Firstly, why’s social media so important to freelancers?

The connected world has changed – and continues to change – our perception of what constitutes good customer service. Real-time online customer engagement channels such as Facebook and Twitter have raised consumer expectations, freelancers being socialplacing even more pressure on companies to not respond not just immediately but effectively, resolving the customer’s query to his or her satisfaction.

As a result, companies can now live and die by how well their communication systems, networks and applications are set up to serve customers 24 hours a day, every day. The ability to respond quickly can often mean the difference between losing or gaining customers and advocates. While it can be difficult for a freelancer to compete in this space with larger businesses, which have greater resources and budgets, freelancers do have the advantage of more built-in flexibility. By nature, freelancers are more nimble and unconstrained by corporate red tape, making the implementation of new processes and IT systems much simpler and more time efficient. This gives the individual an opportunity to differentiate themselves from their larger counterparts and excel when it comes to customer service, providing they have the right tools – such as effective social media.

With this in mind, we’ve put together a few social media dos and don’ts:

  1. Don’t tipple while you tweet

Social media is a great platform for businesses to build brand awareness and gain a trusty following. But when it’s time to leave your desk, step away from your phone or laptop and disconnect!

Avoid the temptation of tweeting while you are enjoying your after work tipple. Create separate passwords and usernames for your business accounts and personal accounts, making sure that you’re always firmly logged out of your business account at the end of the day!

It’s also a good idea to let customers know when you’ll be back online to help with any enquiries, setting expectations for when they can count on you for speedy help.

  1. Use time-saving tech tools

On Twitter and Facebook, conversations are instant and infectious. If you’re not careful, these interactions can quickly consume your day. However, there are a number of savvy platforms, such as Buffer and Hootsuite, which freelancers can use to make sure this problem doesn’t happen. You are able to schedule posts and manage all your social media accounts in one place. This allows you to appear ‘always-on’ without staying up all night or committing valuable time to monitor social accounts.

  1. Use your resources wisely

It’s useful to invest time in finding the right channels to best reach your audience. Don’t try to be everywhere all at once.

So do you go with your gut, or use analytics Sometimes a channel can appear to be inactive or have a very small audience, but analytics can provide more in-depth insight into the quality and reach of interactions and your community. This can make a huge difference to the impact of your online presence.

  1. DON’T be mute

Social media is all about engagement. People don’t want to be talked at or have information pushed on them.

Instead, spark conversations by asking questions, posting new ideas and encouraging people to share experiences. People are a lot more likely to get involved in a conversation if it’s fun, free-flowing and casual, but also timely and relevant. This way, people are more likely to come back for more.

Social media is also about sharing experiences and what’s happening at the moment. To help bring attention to your brand and attract more followers, encourage people to share images. And to ensure what you share is further shared, make the message short, snappy and fun – list posts such as ‘Top Tips’ or ‘Five Favourite…’ are always popular and tend to be widely shared.

Social media gives you the chance to interact with your customers, wherever they are, in a way none of us could have dreamed of fifteen years ago. But bear in mind that these interactions are usually public. When you engage with your customers via social media, effectively you’re on stage. So ensure you give your best performance.