Freelance network: Why are there freelancers who have no trouble finding new clients (some even have the luxury of turning them down), while there are those who struggle? Simply because some have created their own professional network, while others don't know how to do it.
Do you already have a network?
No, not yet. I'm a beginner.
Yes, but it doesn't seem to be bringing me new clients as I would have liked.
I don't even know what you're talking about.
Other ? Don't hesitate to share your opinion in the comments, whatever it may be!
I'm sharing with you today how I built my own network.
If I put it in first place, it's for a reason: LinkedIn is considered the social network par excellence! Simply because it is purely professional.
Of course, most of them are people looking for employment or other freelance activities. But recruiters and potential clients are also there. Not only is LinkedIn the best platform for networking, but it has great potential for prospecting.
OK, we never stop praising LinkedIn, but what I would like to know is how to build your network, more concretely?
First, don't skip any steps. Instead of sending connection requests to every suggestion that appears, it is better to work on your profile as much as possible. Add all the important details. In the summary (below your profile picture), don't forget to include the essential keywords for your activity (webdesigner, design, web, webdeveloper, freelance...).
Only then do you send connection requests to people who have the same activity as you and your targets. To increase your chances of being accepted, include a personalized message with your connection request. Once the invitation is accepted, don't stop there. Instead, remember that your goal is to maintain a relationship and build a network.
This is also why you need to be active on LinkedIn (whether in the different groups you belong to or your news feed). The principle is the same with all social networks: you have to publish content regularly. I see in my network that some people post every day, others once a week. So, post at your own pace. Just make sure you can keep it up.
Use LinkedIn to the fullest, i.e. make the most of all the features offered (image carousels are very popular these days).
In addition to sharing posts, you must also interact with those of your network: comment, like, share... The more active you are, the more visible you are, and the more you get known. You are building a network.
Better yet, if you want to have an even more specific network, why not create your own group on LinkedIn? Once you have identified and added your targets (future members) to the group, you will know exactly what topics to address to animate it regularly. You understand their needs and expectations. And to better understand them, exchange from time to time with them.
Sure, Facebook is more personal than professional. But you know, good entrepreneurs find opportunities everywhere they go. So why not on Facebook? Indeed, you can find new customers on this platform, share your expertise, use it as a connection tool to your website, offer your services, your products... The list is not exhaustive.
I advise you not to separate your personal account from your professional account. Creating a professional page on Facebook would also be interesting for the business aspect, but no one visits pro pages anymore. Account or page, it's up to you. As long as you use it for business purposes, it's fine.
For professional use, that is?
In the last few years, more and more groups dedicated to a specific topic have been created on Facebook. Don't hesitate to participate in the exchanges that take place in them, and above all, try to show that you are an expert in this topic. Potential clients do join these groups. So, you might as well make yourself visible!
You have the choice of using your business account or your page. Some groups are set up to host pages, others are not. So do according to the group.
Like on LinkedIn, you can also create your own group and publish interesting content there regularly. The same goes for your business page or account. Regularity is important!
YouTube is the second most used social network after Facebook. For this reason, I really advise you to use it!
How would a video sharing platform help me build my network?
Many other people are asking this question too. However, videos are real levers of development for your small business. Videos are also more impactful than pictures. You don't have to show up (at first), but once you get your bearings, 😉 let's go!
Here are some ideas for videos you can create:
And many more. Your goal is to show your expertise to your followers (your community). This is how you will grow this network little by little.
📝 By offering quality content, you easily attract new subscribers.
How to do it?
Once the videos are online, share them regularly on your other social networks and on your website.
This platform is dedicated to photos (Post/Story) and videos (IG TV/Post/Story) and more (Reels, etc.). In general, people use it to develop the graphic charter of their brand or company. As we, the webdesigners, work mainly on everything visual, it is obvious that Instagram is also a good idea for us.
As you can only share photos, choose (or create, it's more original) the most attractive one. You can also select several photos (multi-selection) to make carousels (like on LinkedIn).
