As a freelancer, you’re a one-person business development team. You head up sales, operations, client support, and every other department in between.
Freelance marketing is not as glamorous as describing yourself as a digital nomad, but it is the reality. In order to book those one-way plane tickets with your mobile office in tow, you need to know how to both provide and sell your services to get freelance clients.
Luckily, social media platforms provide a cost-efficient means of showcasing and pitching your best work. With an up-to-date, professional presence online, you can build relationships with potential customers, drive referrals, and land deals.
While there’s no specific social media blueprint you need to follow when freelancing, there are some tried and true tactics worth putting into practice.
Learn how to get freelance clients with these social media selling strategies:
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Be generous with your knowledge
It’s easy to view your level of expertise as proprietary. When learning how to get freelance clients, there’s a fine line to walk with what you do and don’t give away for free.
Joe Casabona, a freelance podcaster and educator, opts for sharing his know-how actively and openly on Twitter and — more recently — YouTube.
“Be generous with your knowledge! A lot of people feel they need to keep what they know close to the chest, but I’ve found the more open I am about what I know and the more I teach people, the more people are willing to hire me for development, videos, and podcasting.”
While some may take your content and run, there will be others who view it as a testament to your skills. These are the prospects most likely to exchange their money for your time.
Hannah Geuenich is the creator of, well, The Creator Concept — offering social media coaching for startups through her signature program. She builds trust (and a client base) through content shared on Instagram and TikTok.
“I recently got a client because he saw one of my reels (the newest Instagram feature I use for mini-trainings) on his explore page. I post daily stories and 1-3 TikToks with quick solutions to problems. In addition to that, I use feed posts for a summary of the topic so my (potential) clients can save the post for later and I use IGTV to post testimonials.”
Narrow your audience using LinkedIn
Marketing yourself as a freelancer on social media is not just about how you do it but who you market yourself to. When it comes to social media selling, you can’t be everything to everyone — know the types of clients you want to connect with before going in.
Ana Cvetkovic, CEO of BLOOM Digital Marketing, turns to LinkedIn to reach prospective clients and generate leads.
“I write about a very specific industry so I use LinkedIn to search for companies in my niche. After I identify a company in my niche that I want to work with, I search for its content marketing manager, as this is the job title that is typically responsible for hiring someone like me. I then send that person a connection request and add a note to pitch myself.”
Map out the flow for your selling stages. Who are the key stakeholders likely to hire you? How can you help both parties save time with what’s included in your pitch?
Personalize your Direct Messages (DMs)
Unfortunately, it’s not enough to draft up a one-size-fits-all template for your LinkedIn and Twitter DMs. To stand out from the competition with social media selling, you have to personalize your pitches through social media with specific content relative to your reader.
Freelance financial analyst and writer, Cooper Haywood, opts to generate leads with social media through “trojan horse marketing.”
It’s essentially a strategy built on selling to prospects without them feeling as though they’re being sold to. Content marketing is one well-known example of this.
After creating his prospect list and connecting with stakeholders on LinkedIn, Haywood moves on to the most time consuming — but important — part of his process.
“To set myself apart, I’ll go to the client’s website and perform detailed analysis, analyzing their content and tools, and looking for things that could be improved.
Then I’ll record a 2-3 minute video introducing myself and just offer as much value as I can – I’ll share with them what I’ve seen other competitors in their space doing that might work for them, where they can improve, mistakes I noticed, content ideas I’ve been thinking about that could be relevant to them etc.”
Pairing a personalized video with a short, friendly message has led to a more than 40% response rate for Haywood. In addition, the tactic has helped land his biggest client so far at $6,000 per month.
Regularly update your social profiles
Marketing yourself as a freelancer on social media can be a great way to build a client base proactively.
However, don’t underestimate its ability to generate more passive, inbound leads as well. Keeping your social media profile updated with relevant industry keywords can help you appear higher in online searches.
Ami Neiberger-Miller of Stepping Stone LLC knows this all too well.
“I got a local government client through LinkedIn. They were searching for someone with my skills and experience and I came up. I just got a LinkedIn message one day saying they saw my profile and wanted to talk about doing some work.
They were a writing and strategic communications client for several years.”
More often than not, business owners will review your social media profiles thoroughly before contacting you. As Sirarpi Sahakyan — a freelance YouTuber with $10,000 in monthly recurring revenue (MRR) — explains, your profile should be “the ticket to your professional skills.”
“I got a job offer through LinkedIn because as a Digital Marketing Specialist, I was very active in discussions about marketing, joined LinkedIn groups, and commented about what’s interesting to me. I also shared my achievements and recent certifications to let businesses know I am constantly learning and achieving things. By doing what you really love, you don’t have to put much effort into getting a client through social media.”
Invest in the process
Above all else, it’s important to remember that marketing yourself as a freelancer on social media is a long-term game. The more time you invest upfront, the better your chances of reaping the rewards down the road.
As an independent contemporary visual artist, Lizzie Snow has worked with brands like Converse, Lululemon, and Topshop.
“When I share an artwork from beginning to end – the initial pencil sketches, insight into the ideas, the process of ink, the completion with paint, the presentation of the final artwork – these artworks often sell before they’re even finished! I’ve definitely found a direct link between the amount of digital content I produce about a specific artwork’s journey with the speed in which it sells.”
Final Thoughts — How to get freelance clients: Social media selling strategies
No matter what your freelance marketing niche might be, there are universal truths to marketing yourself on social media — just as there are social media management tools and workflows available to help maximize your efforts.
Apply the above tactics to your own strategy as you build both a brand and sales pipeline. When learning how to get freelance clients, narrow in on what works, tweak what doesn’t, and let the results speak for themselves.