Freelancer are often told that they should maintain a healthy social media presence; that doing so helps us attract clients, build networks, and land gigs.
But what’s rarely mentioned is that social media is most beneficial if YOUR unique personality and values are brought to the table. Nobody likes interacting with a stiff, inhuman Twitterbot; personality and idiosyncrasy shine in a shareable environment.
Fortunately, asking yourself 3 quick questions can help you find a dynamic, personable social media tone that suits your needs – without sacrificing clarity or intention.
1.) How do YOU communicate?
Check out your personal emails and notes – even your text messages. How do you write to your best friends and loved ones? How do you communicate with your current clients? Take a real inventory. Then, ask yourself a quick question - if you had to describe your personal writing style in three adjectives, what would they be?
Now, the tone you use with your loved ones may not be the right tone for your social media presence – clients may not be inclined to hire someone who calls them “Pookie.” But the ADJECTIVES you use can help you shape your social media tone. For instance, if you tend to communicate in a warm, inclusive, and collaborative manner, your social media presence should reflect that. If you’re direct, tuned-in, and knowledgeable, your social media should lean that way.
Embracing who you are is the best way to strike a tone that attracts potential clients; reality is compelling. Build on the communication strengths you already have!
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2.) What are your values?
Don’t try to be the flavor of the month; that’s the quickest route to creating generic, forgettable content. Instead, really think about what fires YOU up – what interests you inside and outside of your freelance work.
What are your values? Do you love to help other people? Do you like to spark lively conversations? Do you have a playful sense of humor? Why did you get into your current line of work (and what do you like about it)? What about your industry drives you nuts – and do you have a solution for it?
Pursuing your passions and sharing content that interests YOU is a great way to build a lively, engaging social media presence. George Takei built a formidable following by consistently posting a disparate variety of things; many of them are clever or political, but all of them are pieces that interest him. Don’t be afraid to be idiosyncratic!
3.) Who are your target customers (and what can you offer them)?
Now that you have a few distinct ideas about your personal tone and your values, think about your Dream Clients. What do they look like?
Are you looking to attract small businesses, or big corporations? Do you want to find collaborators, or just build up your reputation? What do you want to be the “go-to” for? What age are your target clients? Where do they live? What do they do?
You may not yet know the answer to all of these questions, but thinking in specific terms about your Dream Client can help you hone and tighten your social media presence.
Once you’ve thought a bit about your Dream Client(s), start thinking about what you can GIVE them on social media – what you, specifically, offer. This is your lure. This is what you will give to get; the free content you share in order to build your network and attract clients.
Now, this may be pretty abstract – the thing you “give” may primarily be a curated selection of other content (“loved this article on editing; check it out!”) But guess what? THAT HAS VALUE to people. We all have a friend on Facebook who consistently shares great content (and has the likes to prove it); be that person. Every piece you share helps establish your tone and define your passions.
Ideally, you should try to include a healthy selection of your own work in the mix. If you’re an amazing graphic designer, start showing off your designs! If you’re a killer event organizer, start sharing tips and tricks on how to throw a great party. If you’re a writer, share snippets of your latest pieces.
You have knowledge and insight; the people want it. Catch a Dream Client’s eye by giving to get!
Simply put, your social media presence should reflect YOU: imperfect, fallible, passionate, interesting you. Find your natural tone, define your values, and keep building a social media presence that interests YOU…
… and you’ll be eager to share.
Kate Shea lives and works in New York City, where she consumes an inordinate amount of Sriracha daily. You can catch up with her on Twitter at @katerone.