Twitter is fast, serendipitous and often fun. You can make contact with marketers, reporters and fellow creative types. However, Twitter is more than just a tool to find out which roads are closed during a snowstorm. It can open doors to you professionally too.
How can you use it to build your freelance business?
Step 1: Look Professional
Use a professional headshot for your avatar photo. People do business with people, not with logos. Under NO circumstances should you still be using the default Twitter “egg”. If you are, fix it fast!
Step 2: Use Keywords
Use keywords in your Twitter bio so you’re easy to find, tell what you do and seem approachable. Don’t be afraid so include something “humanizing” like a favorite hobby. It helps build connections. Include a link to your website.
Step 3: Use Hashtags to Find People to Follow
#Hashtags turn Twitter into a powerhouse of information. Let’s say you’re looking to write for clients involved with healthcare, you can put #healthcare in the search box and see what comes back. You’ll see all the tweets that use #healthcare. Some of these will be people and companies you may want to follow. Learn about them and the types of things they tweet. Cross-reference them on Linked In to learn more about their business.
Step 4: Create Twitter Lists
List makers unite! Twitter lets you make lists of users you’d like to keep tabs on. Just imagine, you can list all the healthcare marketing folks in one list. Another list can organize them by people you know or people you don’t know–yet. You can create lists of users based on topic, geography or any other idea you want.
Plus, you can keep lists private or public. You can even follow the lists others make.
Step 5: Monitor
Using a tool like Hootsuite, you can create a column just for a specific hashtag so you can see the conversations going on every time you log in. This lets you get a feel for what people are talking about and what their “pain points” are. All the better to create content around or use to craft a pitch.
Interact when it seems appropriate.
Step 6: Join the Conversation
Post relevant articles and use the hashtag #healthcare so others monitoring this term will see it. Join Tweetchats—regularly scheduled conversations around a specific topic and get to know the participants. Each tweetchat has a moderator(s). These are usually well-connected people in the industry. Follow them and get to know them.
Step 7: Focus
Focus on a few participants at a time so you’ll know the kinds of things they tweet. Retweet when appropriate, add to the conversation as you can. They’ll take notice of you.
Be natural and helpful. After you’ve developed a bit of a relationship and you know the types of things they publish, you can reach out and ask directly if they hire freelancers. Or, ask if you can schedule a phone call or Skype chat to get to know more about their business.
Occasionally, it can work quickly. I remember one Tweetchat I participated in and had a prospect reach out to me the next morning as she read the transcript. She went to my website and emailed me.
Others have responded right on Twitter.
Usually, it’s the personal connections you make through social media that make it effective. So, think of Twitter as a valuable piece of your networking and use it strategically.
What successes have you had from Twitter?