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Should Freelancers “Waste” Time on Social Media?

by Laura Spencer

on February 22, 2013

in Freelancing Basics Social Media

Learn how to earn $125 or more per hour as a freelancer - Free Test Drive

“What are you doing? You’re supposed to be working?”

If you freelance and are also active on social media, you may have already heard those very words (or something similar) from a friend or family member.

The truth is that a lot of people (including some freelancers) think that time spent on social media is wasted time. Sometimes they are right, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

In this post, I’ll explain how to make the most of your social media usage so that you aren’t wasting time. If you liked this post, you may also like Social Media Basics for Freelancers.

What You Should Be Doing on Social Media

Personally, I think it’s very important for freelancers to be active on social media. Social media provides a great (and mostly free) way for freelancers to meet potential clients as well as network with others who do the same type of work.

Here are some healthy social media practices for freelancers regardless of the social media tool that they are using:

  • Have a complete profile. Include an image or logo, a few sentences about what you do, and a link back to your freelancing website. Don’t be a mystery.
  • Share relevant content. Relevant content related to your field will always be welcome and will attract others to your freelancing business. Sharing information will also help establish you as an expert.
  • Don’t be an absentee networker. Many freelancers establish social media profiles and then essentially abandon them. Or, they rely on automated tools to do all of their networking.
  • Seek out prospective clients. Don’t wait for a prospective client to add you to their friend list or circle. Reach out to others and add them first. Many will reciprocate.
  • Engage others. Have real conversations through social media. Comment on the material that others are sharing. People will remember these conversations and because of them, remember you.
  • Keep your eyes open. Every now and then, you will see someone share that they need a writer or a designer or a… Don’t be afraid to ask about these possible opportunities.
  • Do limit your time. It can be so easy to spend time on social media, before you know it you may have wasted an entire day. Set a schedule for social media networking and quit at a specific time.

So, now you have some idea about what you should be doing on social media. Are there some things that you should not be doing?

What You Should Not Be Doing on Social Media

Here are some things people do on social media that don’t benefit freelancers. Some of these could actually be harmful to your freelancing business:

  • Playing games. Some social media platforms have built-in games. While playing a social media game can be a fun diversion, it has little value to your freelancing business.
  • Ranting about clients. Social media is NOT the place to air your grievances with your clients. While you may get some sympathy, it may also cause potential clients to back away.
  • Oversharing. Should you break up with your significant other through social media? Do you need to share the details of your latest medical procedure? Probably not.
  • Using questionable language. While some people embrace cuss words as more authentic communication, many others are offended or turned off by them. Be careful about what you say.
  • Not limiting your time. It’s easy to lose track of time while you are on social media, but at some point the returns for your time on social media diminish. Do pay attention to the time.
  • Making it just about you. If everything you share is personal and of no interest to anyone else (except maybe a narrow group of friends), you are wasting your time online as far as promoting your freelancing business goes.
  • Not including your social media links on your blog. You want to make it easy for potential clients to learn everything they can about you so that they want to hire you.

Your Turn

Are you a freelancer who uses social media to market his or her freelancing business? Has your freelancing business benefited from your social media participation?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Learn how to earn $125 or more per hour as a freelancer - Free Test Drive

About Laura Spencer

Laura Spencer is a freelance writer from North Central Texas with over 20 years of professional business writing experience. If you liked this post, then you may also enjoy LauraĆ¢??s blog about her freelance writing experiences, WritingThoughts. Laura is also on Google+.