Today’s guest post is by Prerna Malik, a freelance writer and web content expert on Parenting, Home Management and Organization, and Green Living, with a background in Advertising and Communication Skills Training. She can be found at The Mom Writes and on twitter @themomwrites.
If you’re an online writer or problogger, chances are you have a profile on at least one or two major social networking site – Twitter, Face Book, Linkedin and others. These sites are great for more than one reason. They allow you to “meet” like-minded people, catch a break in the middle of a hectic day, learn about trends and events and are basically, like the office water cooler. However, did you know that you can also use your presence on these sites to land yourself some cool paying gigs? Yes, that’s right.
Here’s how I did it and you can too:
Optimize Your Profile
What does your social networking profile read like? Does it mention that you are a writer/blogger/copywriter? If it doesn’t, you need to change that right now. Make sure that your profiles mention clearly what you do. Profiles are picked up by search engines. If you want yours to rank well, make sure you update them regularly, use the right keywords and basically, make sure that they are found by someone looking to hire a writer. Moreover, people looking to connect with professionals in a particular field will first read the profile, so make sure yours is descriptive and relevant.
Organize Your Profiles
Does your FB profile look different or outdated as compared to your Linkedin profile? Time to change that as well. Profiles that have differing information don’t seem credible. If you’re sending people to your social networking profiles, make sure that they’re consistent with each other. Also, if you’re interacting on a professional level on these profiles, it makes sense to keep them all updated and current. So, get organized socially!
Choose Your Network and Then, Work It
I’ve had considerable success in landing paying gigs that run for several months on both Twitter and LinkedIn. Honestly, these are the only 2 social networking sites that I frequent. I am around on a few forums as well, but I spend most of my socializing time on Twitter, closely followed by LinkedIn. Yes, I know, I’m not on FB professionally, but that’s okay with me. I have limited time and can’t spread myself too thin. I’d rather have engaging discussions on just one or two networks rather than random comments on a variety. So, depending upon your schedule and personality, take your pick of networks and then, work them.
Learn About Your Followers
What do you do when you receive a FB “Like”, LinkedIn connection request or a Twitter follow? Simply follow back or take an extra step and learn more about who the person really is? Check out their website, learn about their work and then, study their business to see if you can help them. I’ve reached out to several businesses on Twitter who didn’t have a blog along with their business site. Some didn’t need one, others didn’t have a budget but a few were SO glad that I reached out, that one thing led to another and I landed up with 6-month blogging contracts that pay me $40 an hour!
Pay Attention to Conversations and Discussions
While it can be difficult to focus on all the tweets, all the time, you can be more engaged and attentive on a forum like Linked In. Listen to people who need help, offer it. Sometimes it will pan out, sometimes it won’t. In either case, you would have made a connection with someone who could use your services.
Be Smart But Not Selfish
At the end of the day, social networking is just that, social networking. While it is a great way to land gigs and make contact with people who need your services, it is and should be a way to be genuinely helpful, engaging and fun. If all you do at these places is sell your services, people would soon lose interest. It is a good idea to be smart and savvy but it is a better idea to be generous and considerate as well. So, no auto DMs please and no spamming people and please don’t hold back from helping someone simply because they can’t pay you!
Have you been successful at landing gigs on Twitter, Face Book or Linked In?