Twitter’s not the most widely used social network out there, but its presence is undeniable. It’s where world leaders share their views and opinions, where news organizations break stories and where businesses and their most loyal fans connect to share updates and deals.
For freelancers, a Twitter presence can help you grow your digital network and get more freelance work. Currently, around 23 percent of American adults use Twitter in 2021, up from around 21 percent in 2019, according to Pew Research Center. Ad revenue for the network was up 74 percent year-over-year in Q2 of 2021, another sign of Twitter’s growing influence online.
4 Twitter tips for freelancers
Most businesses use Twitter to promote their products and services. According to Statista, in January 2021, 54 percent of B2B marketers and 46 percent of B2C marketers used Twitter to market businesses. Twitter’s a network where freelancers can connect with individuals, small business owners and marketers to promote their talent and get more leads.
Here are four Twitter tips for freelancers that’ll help you grow your career.
1. Create a profile with your career in mind
Some freelancers choose to use one profile for all their Twitter objectives, including both interacting personally on the site and marketing themselves professionally. Others choose to have separate personal and professional profiles.
What you choose is up to you. You might want a single Twitter profile so you can maximize your follower count and show current and potential clients a more well-rounded side of you. Or, you may choose to create a freelance-specific Twitter handle so you can focus all your updates there on work-related posts. You might choose to set your personal profile to private and limit who views it. Whatever you choose, you’ll want to optimize your freelance work profile so it sets you up for success.
Use these tips to get the most out of Twitter:
- Use a profile photo and header photo that you’re proud to represent you professionally. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a professional head shot, or even an actual photo of you. You might choose to feature a logo or another visual representation, but make sure you’re OK with clients seeing it before you add it.
- Add keywords related to your freelance business to your bio. You’ll want to ensure you can get found in search results when potential clients are searching for your talent.
- Feature your website. Make it easy for people on Twitter to contact you by adding your website to your profile. You might also consider adding an email address to your bio if you have space.
- Get verified. If you meet Twitter’s requirements for verification, apply to get verified on the network. When you’re verified, a blue check will be added to your profile name, which signals to other users that Twitter has confirmed your identity and your noteworthiness in the space. Verified account messages are amplified by the Twitter algorithm, so the little blue check can significantly help your messages reach more followers.
Be aware that by putting yourself out there on Twitter, any public profile messages can be seen by anyone. Carefully consider what you tweet and retweet and make sure you’re OK with current and potential clients seeing your content.
Like with any social network you have a presence on, you may want to limit engaging with controversial topics like politics, religion, etc. As a freelancer, you are your own personal brand. While showing off your personality can benefit you in your freelancing career, you also may want to take care not to offend others online.
2. Follow accounts you’re interested in
Who are your dream freelance clients? One benefit of Twitter is that it enables everyday users to directly connect with brands they’re a fan of. These include celebrities, sports teams, entertainment and media brands, and Fortune 500 companies.
As you follow users on Twitter, use the Twitter lists feature to segment accounts you’re following. You can bucket accounts into lists like Businesses, Journalists, Industries, Favorite Accounts, etc. and then scroll through tweets on each list to see curated feeds. You can make your lists private, or make them public for other users to access.
Public Twitter lists can benefit you as a content creator when they help others. For example, if you’re a graphic designer, you might create public lists like Best Branding, Graphic Designers to Follow and Conferences to Check Out. Your followers can then see your lists and may come to trust you as an expert in the space.
If you follow hundreds of accounts or more on Twitter, it can be difficult to find the updates you really want to see. Twitter lists are helpful because they enable you to stay organized and focused when you use the network. You can build Twitter lists to stay up-to-date on news from accounts that are important to you, as well as use them to retweet content you think would benefit your own followers.
3. Get to know your followers
Social networks are all about being, well, social. And when you’re using them to get more work, you should focus on building relationships so you stay at top of mind for opportunities.
When someone follows you on Twitter, you’ll be able to send them a direct message. Pay attention to who’s following you. Maybe it’s an account you followed first. Or, it’s someone who thought you were worthy of following.
It’s important to check out each follower you have and take specific steps with each new follow. Use these Twitter tips for freelancers to get to know your followers:
- Decide if you’re OK with them following you. If the account is offensive, you may want to block them so they don’t show up on your profile at all.
- See what they’re about. If they’re a verified individual, they’re social media-savvy and have potential influence on Twitter. Read the account’s bio. Are they in your local area? Where do they work? If the account is a business, you might check out their website to learn more about their organization.
- Add them to a list, if appropriate. If the account matches one of your Twitter lists and is worth paying more attention to, add them to the list. They’ll receive a notification you did, which could be a step toward building a stronger relationship. The content of their account may inspire you to create a whole new Twitter list, as well.
- Follow them back if you want. If you weren’t following them first, you may choose to follow the account back. Be aware that some Twitter users may view a follow of an account as an endorsement. That’s why you should scroll through a Twitter feed to get a good idea of the content a user posts before you decide you’re OK with following them.
- Send them a message, if relevant. If you were the first one to follow the account that is now following you, now’s a great time to introduce yourself and send them a message. You can do this via direct message to have a private conversation, or tag the account by Tweeting them a hello and thank you for following. If the account is someone you’d like as a potential client, a direct message is the way to go. Explain why you followed them and why you’re grateful they followed you back. Explain what you do. Provide a professional email address or phone number if they want to continue to the conversation.
If someone follows you, and you’re OK with them following you but don’t want to follow them back at the moment, you can still tweet them or message them a thank you for following. You never know when a new contact – even a Twitter follow – can lead to a fulfilling job.
4. Participate on the network
In addition to getting to know your followers, another way to build community on Twitter and potentially get more jobs is to get active on the social network. Tweeting, retweeting and interacting with content can help you build trust and authority in your brand. Other accounts may follow your expertise and share it with their own networks.
Some ways to get active on Twitter include:
- Regularly scroll through your Twitter list content. Reply to posts or retweet content you find interesting that relates to your work.
- Share industry news, articles and blogs with your network. If you want to retweet someone’s post, you can use the quote tweet feature to add your insights above the retweet.
- Interact to build relationships. Respond to questions people pose. Offer advice when someone asks for it. Be positive in how you react to tweets. Show genuine interest.
If you have a blog or website, it’s OK to promote your own content occasionally. When you offer content that’s helpful and relevant to the discussion, your followers will be more likely to engage with it, compared to you just tweeting out links to your blog.
With Twitter, like any social network that’s representing you as a freelancer, your goal should be to provide value to your audience. You can pin a tweet promoting your freelance services, but try to genuinely interact and build real relationships to get more high-quality work opportunities.
Your Twitter profile represents you as a freelancer
Twitter can be a breeding ground for controversy, heated discussions and arguments, for sure. But it’s also one of the most widely used social networks in the world, especially for businesses and individuals who could be potential freelance clients.
On Twitter, remember that everything you post on the network is a potential representation of you as a freelancer. Apply social network best practices like being respectful and professional so you represent yourself well.
Use Twitter features like verification and Twitter lists to make your participation on the network more effective and efficient. As you use the network, try to provide value and build meaningful relationships, which could lead to more work and referrals for your freelance business.
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