same one on LinkedIn. It’s much less work for them.

Don’t be timid about approaching former employees and colleagues and asking them for recommendations as well.

Of course, it’s a good idea for you to pay it forward by giving recommendations of people you’ve worked with. Do so without being asked, and you will be richly rewarded.

4. In Summary

LinkedIn is another social media marketing tool you can use to become more easily found on the Internet, create connections that will bring opportunities, and reach your Ideal Clients.

That said, it is yet another social networking site that can potentially eat up your time and drain your energy.

The key is to know what it can do for you, how to use it, and have a strategy. By being clear about who you want to connect with, and setting limits on the amount of time and energy you spend, you can avoid making it a time suck.

So is it necessary for freelancers to be on LinkedIn? Of course not.

At the very least, it doesn’t hurt to have a compelling, keyword-rich profile that links back to your site.

Are You Linked?

Do you have a LinkedIn profile? Have you found clients through LinkedIn? Please share your experience by commenting below.

Image by smi23le

Source: http://freelancefolder.com/how-to-really-use-linkedin-to-market-your-freelance-business/

 

Monday’s #SocialMedia Tip of the Day – Facebook Pages Pt. 2

Today’s social media tip is a continuation of Thursday’s post. Today I’ll focus on maintaining a Facebook Page. Some tips on growing your Facebook presence are:

1.  Set up a personal profile to add as an admin of the Facebook Page. This is so you create a personal touch while maintaining the Page. Reach out to 5 people per week introducing yourself, your business, and Facebook Page. Invite them to your Facebook Page as a natural way to grow the fan base. You’ll not only make new friends, but also gain potential brand advocates.

2.  Post on 1-3 related groups and pages per week introducing yourself. You’ll be able to reach out to more people about your business and network online.

3.  Link to your Twitter profile and other social media profiles. Involver has a really cool Twitter app that you can put on your page for free. You’ll be able to have a Twitter feed without cluttering your wall.

4.  Take advantage of the other free apps from Involver. They have an RSS feed app so you can pull your blog posts into your Page, a YouTube channel, and much more useful apps for your Fan Page. The key is to add value on your page, and these apps sure do the trick!

5.  Put a Facebook Fan Badge on your website. If you’re getting a lot of traffic to your site, why not share the social love and literally invite visitors to your Fan Page?

That’s it for today. As always, if you find this post interesting-share it. Sign up for my RSS feed to the right and leave a comment worth sharing! Follow me on Twitter @jackiej04.

Thursday’s #SocialMedia Tip of the Day – Facebook Pages

I’ve heard this before- “So you have a Facebook Page, now what?” You can do lots of marketing with a Facebook Page, that’s what!

I’ve been using Facebook Pages since they first emerged back in mid-2008. I’ve seen them evolve into the powerhouse they are today-with competition sprawling everywhere. To set you apart from the rest, I’ve put together a couple tips for your new Facebook Page:

  1. When you set up your Facebook Page, make it rich with photos, logos of your company, links to your social sites and website, and information about your brand. Facebook Pages are great for not only building a fanbase, but establishing your brand as an industry leader.
  2. Set up a ‘landing page’ for your Facebook presence. Go into your settings and edit profile -> Manage Permissions -> Default Landing Tab. Choose the tab that is most important to your brand. A good idea is to create a ‘Welcome’ tab introducing your brand and encouraging visitors to become a fan. A great example of using a welcome tab is Coca-Cola:
  3. As you can see, they clearly display where you can find them on other social networks, include promos, and     encourage you to become a fan. Well done, Coke. They also make the experience interactive, though you don’t need to be that fancy if you don’t have the skillset for coding that.
  4. Encourage brand engagement by providing a contest. Dunkin’ Donuts does a fantastic job of including their fans with the ‘fan of the week’. Keep in mind, this might get you many new followers, but they’re only interested in the contest. You’ll have to keep those fans by providing interesting content. Here’s the Dunkin’ Donuts example:

5.  Just like the contest, provide interesting content daily. Switch it up with pictures, articles, blogs, and ask            questions from your fans. This will aid in responses and keep your fans on their toes.

Tomorrow I’ll be talking about PT. 2 of “So You Have a Facebook Page, now what?” Stay tuned!

As always, if you find this post interesting-share it. Sign up for my RSS feed to the right and leave a comment worth sharing! Follow me on Twitter @jackiej04.

Wednesday’s #PR Tip of the Day – AwardSync!

Today’s PR Tip of the Day is a continuation of yesterday’s post, talking about services from Atlanta-based mBlast. Today is all about AwardSync, a FREE service and database on awards programs in every industry.

