As freelancers and solopreneurs wanting to make a name for ourselves, it’s tempting to use social media marketing tactics like tweeting to get in front of as many people as possible in a short amount of time. Unfortunately, that’s like going to a party and saying hi to everyone in the room. No one’s going to remember you when that party is over.
There are tons of posts about how to get started and set up with Twitter, but how can freelancers and solopreneurs use Twitter to build their personal brand, create a community, and get more clients?
Twitter has done wonders for me and I know it can help other freelancers. In this post, I’ll share how to build a personal brand, monitor the state of your industry, create a community, and ultimately get more clients using Twitter.
Twitter has 316 million active users, and 500 million Tweets are sent into the world each day.
All in all, Twitter is a great place to build your personal brand and learn what’s happening in the industries you serve.
A few guidelines for freelancers on Twitter:
- Think about the quality of your interactions, rather than the quantity.
- Promote others, rather than yourself. Share their articles and insights, not just yours.
- Prioritize conversations and one-to-one interactions.
- Share content that is relevant to the audience you’re trying to build, whether that is fellow freelancers or prospective clients.
Monitor What’s Going On
Because users are limited by 140 characters, they Tweet a lot. This means you can get a good idea of what’s happening in your industry by searching around on Twitter, which can help you understand how to approach your clients, as well as how to better do your job.
“Approach Twitter as a way to research your audience to better inform your marketing and sales efforts by seeing what your prospects are talking about and not talking about,” says Brian Honigman, CEO of Honigman Media. “Make use of Twitter to understand what’s trending, which can further impact how your business best approaches your audience and potential projects.”
For example, if you specialize in content marketing consulting, like Brian does, you can download Tweetdeck, a free platform that makes it easy to see what’s trending on Twitter. You can create a column called “content marketing” where every post that includes #contentmarketing will appear in your stream. That way, you have a good idea what people are sharing each day.
Promote a Personal Brand
Kaleigh Moore, Founder of Lumen, a boutique copywriting agency, had been using Twitter the same way for about six years, but hadn’t gained many new followers. Kaleigh decided to try a new strategy to build her personal brand.
She decided to focus on quality of Twitter interactions, rather than quantity, believing that longer, more sustained conversations might help her build an audience.
“I set aside about 20 minutes in the morning and the afternoon to interact with people,” says Kaleigh. “I spent this time favoriting, sharing, and giving feedback on what I found. It made me laugh, and I got to give feedback on a couple of people’s projects. I discovered a lot of new material that made me think about things differently. It was the interaction I had been missing from every other social media platform — real conversations with people who shared common ground with me.”
— Kaleigh Moore (@kaleighf) August 13, 2015
But Kaleigh’s strategy did more than make her feel good. Her strategy on Twitter helped build her personal brand: She grew her audience by 117 new followers in two months. The majority of these new followers were real people that Kaleigh had actually interacted with, too — not a bunch of spam accounts. Kaleigh says her Retweets and Favorites also skyrocketed– she’d earned 186 replies (when before, she rarely got replies at all).
Build Community With Person-to-Person Interactions
Don’t broadcast things on Twitter. Instead, interact. Start by finding people who share things you like or who work in similar jobs. Other small business owners make great connections.
“Using Twitter’s internal search, I looked for a few accounts of fellow freelancers, solopreneurs, and people tweeting about the topics important to me — and I followed them,” says Kaleigh. “I made a deliberate effort to search out new interesting people to follow at least twice per week. Not a ton of people — just 5–10.”
Kaleigh then interacted with these people on a person-to-person level. Then, when she did broadcast content and links, that audience was more likely to respond.
Brian Honigman agrees. “Use Twitter to continually support one to one relationships, whether you’re telling a colleague or a client happy birthday or expressing your excitement about a project you’re working on together.”
Use Twitter to Make Friends
Instead of using Twitter to maniacally search for new clients, use the platform to make friends. In turn, these friends will come to you when they, or people they know, need your services.
Every small business owner and freelancer knows that referrals are the best way to get business, so spread some love around on Twitter, and those referrals will come from your new friends and connections.
About the Author: Emma Siemasko is a business writer and content marketing freelancer at Stories by Emma, her own consultancy. She’s also a happy Freshbooks customer. Connect with Emma on Twitter @EmmaFayeS.