Social Media for Freelancers: Tips & tools for getting work, getting read & getting ideasBusiness of Freelancing Conference31 March 2012by Sarah Stokely (@stokely)Founder, Communications + Community
3 tips for using social media to get work 1. Think about what your goal is (get more freelance work?) and from there, who you are targetting (commissioning editors? your readers? your beat/the sector you report on?) and tweet stuff that would be useful to those people, not just self promotion. 2. Follow editors on social media - read their blogs, follow them on Twitter - get an idea of what theyre interested in at the moment. RESPOND QUICKLY when they put a call out. 3. Ensure your social media presence (Twitter profile, blog or LinkedIn) makes it clear what your freelance niche is. eg Sarah Stokely - open technology and culture advocate. Tech presenter, 3RRRFM.
4 LinkedIn Tips 1. Fill out your work history (your contacts will get an update when you change jobs, which is a great way to launch a freelance career). (also a great way to keep track of employee movements on your beat!) 2. Selectively ask some of your LinkedIn contacts to write you a recommendation. Eg an editor who can say how great you were at delivering articles tailored to their readers, or delivering in tight turnaround times. 3. Proactively writing recommendtions for others is a great way to get them to write one for you. 4. When applying for jobs you can include a link to your LinkedIn recommendations - much quicker & easier than contacting referees.
5 tips for using social media to get read 1. Link your followers to the work you publish, using a relevant hashtag (eg #auspol or #adelaide) 2. "Share this" buttons on individual articles on your website or blog to encourage readers to help promote your writing 3. Draw attention to great comments or conversations going on in comments on things youve written, or even if youve contributed a decent comment yourself 4. If youve had something published behind a paywall, link to it once it becomes free/unlocked content for your readers who arent subscribed. 5. VERY selectively tweet your links to people you think might be interested enough to retweet you.
3 tools to help you work better ● Pinboard - bookmarking/archiving ● Save links, use descriptions and tags to find/categorise them & share or make them private. ● Pro account $25/year - Keep the web pages you bookmarked - forever. GREAT archiving tool. ● Sourcebottle - journos can put out RFIs, find people to interview, find companies who want to offer reader giveaways, etc ● Read Later (bookmarklet that sits in your browser toolbar, so you can save things for later ● Read it Later - save content to read on any of your devices, even offline. I use it with the Read Later bookmarklet (Mac). I now can save links in 1 click, instead of having 20 tabs open at once.
4 ways to find interesting people ortopics on Twitter1. Pick a hashtag that interests you, search for it on Followblast.com, and follow the people it shows up as using that hashtag eg: #qanda #missfisher #auspol #auslaw #npau2. When youre at a conference, open up your Twitter client (eg Tweetdeck) and add a column for tweets using the conference hashtag - this will let you watch the backchannel of tweets about & from the conf, and you can follow the interesting people from the conf if you want 3. Research Twitter live chat events relevant to you like #agchat, #charityweds - participating will help you find relevant people to chat with and follow.4. Find a role model, and follow the people THEY follow Tweepi "Follow by following" tool (Free)
Using lists to find interesting people● People often compile & publish lists of people to follow in their chosen area of interest● Google search for "[keyword] Australia twitter list" and browse the results!● Lists can be handpicked (curated lists) like Australian Legal Tweeters by Amicaecuria● or created using various social media rating tools● Examples: ○ Australia Top Twitter influencers (uses Peer Index rating system) ○ Jenius list of top 100 food Tweeters (uses Klout rating system)● You can also create or subscribe to lists in Twitter, eg 7.30 Report journalists or the @aujournos Twitter account list of Australian journalists.
3 tips for quick Twitter tuneup1. Turn off email notifications! ● By default, Twitter sends an email notification every time someone follows you, sends you an @reply or a direct message. Its an email overload. Go into your Twitter settings and turn off these email notifications. ● Note: I have left the email notification of DMs on, as I find for me its the quickest way to get notified, either when Im on my laptop or iPhone.
3 tips for quick Twitter tuneup2. Simplify/automate everyday management ● Instead of email notifications, use a dedicated column in your Twitter client to show you @replies and DMs. Or set up a visual or audio notification if you keep Twitter in the background. ● Use an auto-follow back tool like Tweepi to reciprocate by adding people automatically when they follow you. Once you set it up, you dont need to do any manual followbacks again. (You might not want to autofollow back if youre trying to keep your Twitter follow list small/selective. But if youre new on Twitter & trying to grow a list of people to follow, it can be useful.)
3 tips for quick Twitter tuneup3. Clean up the list of people you follow ● Manual pruning of your follow list on Twitter is time consuming and annoying. ● Twitcleaner will run an analysis of the people you follow and let you bulk unfollow them, according to criteria like: ○ Dodgy - spam, duplicate links & tweets, etc ○ Absent - No updates in a month, fewer than 10 tweets, deleted & suspended accounts. ○ Repetitive - High numbers of duplicate tweets or links ○ Non-Responsive - No interaction, those that follow back < 10%, streams that are all feeds from other sources.