Do you want to know something crazy? Are you ready…? There are people who don’t like Instagram. There, I said it 🤭 Posting on Instagram, or any other social media platform can feel easy for someone who is doing it for fun, but if your goal is finding customers, the fun part can quickly disappear.
The thing is, social media can be great to let people know you and your business, but it can also become a nightmare if you try to keep up with daily postings, the always-changing trends, algorithm updates, and whatnot. But hey, if it helps you get customers, this is something that you’ll have to go through.
Now, the question is whether you REALLY need to use social media to find those customers. But let me set something straight before we continue: You need to keep in mind why you’re using social media. You want to get discovered by new customers, not by your peers. That would be a waste of time, unless your peers could become your clients, of course 😉
When should I consider social media to reach new customers?
If your ideal customer is a person – as opposed to a company -, social media can be THE place to find people you wouldn’t normally have access to, especially if you’re offering a digital product or a service that you can perform online. Let’s say that you live in Canada and offer coaching sessions via Zoom to English-speaking customers. Well, the fastest way to get to the broadest audience in Australia, for instance, is via social media. And the same thing happens if you’re trying to attract other solopreneurs or bloggers. They are most likely to be found online, so that’s where you should be, too!
But what happens if you really don’t want to take care of planning, creating, publishing, and commenting on the reactions to your social media posts? And yes, social media marketing involves all those tasks! So here are my 2 cents:
- Choose only those social networks where your potential customers are. You don’t have to be on every single platform out there. This would be too time-consuming for a one-woman show. So do some online research to find out where your ideal customers spend the most time. And that’s where you should be, too.
- Use social media platforms to help and offer helpful content, as well as to promote your products or services. Like it or not, people want to meet the real you, and not just your logo.
- Scheduling tools can be powerful allies for those who don’t want to spend most of their days on social media 🙋🏻♀️ This post might be interesting for you: 3 Steps to Use Social Media without Going Cray-cray.
- If you can afford it, investing in paid advertising can be much more effective and time-saving than daily posting and hoping for customers to find you.
When can I forget about social media and still get new customers?
If your ideal customer is a company, social media isn’t necessarily something that you should care about. At least, that’s my experience. In fact, some posts and comments can cause the exact opposite reaction that you’re expecting to get from potential customers. Some of them might get the wrong impression of you just by looking at your social media, so be careful with that.
So social platforms like Instagram, TikTok, or Snapchat don’t really make much sense – unless you’re a creative professional and your ideal customer is looking for people like you to create content or visuals for such or similar platforms. So please take my advice with a grain of salt – You should ALWAYS take your customers and their behavior into consideration!
A great place for you to promote your products and services are professional networks like LinkedIn or Xing (if you’re working or would like to work with German companies) or professional associations. To give you an example, I’m a member of the German Federal Association of Translators and Interpreters (BDUE). Almost any serious German company searching for professional translators is going to land at the BDUE site. So that’s where I should be!
How do you know whether you should use social media to find new customers?
As we saw before, there is no clear yes or no answer to this question – It all depends on what you’re selling / offering, who your ideal customers are, and where they spend their time online. Here are a couple of questions you should ask yourself to come up with a clearer answer.
- Is your ideal client a private person/solopreneur, or is it a company?
- Which social media platform does your ideal customer frequently use?
- How do you think that your ideal client would react if she saw your post on social media? Would she interact with it? Disregard it? Would it bother her?
- How does your ideal client usually search for similar products or services to yours? Is it on social media? What kind of social media?
- Would your ideal client look for your services on professional networks or associations?
Depending on the answers about your ideal customer and her online behavior, read again the pieces of advice we saw above 👆🏼
If finding customers is something that scares you or doesn’t let you take the leap and start freelancing, the free Roadmap to Self-Employment may help you! If you have any questions, feel free to write them in the comments section below 😉
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This is such great advice, Alicia. I used to chase all the followers on every platform, and then I realized that my audience hangs out on Pinterest! So, I focus all my efforts on that.
I hope many starting entrepreneurs get a chance to read this post. Your advice is gold for the freelancer!
Thank you for your comment, Flavia!!
Focusing only on the important platforms is so important for our productivity – and well-being!