What’s great about AwardSync is that it gives you an opportunity to enter your clients into awards programs and search for free. You never know what gems you may find-could be a PR opportunity minefield.

Here is what a search for ‘wireless’ looks like:

It’s free and it might just be your next best online friend. Give it a try!

That’s it for today, I’ll be talking about “You’ve Got a Facebook Page, Now What?” on tomorrow’s #socialmedia tip of the day!

As always, if you find this post interesting-share it. Sign up for my RSS feed to the right and leave a comment worth sharing! Follow me on Twitter @jackiej04.

Tuesday’s #PR Tip of the Day!

Today’s tip comes from mBlast, specifically their MediaSync product. MediaSync is a free media database updated with blogs, publications, reporters, and bloggers specific by industry. If only I knew about this service when I was building media lists without pricy Cision or Vocus! The best part of MediaSync is that it’s FREE. Services like this cost a pretty penny, so if you’re interested in taking your internal or client’s PR to the next level, this is a great start.

Here are some specs provided by MediaSync:

  • 100,000 new blog sites and publications
  • 3,000,000 new articles and blog postings
  • Updated search algorithms to improve results
  • Nearly 100,000 editorial calendar items
  • Thousands of new media profiles

Here’s another tip. If you’re not sure which topic to pitch, editorial calendars come in handy. Publications often have their editorial calendar set for the next 90 days or even year, so if you’re searching by publication or topic, you’ll find when you should pitch your story. Here’s an example:

Looks like they still have some updating to do since the deadline is not listed. So far, I’m liking the product and it totally makes PR on a budget easier!

That’s it for today. Tomorrow I’ll review other services from mBlast (can’t you tell I’m smitten about them!).

 

As always, if you find this post interesting-share it. Sign up for my RSS feed to the right and leave a comment worth sharing! Follow me on Twitter @jackiej04.

 

Friday’s PR Tip of the Day

Today’s PR Tip of the Day is brought to you by HARO, or Help a Reporter. As seen in it’s logo, “everyone is an expert at something”. Here’s how it works: Peter Shankman and his team sends you three emails a day with queries from reporters, bloggers, and writers needing sources for their stories. The beauty of HARO is that it’s free. It’s good karma to connect people with the right sources-when they need it most. Queries come from all different subjects: education, lifestyle, entertainment, and travel (among others).

Why am I telling you about HARO? It’s simple. It’s free and it’s a great way to get some PR with light effort. Reporters post their queries and all you have to do is respond with your pitch (on topic, please) and a way to get in touch. If the reporter is interested, he or she will contact you further. I’ve gotten some good placements, like iMedia Connection and QSR Magazine.

Peter Shankman is a genius for doing this. Just don’t abuse his great service and he’ll keep sending you the emails!

That’s it for today. Have a great weekend everyone!

As always, if you like this post – share it. Follow me on Twitter @jackiej04.

Thursday’s Tip of the Day

Today’s tip of the day is inspired by a tweet I recently received. In order to avoid embarassment, I’m going to leave the Twitter handle out. Let’s just say it’s from a dentist and they definitely abused the art of Twitter.

Twitter is for making connections, sharing interesting content, and learning new things…among other uses. It is NOT an outlet to spam others (intentionally or unintentionally). The tweet I received was among 60 of the same tweets that the dentist’s office sent to others. Same exact tweet, sent to 60 different people. It went a little something like this:

@jackiej04 New patient special for adults $99!! Patients with insurance get a free take home whitening kit!! Call us today. (phone number)

There are many things wrong with this tweet blast:

  1. If you’re putting your phone number out there, you might be asking for unsolicited calls. Then again, you could get some potential customers calling. That is, if you’re connecting with your followers and they’re interested in you further. 
  2. Twitter frowns upon sending multiple @ tweets with the exact same content, which can be construed as Spam.
  3. Twitter is not a sales too, but a social tool.
  4. Sending 60 of the same tweet out to 60 potential followers is a waste of time.
  5. If you’re going to start using Twitter for business, have a well drawn out plan with a goal in mind. That way, it will be time well spent!

That being said, my goal was not to put this user on blast and put them down. Rather, I’d like to help so they avoid getting blocked. They apologized and said they were new to Twitter. That’s okay…but they might want to start from the drawing board and delete those tweets.

What do you think? No one likes spam, so it’s better to prevent it before it starts. Share this Twitter 101 for Business Guide to those in need.

Here’s a sneak peek at tomorrow’s tip – how to do PR on a budget…or free!

Follow me on Twitter @jackiej04, or speak up in the comments. If you find this post interesting, share it!

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