Day 22: Twitter for Freelancers

Montreal Twestival 2009 Cupcakes

This is Day 22 of 31 Days to Start a Freelancing Business (or Make Yours a Better One). If you want to catch up, click here to read Day 1.

After joining some networks yesterday, today we’re looking into another form of networking. Social networking is exploding and it can be profitable for everybody involved, including freelancers.

If you’ve been following me at all, you know I’m quite active on Twitter. So today we’re exploring Twitter as a way of marketing your freelancing services. I am, of course, assuming that your target clients are active Twitter users. (Don’t know what Twitter is? Scroll down to “Further Readings” below.)

But if they’re more active in Facebook, or LinkedIn, or other social networking site, then you should be active over there. (More on that later).

Personally, I didn’t start using Twitter to attract clients. I just did it for fun. So my Twitter following is a mish-mash of my various interests and networks, from WAHMs to breastfeeding advocates, to Internet marketers, and everything else.

And yet, I have attracted prospects from Twitter, even though I’m not using it to actively market my services. I know a few freelancers who find clients on Twitter as well. But don’t be like me. Use Twitter purposefully. You’ll get better results.

Tweet! Tweet!

If you don’t have a Twitter account yet, go ahead and create one. It’s free, it’s easy and it’s fast. A couple of things to remember:

  • Choose your user name carefully. Twitter lets you change this very easily, but it’s still better to use the one you can stick with from the start. If you have a company name or brand, then use that. Otherwise, use your own name. But keep it short. Having a long name will make it difficult for other Twitter users to retweet your messages. We only get 140 characters, after all.
  • Choose your avatar well. It should be your face, smiling pleasantly. Obviously, you don’t want to use an image that does not show you as anything but professional, credible and likable. If you’re on several social networking sites, it’s a good idea to use the same avatar in all sites so that you’re easily recognizable.
  • Write your profile thoughtfully. Your Twitter profile is also very short. Put the right keywords in there so your prospects can find you if they’re searching for specific terms.
  • Put a link to your professional website. Told you your site will be your central hub, or home on the Internet. If you’ve read my ebook, “The Savvy Freelancer’s Website Secrets: How to Create a Client Magnet Online,” you know how to create a landing page specifically for Twitter. For now, suffice it to say that your site should be enticing so that your prospects will choose to follow you on Twitter.

What’s Your Twitter Strategy

If you’re going to be using Twitter for marketing (as opposed to using it purely for fun or socializing), then you’ll need a Twitter strategy.

Specifically:

  • Choose whom to follow. Don’t auto-follow anybody who follows you. Follow people you want to learn from. Follow people who are influential to your target clients. Follow your target clients (or those who fit your target client’s profile) and follow them. Follow the people they follow.
  • What to tweet. You want to share your expertise, so share links to useful stuff you find on the Internet. Also remember to interact with other Twitter users. Respond to tweets, retweet interesting ones, participate in #hashtag discussions. Be sociable. It’s “social” networking, after all!
  • How much time to devote to Twitter. A lot of people criticize Twitter for being a time suck, but it’s really a matter of self-discipline. You can do a lot of Twitter in 5 or 10 minutes. Set a timer for 10 minutes to devote to Twitter two or three times a day.

Twitter Tools

There are plenty of them out there, but here are a few Twitter tools I use to make the most of Twitter:

Tweetdeck

This application lets you see several streams at the same time by organizing them into columns. For example, one column shows all the tweets from everyone you’re following, another is for messages who are directed to you, another one shows your direct messages. And then you can create additional columns to track specific keywords. Tweetdeck also allows you to post the same update on your Facebook account as well. Really nifty.

Tweetlater (now Socialoomph)

This is what I use to schedule Tweets. So you get a Twitter presence even if you’re not actually there. Also great for reaching your followers who are awake when you’re in bed.

Echofon

This is the iPhone app for Twitter, which also works on the iPod Touch. Echofon lets you read and send tweets, as well as search for tweets with your selected keywords or phrase.

By having a strategy and using the right tools, you’ll maximize the results you get from Twitter without spending a lot of time or energy.

Further Readings:

1. Twitter for Freelancers (A Basic Overview) – Read this if you’re new to Twitter.

2. 8 Ways that Twitter Can Grow Your Freelance Business – Read about how Twitter can be good for freelancers.

3. 5 Reasons Freelancers Can’t Ignore Twitter - More on how freelancers can benefit from Twitter.

4. 5 Simple Steps to Rock Social Media – If your target clients are on Facebook or another social networking site, the tips in this post apply to all.

How about you – how is Twitter helping your freelancing business? What tools do you use? Do share by posting a comment below.

Lexi

PS: If you’d like to follow me on Twitter, I’m @lexirodrigo.

Creative Commons License photo credit: clevercupcakes

3 Responses to Day 22: Twitter for Freelancers
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  2. [...] 3. Day 22: Twitter for Freelancers [...]

  3. Cosmin Lupu
    November 11, 2010 | 5:47 pm

    I will always prefer Facebook over twitter. It’s more natural to have an online presence on Facebook rather than Twitter.
    Cosmin Lupu´s last blog post ..Freelancing FAQ

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