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The bustling gig economy continues to find innovative ways to thrive on different platforms. Freelancers everywhere are using new and exciting tools at their disposal, one of the more powerful tools being social media.

TechRepublic reports that 64% of freelancers found work online in 2018, up from 42% in 2014. We can only expect this number to grow as freelancers continue to discover how to promote their brands effectively online.

So whether you’re just starting and unsure of how to build an online presence or looking for ways to boost your career through existing profiles, here are some key tips for all kinds of freelancers to reap the benefits of social media:

1. Check What’s Already Out There

You’ve probably already Googled your name out of curiosity, and skimmed through the results without much effort. Special Counsel’s guide to managing your online persona for newly minted lawyers recommends exactly that. Run a search for your name on Google, and make sure to go incognito as to not skew the results.

Knowing what your existing online persona is will give you an idea of what you have to build on or change to achieve the personal branding you want.

2. Understand and Use the Right Social Media Platforms

A common mistake that freelancers make when using social media channels is assuming that one size fits all. The right content format is different for each channel, and understanding this will help make your posts less robotic and more appropriate on your accounts.

It would be helpful to check how competitors or freelancers in the same field are using these different channels — the more followers and clients they have, the closer you should look at their posting patterns and styles. If you’re just starting, copywriter, and ClearVoice contributor Nicki Escudero explains that it’s vital to choose platforms that are best suited for your skillset and also play host to possible referrals and recruiters. This way, you’re not wasting your time on sites that won’t move your career forward.

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3. Be Consistent with Your Brand on All Channels

Streamlining all your social media accounts will greatly impact the way your followers and clients remember your brand. You’ll know you’re doing it right when you have one handle, a memorable logo, and a consistent color scheme across all channels.

As a freelancer, you should always update your bio with the latest information about your expertise, and make sure that your display picture is appropriate for the field. If you’re a photographer, have your profile picture reflect that. And if you’re a creative writer, add some unique flair to the ‘about me’ section.

4. Have a Social Media Plan Every Month

Sticking to a social media plan not only ensures that you don’t have silent periods on social media; it also helps you avoid bombarding your followers with constant posts. Keep in mind when scheduling posts that it’s not just frequency that matters, but the time of posting as well.

The Social Media Journal’s article on optimum times to post on different platforms specifies the best days and time to schedule your posts. Of course, it’s best to tailor-fit your plan to your audience, too. Observe if your followers are most active at night or during the day, on weekends, or on weekdays.

5. Don’t Forget to Be Social

Use social media the way it was made for and be social. Facebook groups and LinkedIn connections are a great avenue to network and build relationships with old and new clients. Additionally, being responsive on your Facebook page and Instagram comments can go a long way in boosting your brand.

DMN’s report on social activity reveals that positive comments about a brand can influence 63% of Facebook users, which includes client feedback and responsiveness. Ideally, you should get back to comments and queries within 24 hours or sooner to keep your followers happy.

Using social media as a freelancer will be much more rewarding when you follow the above tips. By keeping your accounts consistent and impactful, and being mindful of what you say and post, you’ll end up with a more defined personal brand that can appeal to and attract new clientele.

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