by Rachel Smith
17 October 2018
Hi Rachel and Leo. I’m not big on social media – I have a Twitter account but rarely tweet! Too busy doing other things (and working!) However, I keep hearing there can be good work opportunities on social media if you know where to look. But where? How DO you find work on social media? Am I crazy to ignore all the social platforms? BG
Yep, a bit! I believe you should have your finger in every pie to keep work flowing. Social media is simply another tool to help you do that, but it’s definitely not just a passive, sit-back-and-wait-for-the-work-to-fall-in-your-lap solution. You have to put in the hard yards, engage with others and build relationships to reap the rewards of it.
It works but you have to be SUPER speedy. Social platforms move at a rapid pace and if you spot a work opportunity when you’re on there, you want to be the first cab off the rank. It’s tempting to think, ‘Oooh I’ll just jot that down and contact them later’ – no. No, no, no. Immediacy is key. This month alone, I have picked up two jobs on Facebook and have another coming through shortly via LinkedIn. That’s partly through being approached, and partly through reaching out myself – but for all of them I responded immediately and pitched that day, even it meant putting other work temporarily on hold.
Obviously, these three platforms operate very differently and so you can’t use the same strategies to find work on all of them. Here are my tips for how to maximise your efforts on each.
It’s all about your profile. Upload a photo, put the right keywords in your headline, and create a bangin’ elevator pitch in your summary. You’d want to use words like ‘freelance’ and ‘content writer’ and ‘journalist’ in your headline. Take a fair bit of time on your summary; make it easy to read and list your services in bullet points. Keep your profile stocked with regular updates of your work so clients can see what you can do. Use your updates to establish yourself as knowledgeable in your field (writing LinkedIn posts too if you have time). You should also join key LinkedIn groups and engage regularly with those in your niche.
You should also be using LinkedIn’s advance search function to find companies and contacts to reach out to. Sometimes I’ve found just by viewing someone’s profile, they will reach out. Similarly, if a content manager or marketing manager views your profile, connect with them and see if you can help them out. While this strategy divides people, LinkedIn can be the place to try an occasional ‘ad’ letting contacts know you have an opening in your schedule and are free for XYZ starting Monday.
Finding clients on Facebook relies on several variables. Firstly, having a business page where you post work is key. It shows others what you do and cutting and pasting the URL of your FB page is the quickest way for you to share a snapshot of your work when responding to work offers on the platform. Ask current and past clients for reviews if they’re on Facebook – these are invaluable for getting referrals and new clients over the line. Joining writing and business groups – select ones, as you can go overboard and clog your feed with useless posts – can also be really helpful, but it takes time to figure out which ones you want to invest time in (with the good ones, you can connect with like-minded people and set the stage for future referrals).
For jobs, the Rachel’s List Gold group is open to those with Gold membership and gives you advanced notice on jobs hitting the board. Free groups which serve up regular or occasional job opportunities include Binders Full of Writing Jobs, Business Business Business, Cult of Copy Job Board, Like Minded Bitches Drinking Wine, Find-A-Finders-Fee and Freeline. Paying members of The Clever Copywriting School or The Freelance Collective also have private FB groups where they share jobs too. Sometimes freelancers band together in small groups and refer each other work and if you get invited into one of those, accept! It can be a great way to meet people and find potential new leads. Friends, too, may share opportunities regularly so make sure you connect to as many other freelancers as you can.
Twitter can be invaluable for breaking news, research and reaching out to editors and case studies. Can you find work in those fast-moving Twitter streams? Absolutely! It goes without saying that you want to build your following, engage with your followers and share useful stuff in your niche so you look like a person of interest if editors check you out. You should also do regular searches for pitching and writing opportunities as editors are all over the shop on Twitter. To start, search via specific phrases (with quotation marks) such as “Pitch Me”, “Call for Pitches”, “Looking for writers”, “Call for writers”.
A lot of the results you get will be from overseas markets and publications so if you want to do local searches, you can use the advanced search function on Twitter to search for keyword phrases in specific locations (such as Sydney or Melbourne). If you’re using a program like Hootsuite, you can create invaluable lists of editors who regularly call for pitches – or streams with your keyword phrases so whenever those words pop up on Twitter, you’d see all the latest tweets with that keyword phrase, and you can jump on any opportunities that interest you.
I hope that helps and inspires you to get into social media more – do let us know how you go!
How often do you find work on social media – and which are your favourite platforms for snapping up jobs?