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Get Connected: Social media is now required for freelance success

Without the right connections, your marketing efforts are just a swing and a miss. In 2012 I posted an article asking if you could take a digital detox and build a business without social media, and today I want to admit that I was wrong.

Not all businesses require social media presence (woodworkers, doctors, etc) to be successful, but for the digital freelancer, social media is the greatest tool at our disposal. As the world grows more connected, its a disservice to you and all of your potential clients if you’re not connected.

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There’s no reason you need to be on all social media sites, and there’s not enough time in the day for that to even be possible. But for the free reach that social media provides you, there’s also no reason you shouldn’t pick one social network and utilize it.

For some, Google+ is the place to be, and others feel most comfortable on Twitter. For you, it may be a personal preference to tweet since you feel most witty in 140 characters or less, but there’s something you need to think about when choosing which site to make connections on.

Where are your clients spending their time?

If you write copy for a lot of churches and religious groups, you’ll be better off spending your time on Facebook. If you design flyers and album covers for musicians, twitter will be your bread and butter.

There’s no reason to swing for the fences every time, trying to make the punch connect. This is especially true when you’re just swinging at the air. Take aim, focus your aggression’s and point your power in the right direction.

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Looking for a one-two punch combo that will win you the freelance fight? It won’t be a constant flood of marketing your latest offers. The push and pull efforts needed to succeed are going to take time.

Balance is the key.

Toss out a few jabs, engaging with your target clients. Let them see your name a couple times in conversation, chatting them up and offering your knowledge on a problem they have.

Never push the sale in the beginning and don’t give a half ass weak attempt at sending them to your website. It won’t work and it makes you look like a jackass.

The jabs wear your opponent down, weakening their defenses and eventually giving you the opening you’re looking for to throw your knock out blow, and land the sale.

An MMA perspective on connecting with your opponent

If you’re a fan of MMA, you’ve no doubt heard of the Diaz brothers, Nick and Nate. The Diaz brothers have a slap-happy kind of boxing style that most people don’t understand, until you see their opponents faces at the end of the fight. They’re bruised and bloody, hunched over and gasping for air.

Your social connections need to take that same approach. Every time you tweet a potential client, you’re softening them up.

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When the time comes to hit them with the knock out blow, it might be in the form of a request for their help. Throw them off their game, ask for their advice on a project you’ve done that’s similar to what you’d do for them and find out what they would have done differently.

In one swoop you’ve done three things.

  1. Made the potential client feel intelligent and important.
  2. Opened up their defenses to bring in your knock out offer.
  3. Figured out exactly what you will do for them to make them the happiest client ever.

If you watch a fight and see one fighter always throwing the same hard punch and hoping for the knockout (Dan Henderson and Rampage come to mind) you’ll see their opponents telegraphing them and ducking.

Sure, sometimes they get lucky. Online we call that “viral”. Most of the time though, they spend the whole fight chasing their opponent down and doing little-to-no damage. Without the proper setup and consistency of smaller punches, those big punches won’t land.

The Takeaway

Invest the time to build up social connections and your freelance business will grow exponentially, I promise. From personal experience, business for me has been slower since I have taken a step away from social media.

The introvert in me likes solitude, but until I am landing more jobs than I can handle through word of mouth alone, its back to the one-two punch combo for me.

How about you? Are you practicing the one-two punch combo of effective social marketing? If not, you really should be.

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