Welcome to Day 21 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.

online groups for freelancersLately I’ve been finding more and more private forums and groups for just about everything. You’re a podcaster? Join this group! You own an e-commerce site? Sign up to our member forum! You like waking up at 5am and getting shit done? Join our private Facebook page!

There are groups for creative entrepreneurs, people trying to lose weight, meditation junkies, and homemade craft beer aficionados. If you have an interest you are passionate about, you can find a group of people online that share it.

Why does this matter for freelancers?

Online groups can actually do a lot for your career. For one, people are sharing valuable information in these groups specific to their niche topic. This might give you access to resources, blogs, and websites you didn’t know about before that will help you to continue learning in your field. And two, you can share valuable content with the group and start to be recognized as an expert in your niche.

Most importantly though, you have direct access to the people in the group. Interacting with the other group members can turn them into prospective clients, potential collaboration partners, or maybe your new online BFF. There is a good chance that you are going to find people in these small communities with interests and goals very similar to yours, so use it to your advantage and strike up a conversation!

Where can you find these groups?

  • LinkedIn – There are a boat load of groups on LinkedIn that you can join to network in.
  • Twitter – You can also join a twitter chat, which is less formal than a group and open to anyone. Twitter chats are also awesome because the conversation is guided, so even if you’ve never done one before you’ll figure out right away how these things go.
  • Your favourite blogs and podcasts – a lot of bloggers, business coaches, and podcasters have private groups on Facebook or a members only area on their site. Some may require you to join a course or pay a fee.

How should you use them?

Look for groups in two categories:

  1. Your career field – find groups of fellow freelancers, marketers, designers, entrepreneurs, virtual assistants, etc… Use these groups to make connections in your field. You may not think you need them, but freelancing gets lonely and having people on your side who ‘get it’ is important. You can also find connections to share each other’s work and collaborate on projects.
  2. Your client niche – try to find a few groups where your ideal clients are hanging out. Use it for a bit of market research to find out what they’re interested in, what their problems are, and what they’re talking about. You can start to earn people’s trust and be the first person that comes to mind when they someone to work on their next project.

Whichever group you are interacting in, remember to share valuable content and be helpful. Groups are not your own personal forum for advertising your content and services. Only share your content when it adds something to the conversation.

When used properly, groups and forums can be very beneficial to your career and help to foster relationships that will be valuable to you for years to come. Do you participate in any groups for your career?

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