The decision to become an independent contractor in any field is not an easy one to make. Unlike regular employment where you may only have to stick to a job description, freelancing is very demanding. You have to attract the right clients, work on strategies to meet their demands, sub-contract some work (if need be), market your services, prepare invoices, and remain sane enough to do it all over again.
This is why a portfolio website is an important marketing tool for any independent service provider. Add social media to it, and the combination can make freelancing a lot easier.
People no longer confine serious business talks to boardrooms. In fact, conversations are unending online; everyone is talking about something. Owning an amazingly designed portfolio website can be one way to tell your prospects, “This is how good I am at what I do,” but it doesn’t necessarily initiate conversation. Integrating social media—especially the top social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+—is a big stride towards client engagement.
The social media buttons should be placed on the homepage and at the bottom of every inside page. If you are a freelance architect, for example, and have drawn various house designs, ensure that after every portfolio item, there is a button encouraging the prospect to either share it or contact you. You can use social sharing to tell the world what you are capable of doing. People don’t share what they don’t like unless it is terribly absurd (and those are still shared for a few laughs).
Keep Your Social Media Profiles Updated
You have encouraged your targets to converse and share their experiences with you on social media. Unfortunately, the last time you posted anything online was after the launch of Facebook. Get real—if your profiles aren't active, it's not worth the effort because people don’t have time for deserted social profiles. The same applies to your portfolio website. Keep it updated and regularly replace old items with newer ones.
Engage With Your Customers
As an independent contractor or freelancer, your interest is to attain higher online exposure and attract more clients to your business. After successfully channeling customers from the site to your social profiles, and prompting them to engage, they expect prompt and timely responses from your end. If you're the type who takes a week to post anything on social media, try to post more often. Make sure you share to social whenever you upload a new sample or job to your site. Be active and join conversations. You risk losing followers and online connections faster than you lured them if you aren't strategic with your approach.
Finally, never stop updating your portfolio website and your social media networking sites. However, you don’t have to publish everything you do online because some may turn out to be counterproductive, especially if they have quality issues. Seek the views of friends and relatives and only publish the best, share, and join the online conversation. One more thing: social media is not just about you; don’t flood your profiles with just marketing-oriented posts.