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With 73% of Americans having at least one social media profile, it seems that you can reach the vast majority of people through the various platforms.

Social media sounds like an easy way for the independent contractor to market their skills. There are questions the savvy independent contractor has to ask himself or herself before attempting to build a potential client base using social media. Which platforms should you focus on? How should you work those platforms to your advantage? These queries should be foremost in your thoughts.

 

Social Networkes on a laptop screenHow to best use social media as an independent contractor

The most important thing to remember is that you have to engage your readers on social media. You can’t simply just mine Twitter followers or Facebook friends and hope that stir the pot. You have to post things that will be useful to the reader, preferably so useful that they share your posts with others. You’re developing a reputation online just as you would in a face-to-face connection.

When you post, share a combination of topics. Post things that shows your knowledge and abilities in your business. Post information your audience will want to know; it doesn’t have to be directly related to your business. Feel free to post a few items of a personal nature, but do it infrequently, or occasionally link to a post on your non-business social media profile.

 

Which social media platform is best for an independent contractor?

The type of social media platform you focus on will depend on the nature of your business, your style of communication, and the type of customer you’re trying to reach. On most all of these platforms, you can provide links to your business web pages or press you’ve received, and potential clients can message you directly.

 

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the most business-oriented platform; however, it may not be the best way to attract customers. It’s more passive. Potential clients will more often find you than you will attract business by engaging with them. You can make short posts to the platform to show your knowledge in your field.

 

small contractors getting your business on-lineTwitter

Twitter’s 140-character limit makes the platform a tough place to post information to show the depth of your knowledge. What it can do for the independent contractor is to help you build your brand personality. For you, that means making posts that show competence, sincerity and enthusiasm for what you do.

 

Yelp

Yelp isn’t just for restaurants anymore. This year, the platform added categories for rating lawyers and consultants. It appears anyone engaged in business could find themselves receiving a user review, and independent contractors owe it to themselves to establish a presence on Yelp. Users can search Yelp and find you if they need the services you offer. Contractors should be in a position to quickly respond (pleasantly) to negative comments.

 

YouTube

You may consider this site to be for passive viewing rather than social media engagement. Yet, YouTube began as just another way for people to share personal video content and invite commentary. You can use YouTube to post “how to” videos and respond to people who have questions about the kind of services you provide.

 

Facebook

Facebook is a massive, multi-faceted platform. It boasts nearly 2 billion users worldwide. It is useful for both business and personal content. You can use it for long-form blog style posts to show competence in your field or find other contractors in your city with whom you can share information. You can create a page devoted to your business that potential clients can follow; they don’t have to become your Facebook friend.

Facebook may be the most versatile platform of the lot. However, focusing only on that platform would not be a good social media marketing strategy. Use as many platforms as you have time for in an integrated way to develop the greatest reach online.

 

 

Mark M. is a freelance journalist with 14 years of experience writing for print publications and the web. Mark has been a Contributing Writer for a local daily and alt. weekly, institutions with circulations of 200,000 and 100,000 readers respectively. Mark writes compelling, topical and informative pieces for consumers and info addicts alike. He was the Web Content Editor at an urban university and has written and designed web pages for personal clients.

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