Wouldn’t it be nice if we could set up a website to offer our freelance services and wait for visitors – or even better, customers! – to come? Just make that little money or – if you’re a bit techie-savvy – time investment, sit back and relax?
Well, unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. You have to share the good news! Once you’re up and running, you have to let the world know that you’re out there. You would do it if you had a brick-and-mortar shop, right? If you were to open a dentist’s office or an ice cream store, you’d like your neighbors to know you’ve opened. You would at least give out leaflets, right?
Well, guess what, having an online business works pretty much the same. The good news is that you don’t need people to come randomly across your building to find out your cute new shop. They can visit your online place from the comfort of their homes. And that’s awesome! But they have to know you’re there. You want your neighbors to visit you. And, thanks to the Internet, the whole world is your neighborhood!
So, how do we do it? That’s right, social media is your best friend here. And as fun as it can be, it can also turn out to be a double-edged sword. Let me explain:
Advantages of social media
♥ You don’t need any techie skills to master social media
♥ You’re probably already active on some social media platform, and that means that the time you need to learn how it works drops significantly
♥ You may already have followers / a small audience interested in your new business
♥ It’s free!
Disadvantages of social media
As fun as it can be, social media marketing can also quickly become one of the most time-consuming tasks of your freelance business. Don’t get me wrong, you should invest a lot of time in social media, ‘cause you want people to visit your brand new site, right? But be careful. Before you even notice, you may have spent the last couple of hours on Facebook without being a bit productive. Why is that?
Imagine you’d like to check if anyone has liked your new post or whether you have new followers. And then you see that one of your best friends has posted a super funny picture of her holidays. And she’s tagged you! There’s no harm in commenting real quick, right? So you get on to her profile, and you see that many other friends have already commented it, so you have to read real quick what they’ve written. You don’t want to repeat yourself, and you have to leave a witty comment…
You know how it continues, right? On your right sidebar, you’ll see your family last activities. You get a notification about someone having answered the question you posted yesterday. And you can’t be rude. You have to answer. Now. Real quick. What’s the harm in it?
Well, the harm is the couple of hours you’ve spent on social media without actually working on your social media marketing. Oh, wait, it’s my aunt’s birthday today! Thanks, Facebook! You get the problem, right? 🙂
That would be the issue we can have when working on social media platforms which combine both private and business activities. But working on social media can be very time-consuming on its own – even if we don’t care about that funny video your sister uploaded just a couple of seconds ago.
The thing is you have to be there. Not today. Not tomorrow. Every day. There’s lots of stuff to do if you really want to attract visitors to your site. And that will take you way too much time.
How Can You Profit from Social Media without Going Cray-Cray
But then, how can we do it all and still have time to manage our actual business? Write that post? Send those packages? Answer that email? And most importantly… Have a life?
With a good planning ahead of course!! And with the help of the many social media tools which can ease up our life A LOT if you use them strategically.
3 steps you should follow to enjoy your social media strategy
- Block specific time slots for social media – Write down what you’re exactly gonna do in that blocked time. Are you going to schedule some pins on Tailwind? Or maybe search for motivating quotes for Instagram?
The time slots can vary from 30 minutes to 1 hour. Some people prefer to work in 30-minute blocks, but that’s where I’m at my peak concentration level, so I usually block 1 hour for a specific task. Just choose what better suits you 🙂
Don’t do anything you haven’t planned before. If you come up with the greatest idea while searching for the best Twitter hashtags, write it down so you don’t forget it, and do it later.
- Find out your best timing – Figure out what’s best for you: You can work an hour every weekday to keep track of what’s going on. But if you notice that it’s distracting you too much and that you feel overwhelmed by so many ideas, comments and feedback you’re going to read, it may be better for you to block one or two mornings a week just for social media.
If you tend to get too distracted and you see that you’re spending way too much time on the PC without being really productive, do your social media stuff when you know you only have an hour. For example, before leaving to a weekly appointment, like a class, or before picking up your kids from school. If you feel the pressure, you’ll have to stick to the plan 😉
- Use social media scheduling tools – Now, this is THE step where you don’t need that much willpower like in the two previous ones. But you will need a lot of planning.
Social media scheduling tools will ease everything A LOT. If you take a couple of hours a week to schedule all your social media posts, you’ll be able to forget about it all for a couple of days while actually working and making money online.
There are way too many tools with different functionalities and prices, but for the beginning, you don’t need to spend too much (or nothing at all).These are the tools I suggest you begin with:
♥ Social share apps – If you have a blog on your site, you can automatically share the posts you write on social media as you publish them. I use Nelio Content plugin for WordPress. The basic version is free, and it works great!
♥ HootSuite – Its basic version is also free, and you can use it to schedule posts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube and Instagram.
♥ Planoly – This is my favorite tool to schedule posts on Instagram. Please note that Instagram doesn’t allow third-party tools to post on your behalf, never mind what anyone promises. So what you can actually do with Planoly is to schedule the post with a picture and hashtags, and then you’ll get a pop-up message on your cell phone for you to publish the post yourself. You just have to click twice, no big deal, and you can publish no matter where you are.
They also offer a free version, although in this case, I’d recommend the “Solo” version. It only costs $7/month if you pay yearly, and you have unlimited uploads.
♥ Tailwind – Awesome tool to schedule pins on your Pinterest boards. You’ll need a bit of learning time (not much, though), but then you’ll be the ultimate Pinterest Queen 🙂 Upload and schedule as many pins as you want, and Tailwind will take care to pin them on the boards you’d like in the time interval you’d prefer. Isn’t it awesome?? Besides, Tailwind works with “tribes”, which are groups of pinners with the same niche. Tribe members share each others’ pins directly on Tailwind. I find this is a fantastic way to display your pins to a much broader audience!
It may seem like a lot of stuff to do, and it is a lot, but with the right strategy, you’ll just have to dedicate a couple of hours a week. This being said, you don’t have to be present on every social network. Choose the one your target market use or the one you’re most comfortable with, and focus on that one until you’ve figured out what works best for you. Then, and only then, go for another social network.
And if you feel too overwhelmed to do it all by yourself, why don’t you look for help and hire a virtual assistant? One thing is for sure: Whether you have a little online shop, a DIY YouTube channel or a blog, you’re going to be dealing with social media marketing, so you’d better get used to the idea 😉
Do you feel comfortable managing your social media marketing? What would you like to change if you could?
Are you born to freelance?
PS. If you’d like to find out more tips about automation, check out How to Run Your Business on Autopilot.
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