For every photo, don't forget the descriptions and most importantly, the hashtags. The choice of hashtags is the key to the success of a photo shared on Instagram. You have to select the most followed by a large number of worlds. There are tools for this (it really makes it easy). But if you want to do it manually, it's also doable.
Here's how I do it:
You don't have to use all 4 social networks at the same time. Unless you use a specific social network management tool(SEMRush among others), you risk getting lost quite quickly. So start little by little, slowly but surely.
For each of the social networks, this advice applies:
💎Whenwriting your posts, don't monologue. Otherwise, it would be hard for your followers to stay to the end. Instead, ask for their opinion. This will make it easier and more natural for them to respond in comments to your post.
💎Takethe time to think about your target's needs and expectations before writing a post. That's when you'll be able to share a post in which it will be easier for them to identify, and thus, they won't hesitate to react.
💎Don't forget the call to action at the end of your post. It can be: ask subscribers to share the post, like it, comment, come to a private message to chat, go to a website...
💎Storiesand lives on social media are all the rage right now. Reason enough to get into it too. But beware! An impromptu live stream doesn't do the trick. We are talking about a professional account, so a good preparation is important. A prior announcement (by stories or publication) is necessary. A survey would even be interesting to know at what time your network is available.
💎Advertisingon social networks are real marketing levers as long as you know how to use them well. For advice on this (especially Facebook), I recommend the site of Danilo Dushesnes, a real specialist, here is his Website: https://daniloduchesnes.com/. He also has a very interesting blog and you can follow him on instagram @_danilodhs
Should you use an emoji in your publications? A question that comes up often, but to which we have already found an answer.
In addition to social networks, I also advise you to register on various platforms dedicated to freelancers and directories. Potential clients (or other freelance webdesigners like you) pay special attention to descriptions.
So, you need to take time to fill them out. Be as specific as possible and if allowed, add links to your social networks and website. All this, again, in order to grow your community.
In fact, there are so many platforms and directories on the internet. The best would be to integrate those that are specifically related to your activity. I don't have the list unfortunately, but don't worry, just Google it...
💬 If you find any, don't forget to share it in comments!
Working from home is so relaxing. I always experience it! But there are times when you feel isolated, in need of human contact.
Do you like coworking spaces? Before you answer, consider this:
Coworking spaces aren't just a cozy place to work . They are also a great way to start a network. For one, there are other freelancers and entrepreneurs who come there regularly. Get to know them. You never know what you might get out of it!
Secondly, these coworking spaces often organize events where you'll meet a lot of good people with the same energy as you.
If you are in Belgium, I have listed several coworking spaces in this guide.
❗️Attention,the pandemic does not allow us to take advantage of coworking spaces. This advice will only be valid when life gets back to normal. Until then, patience 🙂
I often meet people who are passionate about what they do and you know what? Most of them are freelancers I met during professional events, coworking spaces, meetups...
I also know that if you are still on this page, reading these lines, it is because you are like us, you are passionate about what you do. Would you like to meet other people who share this same passion?
In this case, I recommend: meetup.com. Just go to it and type in a few words to search for local meetups, near you (or at least, almost).
I also organize regular meetups for people who are passionate about Web Design, Marketing, Graphic Design, etc. It's a Meetup where we help each other and where we move forward together in a good mood. Here is the link to Brussels Webflow Meetup.
Finally, I wanted to share with you a tip I read in the latest book: "The Art of People: 11 Simple People Skills That Will Get You Everything You Want" by Dave Kerpen
Starting a network is also about making life easier. Don't be satisfied with what your clients ask you to do. Always do more by making sure that what you are going to propose interests them, answers their values... Give the best of yourself.
This way, not only will they give you a positive review (to insert on your website and social networks), but they will become the sellers of your service in turn. They will say so many good things about you to their friends and family that you will easily gain new clients.
Finally, how hard is it to find new clients? 🙊 If you follow all the tips I gave you on social media and be a little more open to the world, it's not! All you need is patience. Create great relationships, the future will do the rest.