Welcome to Day 20 of the 31 Days of Marketing Your Freelance Business Series! For the month of October we are going to be covering a ton of different ways you can market your business and get more clients.
LinkedIn is the go-to network for professionals and recruiters. You probably used it at some point during your corporate life to hunt for a better job. But have you given the network much thought since you started freelancing?
LinkedIn may not be your first thought when looking for freelance gigs, and rightly so. It’s largely targeted at full-time traditional jobs, with a few contract and freelance gigs sprinkled in. But even if you aren’t actively looking for jobs on LinkedIn, your potential clients are on there looking for you.
The majority of my clients have checked in on my LinkedIn page before hiring me, and often times before contacting me. If I hadn’t kept my LinkedIn profile up to date, I may not have even been considered for the majority of my work over the last few years. This alone makes LinkedIn a pretty important marketing tool for freelancers that shouldn’t be ignored.
There are a few key points to concentrate on to make your LinkedIn profile stand out to potential clients:
Your picture doesn’t have to be super stodgy, but this is LinkedIn, so keep it professional. Don’t use your old Facebook profile picture and crop your friends out (you’re not fooling anyone, we know that’s someone’s shoulder!). Use a photo of just yourself, looking professional and welcoming. It will help people put a face to your name and form a more personal connection right away.
Your headline is the perfect spot to tell the world what you do. You can use your title (graphic designer, social media specialist, etc) and include the word freelancer or consultant. Your headline should be straightforward and to the point.
Your summary is where you will wow people. This is the spot to elaborate on what you do, why you’re passionate about it, and how great you are at it. You can make your summary on LinkedIn similar to your About Page. Your summary should be written to attract your ideal clients and demonstrate how you can solve their problems with your work. Use a few keywords your clients would likely search for, as they’ll stand out to both the client and LinkedIn’s search engine.
In your summary section there is a place to add portfolio items, which you should definitely take advantage. Having a few visuals on your profile is going to make you stand out in the crowd. Get creative with this! You can add links to sites you’ve worked on, or attach files of examples. Include photos, videos, screenshots, slideshows, reports, e-books – anything that showcases your work!
If you are a writer, LinkedIn also has a section dedicated to publications. List your articles, books, publications, and blogs here to promote your mad writing skills.
As freelancers, we tend to have very long and varied work histories. Just like with a resume, it can be tempting to list every job you’ve ever had on LinkedIn. A better strategy is to only list the jobs and major gigs that have been particularly relevant and that demonstrate your expertise.
Personally, I don’t list individual freelance gigs in my work history on LinkedIn. I have one job to encompass my freelance career and use my portfolio section to highlight gigs. Generally speaking my freelance jobs have roughly the same job description and duties, so it isn’t necessary to list them all out. This isn’t the only way to do it, but it is one way that keeps your profile shorter, cleaner and more digestible.
You want to make it as easy possible for potential clients to contact you. LinkedIn also gives you the option to write about the kind of opportunities you are looking for. This gives you the chance to be really clear about your availability and the kinds of jobs people should contact you about.
Spend some time on your LinkedIn profile every few months updating these key points to give potential clients an accurate reflection of your business, and wow them with your work.