Freelancers: Stop Spreading Yourselves Too Thin

People keep telling you to go to this networking event, join that networking group. They say you need to be active on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.

You've done it all. You've followed the advice – but nothing seems to be happening for your freelance business.

I'm here to tell you to stop listening to this advice. It's wrong. What you should really be doing is getting it right on one platform. Once you've done that, you can start thinking about whether you even need any of the others.

But which platform do you choose? That's easy: Which platform is popular with your business's target audience? That's the one you want to master.

Yes, you need to be visible if you're going to attract and engage with your target audience, but there is absolutely no point in attracting and engaging with the wrong people!

For me, the right platform is LinkedIn. That is where my target audience is. They may well be on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, too, but I don't need to waste my time on all the other platforms. I can do the job I need to do – fill my sales pipeline – with just LinkedIn.

Throwing a net out there and trying to catch the attention of anyone and everyone is a waste of time. You can't spread yourself that thin. To bring clients to your freelance business, you need to target the right people – that is, the people who would want to pay for the services you offer. A successful social media campaign on one platform is far more beneficial than weak followings on loads of platforms.

The 9-Point Plan for Social Media Success

If you're a freelancer, consultant, contractor, or coach, you need to be aware of the right and wrong ways to go about using any social media platform. You can't go into it blind. If you have no strategy for engaging your audience on a specific platform, you'll never master that platform.

Here is the nine-point strategy I use to reach my target audience on LinkedIn:

1. Drive Sales

What do you want to achieve? How many clients you need? Be specific. You need to understanding your goals and the relevant metrics in order to be strategic about your social media plan.

2. Entice Clients

Give your LinkedIn profile an update to really catch the eyes of prospects. Your profile should focus on the results you can deliver to clients.

(If you're using a different platform instead of LinkedIn, do the same thing on that platform.)

3. Build a Strong Foundation

Your business needs to have a solid foundation that proves to clients you can create value. Perhaps your website performs this function. What can you do to improve it?

4. Automate the Process

Find tools that can automate as much of the marketing process as possible. That way, you can spend time on more important things, rather than marketing yourself for hours every day.

5. Write Scripts

I wrote up a 45+ page document that contains all my email scripts. I no longer have to think about what to say each time I connect with new clients. I just use the appropriate script!

6. Create a Booking System

Use a booking system that allows prospects to schedule meetings with you. That way, you don't have to deal with the back-and-forth of scheduling meetings manually.

7. Close the Deal

This step is self-explanatory.

8. Get Famous in Your Industry

You want prospects to know, like, and trust you. This will help you stay top of mind in your growing network and ensure a constant flow of clients.

9. Review and Reflect

What works in your plan? What doesn't? Tweak as necessary.

Major Social Media Mistakes to Avoid

In addition to knowing what to do, you also need to know what not to do. Here are two common mistakes I see many freelancers make on social media:

1. Not Committing to the Required Work

One of the worst things you can do is start using a platform, gain some followers, and then forget about it when your workload builds up.

Instead, you need to make social media part of your daily routine. Are people engaging? Are they leaving comments and messages? If they are, you need to reply!

If you really don't have time to even schedule posts in advance, then outsource your social media to a virtual assistant.

2. Being Too Sales-y

Yes, you're using social media to find new clients, but constant direct sales pitches will only annoy people. You need to offer value to your audience and spark conversations.

Consider following the "80/20 rule," which says that 80 percent of your posts should offer valuable, interesting content and 20 percent should be promotional. You can also adopt "the thirds rule." Under this rule, one-third of your posts should be created by you – blog posts, memes, questions, etc. Another third of your posts should be content shared from other sources, and the final third should be personal interactions with your audience – which can include promotions and calls to action.

Whichever rule you follow, just remember not to bombard your audience with constant sales advertisements

The reason LinkedIn works for me is because I dedicate time and effort to it. I reply to everyone who engages with me. I encourage conversations, and I search out connections that will be beneficial. Yes, I promote my business and use LinkedIn to generate leads, but I also offer value. I share free offers and tools that I know my audience will appreciate, and I write posts that give helpful insights into my success. Most importantly, I don't spread myself too thin!

Susan Burke is an award-winning global careers coach. You can connect with Susan via LinkedIn and grab a complimentary copy of her book, Get Companies Chasing You, directly from her website.