LinkedIn: a social media marketplace for professionals. It can be used as an online CV, to promote business, to advertise or apply for jobs.
So how can a freelancer make use of it? Freelancers can use LinkedIn by coming somewhere between promoting a business and promoting yourself as an individual. You can use it as your online CV but also as a business page.
Here are a few key elements to any successful LinkedIn profile:
Try to put up a professional looking photo that shows you smiling and looking approachable. Not having a photo can make those browsing for profiles a bit sceptical. Putting a name to a face is one way of establishing a more human contact, memorability and goes a long way in building trust.
This should be a short summary of who you are, what you do and more importantly, what you can offer anyone reading. This will likely be the only thing that most people will see about you besides your name and photo. So you need to make it interesting and make people want to read the rest of your profile.
Try to keep your tone and choice of words somewhere between casual and professional, without coming down too far on either side. Clients want someone easy to work with but not so laid back they’ll forget to finish the project.
The default headline is your current job title and most people leave it at that. By customising it, you’re standing out already.
Consider this the LinkedIn equivalent of your “elevator pitch”. Make sure that here, and elsewhere on your profile that you speak like a human being. Don’t be too stiff and formal, you want to appear approachable and friendly. One of the keys to success as a freelancer, is being able to get along with clients and make them feel comfortable in handing work over to you.
Bear keywords in mind. You want your profile to turn up when a client searches for someone like you. However, don’t litter your copy with them, they should be in there organically and not just for the SEO boost. If you’re relevant to the search term then you won’t have to put as much effort into putting keywords in there because they’ll naturally find their way in on their own.
List your accomplishments and try to be specific wherever you can. Don’t just say what you did, say how it impacted that particular business and gained them a profit.
If you have your own website or blog, make sure you put a link to it (if it’s relevant). Having your own website and blog will earn you more authority and make you look like more of a professional. People do most of their research online so you need to be there, and if you’re more than just a LinkedIn profile, you’ll stand out.
Share relevant new stories and articles about the industry you work in to show authority and expertise. It’ll show that you know your stuff and also that you are passionate about your subject and industry. This will mean that clients are more likely to trust your work and judgement and hire you over others.
If you have a website, you should definitely try to get some testimonials from previous clients on there. It’ll make clients a lot more comfortable with hiring you.
So if you have testimonials, make sure they’re on your LinkedIn too. Don’t rely on potential clients visiting your website, they might only be browsing through LinkedIn and you need to give them a reason to look further into hiring you.
Be sure not to harass your potential clients, but make sure you are actively trying to sign new ones. Add people you’d like to work with and reach out to them. Be polite and professional when you approach them and focus your efforts on what the client can get out of working with you, rather than how good you are.
How are you using LinkedIn to promote your freelance services? What else would you add on your profile? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.