If you’re a freelancer, you probably already know that building your business requires a very savvy marketing mind. You have to constantly think of new strategic approaches to promote yourself amongst all the competition out there. As social media platforms have become an increasingly popular option for businesses to promote themselves, freelancers worldwide are stepping up their presence to keep up with their peers.
Instagram has easily become one of the most engaging platforms on social media – it’s the second-most downloaded free app in the Apple app store and is used by 1 billion people every month. The platform isn’t only an effective marketing tool for foodies and fashion influencers, but also for freelancers who are always on the lookout for more work.
In fact, social media is currently used by 74% of freelancers, up from 65% two years ago. Based on our 2020 Freelancer Income Report, 34% of freelancers use Facebook to promote their work, followed by LinkedIn with 28%. Yet, the most significant change is the growing popularity of Instagram, now used by 21% of freelancers we surveyed, compared to two years ago where it stood at just 12%.
When it comes to searching for new potential clients, consider leveraging as many platforms as you can. As Instagram is a strong platform that can help you network with future clients, don’t let it be a missed opportunity!
Let’s go over some essential tips on how you can effectively gain new clients on Instagram.
1. Brand Yourself with a Business Account
Your personal Instagram account with pictures of you and your best friend at brunch, is not enough to portray who you are, professionally at least. The best place to start showcasing your business or brand is with an official Instagram business profile, which should include the following: a professional photo, your brand’s logo, username, a link to your professional website that includes your work and, last but not least, a killer bio.
Furthermore, your bio should clearly communicate the specific field you freelance in and how you help your clients. Think of your Instagram bio as your classic elevator pitch with the content being straightforward and to the point. Businesses looking to hire freelancers on Instagram will only view your profile for just a few short seconds, so make sure that you clearly state the services you offer and highlight your skills and expertise.
2. Use Your Feed as a Portfolio
Now that you’ve created your business account, it’s time to start showing potential clients what you’re all about by turning your Instagram feed into your portfolio. For example, if you’re a freelance graphic designer, you’ll want to display your best designs or anything that could attract your follower base. Gather some of your best work from different clients and start uploading! Remember, try to share unique content each time you post so that your audience doesn’t get bored.
In addition, although Instagram is indeed a visual platform, a great caption is key when turning your feed into a portfolio of your work. Adding a compelling caption is a great way to tell a story behind one your works. Want to keep your followers engaged? Perhaps add a call-to-action teasing followers with your next post to build up audience anticipation.
3. Network with Hashtags
In general, social media is a fantastic tool for networking with potential clients. Instagram offers a great space to find other freelancers, entrepreneurs and businesses. One of the ways to effectively connect with your target audience is through hashtags – an excellent way to spread the word about your work and connect with businesses seeking freelancers for projects. With hashtags, businesses are exposed to your posts without having to follow you.
Instagram has a limit of 30 hashtags per post, so try balancing your tags with a mix of both generic tags like #photooftheday and ones that are a bit more niche and reach your specific audience. For example, if you’re a freelance content writer you can search for #freelancecontentwriter or #freelancecopywriter to find other solopreneurs like you. If you want to remain visible to companies/businesses looking to hire freelancers in your field, add tags that include your professional title such as #webdesigner or #seospecialist.
4. Reach Your Audience at the Right Time
Timing is everything! If you want to build credibility and increase your follower base, it’s essential to post on Instagram regularly, but at the relevant times. The key here is to catch future clients during their down time, when they have the freedom to scroll through their feed.
First, set yourself a plan and determine the number of posts you want to publish either every day or every week, and then create a calendar in order to maintain consistency. Ideally, you should aim for one to three posts a day, but remember, it’s important to keep up your posting once you’ve established a rhythm.
5. Engage with Potential Clients
Now that your profile is up and running, don’t be shy and instead, be proactive – there are over 1 billion people on Instagram! Search for companies or businesses on LinkedIn that you’d like to network with, find the relevant individual who would make a hiring decision and connect with them on Instagram. Furthermore, find that same business on Instagram, follow their official account and start actively engaging with them whether it be by liking their posts, commenting, asking questions or reacting to their stories.
The more you interact with them, the easier it will be to build a professional relationship, which could ultimately lead to direct messages discussing a future contract. It’s also worthwhile to check which hashtags your potential client is using. By using the same tags, you’ll eventually become more noticeable.
In today’s digital day and age, freelancing is the preferred lifestyle for many workers worldwide, so taking advantage of the most effective tools, like Instagram, can really help you stay ahead of the competition. Yes, building your freelance business on Instagram may take some time and dedicated effort, but if done correctly, you’ll eventually turn those followers into clients and expand your business.
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