A few years ago, as a freelancer you had control of who you knew and met. You went to networking sessions, collected business cards and did what any good business man should do, you kept the client happy. The client would then tell their client about your awesome work and bada boom bada bing you have another client. Eventually through positive word of mouth you became a Jedi freelancer. Today everything is the same just the tools have changed.
Linkedin groups allow you to get your message across to the right people at once, whilst also making awesome connections. Joining forums is also a brilliant networking method. Answering people’s queries and questions will quickly make you a specialist within a particular subject. You then become the, “go- to- guy”. But don’t get me wrong, nothing beats real life networking so don’t stop that.
Your digital office is your website. Having a website that allows clients to book online, view your portfolio and has a blog that isn’t a brag fest, will do wonders for you. When blogging try to avoid writing about your new Mac book and how much you spent on it or how far you are on repaying your student loans. Instead, try think about what a potential client may want to read about. If you are a wedding photographer one of your posts could be, “How to identify the perfect venue for your wedding pictures”.
The digital equivalent of a business card is email addresses. Some might say its twitter followers or Facebook friends. The problem with the latter is that your followers may consist of clowns looking to get follow backs or stalkers. Collecting emails is a whole lot harder and you generally have to earn them. The best way to collect them is to have a subscription section on your blog/ portfolio. Without spamming you can email your contacts specials and your latest project updates.
Clients can be your best or worst advertisers. Be sure to reward your best clients and also acknowledge them on social media platforms. With unhappy clients be sure to resolve the issue publicly. Nothing is better for your business than a resolved issue with a happy client online. Use your Facebook, twitter and Google plus to communicate with your clients, remind them you are alive and getting better at your craft. Remember that the more you blog, the more your social media community will grow and they will be watching. So make sure you go viral for all the right reasons.
Although these points are more of an outline, it is important to identify the steps in order to start the journey in becoming a successful digital freelancer. But to truly be a rock star business person, you have to master the art of networking in the real world too. A potential client is more likely to trust someone they have had a good laugh with and shaken hands with. They will be more than happy to join your digital community thereafter and contribute to your viral success. So go on, collect those business cards and emails and have fun!