PUBLISHED
July 22, 2020
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Working as a freelancer and need to build a social following?

One of the hardest things about freelancing is generating leads. When you’re up against a raft of competition, you need to implement an engaging and consistent marketing strategy that helps you stand out against the rest.

Social media is one of the best ways you can achieve this. Creative and diverse, it offers you a plethora of ways to grow your following and reach prospective clients or employers.

If you’re a creative freelancer looking to build a social following in 2020, read on to learn how!

How Creative Freelancers Can Build A Social Following

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Jump on trends to be active and relevant

Social media is a mirror held up to reality, and with that comes a myriad of changing trends and interests. What is popular and relevant today is not necessarily the same tomorrow.

Consequently, paying heed (and reacting) to these trends is essential for building a social following. While evergreen content has its place, sharing social content that reacts to trends, be they political, social, cultural, and so on, shows that your account is active and engaged with the social zeitgeist.

This is especially important for freelance social media managers!

Jumping on trends is an essential element to a brand’s successful social strategy. By taking advantage of trends in a relevant and value-led way on your own social channels, you demonstrate to prospective clients the skills you can bring to the table.

Focus on high-quality and engaging aesthetics

It should go without saying that social media — especially visual platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest — place great emphasis on aesthetics.

Example of a harmonized Instagram feed

Words and imagery are a collaborative partnership that forms the foundation of a great social strategy. While captions and other written content have their place, strong visuals will go a long way towards piquing follower interest and growing your social following.

Whenever you create or share content, take some time to ensure it is high-quality and attractive. As a creative, this should come naturally to you. But if not, it’s not a problem — this is achievable. Use tools like Easil and other free resources to hone your visual eye.

This emphasis on aesthetics extends to your curated content too. If you create your own high-quality visuals but share third-party content that is less so, it detracts from the rest of your content as a result.

If you’ve got a side hustle, such as an online store, your social strategy is a great opportunity to demonstrate your visual skills to prospective employers or clients. Create and curate a blend of exquisite owned content — product photos, sampler videos, and so on — and user-generated content.

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Example of user-generated content

Including UGC on your feed shows that you have an eye for quality user-created content, beyond simply what you create yourself. UGC is a common element of virtually every brand’s social strategy, and showing an eye for content curation will make you stand out, both to your social following and prospective employers.

Delve into analytics for data-driven insights

If you want to build a social following, it’s important to look beyond abstract concepts and focus on the data as well. Social media captures a wealth of follower information, information that you can use to  

There are myriad elements you can track on social. These include:

  • Follower count growth
  • Impressions
  • Shares
  • Engagement
  • Reach
  • Sentiment

By delving into these metrics, you can build up a deeper picture of your target audience, letting you tailor your strategy for better results. Look to the metrics, and you can optimize your social strategy and get the most out of your time, money, and effort.

While most social platforms offer very basic built-in analytics, there’s rarely enough data available to help you source actionable insights. As such, it’s worth looking at a tool like Iconosquare to help with your analytics instead.

Iconosquare offers comprehensive insights into your engagement, so you know what kind of content resonates most with your social following. Beyond that, it also offers tag and mention analytics so you can monitor the conversation around your freelance profile online.

Example of a graph on Iconosquare

Metrics can be a tricky thing to get into, but it’s worth doing so. Take a look at some tools and resources first to ensure you get the most from your time.

Strive for a unique, authentic voice throughout

There’s nothing new under the sun, as the old saying goes, and when it comes to social media, it certainly rings true. With so many people vying for attention on an already crowded space, it’s easy for one to simply imitate what works.

But you know already that this approach is not sustainable. It is a temporary fix, an artificial approach that only takes you so far.

The truth is, authenticity is what really builds a genuine — and lasting — social following. Social audiences are savvy, and they will quickly recognize when an account is simply going through the motions.

Adopt a genuine approach to your social strategy. Speak in a tone of voice that is natural to you, sharing and curating content that you believe in. While you should, of course, bear in mind who you are sharing content for — prospective employers, for instance — it still needs to come from a place of sincerity, rather than simply playing to the gallery.

Deliver value tailored to your different followers

Going hand-in-hand with authenticity is value. Your social content should have value, something that benefits your audience in some way.

This isn’t to say you should strive to make every post a deep thought leadership piece, of course. But you should certainly consider how each of your posts will speak to and benefit your different follower segments.

Consequently, the value you deliver will vary depending on who you are targeting with your social content. If you want to build a network of other freelancers, for instance, you might share content around networking events.

Alternatively, if you’re looking to find more freelance opportunities, you might curate samples from your previous portfolio, with an added narrative that outlines the process behind it.

Understanding your audience is essential to determining how to effectively convey value via your social strategy and grow your social following in the long run. If you haven’t already, build out your different audience personas and lean on them to inform your content. This will help it hit the mark and consistently deliver on your social KPIs.

The tips above should help you create a solid social strategy that appeals to prospective clients and grows your following into the bargain. Use this as a foundation to inform your social editorial calendar and slowly but sustainably build a significant presence online in 2020.

BONUS! As a freelancer, you probably already know how difficult it can be to decide which link to put in your bio on Instagram or in your other social media profiles. Omnilink is a new tool recently launched by Iconosquare, totally free and here to solve that problem! Create your custom landing page hosting all the content your heart desires, and a custom url to paste into your bio and ta-dah! Give it a try and never look back!

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