How to start?
You have a Twitter account, are active on Facebook, have a LinkedIn presence and a website, but you need these to work for you. We all face the difficult task of finding new clients, but marketing via social media can make selling your services online much easier. Social media can be a great way of backing up how you engage with prospective clients and lead to lively and informative conversations online, if you have a clear and positive online presence.
Key steps to making social media work for you (and you do have to put some work in) are monitoring your competitors, watching for Facebook events that your prospective clients may attend, join Facebook and LinkedIn Groups, tweeting in relevant ways to your services, consider using online advertising, listening to what your target audience want (following Twitter threads and reading rather scrolling through Facebook comments), promoting others content in your groups, and maybe most important of all – be easy to find and follow!
Monitoring your competitors
Take some time to follow people on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. Look at how they announce news, promote themselves and engage with prospective clients on these platforms. Make note of what works, and what falls short of the mark, look at timing of posts leading up to an event, and see how they draw the clients in. Use hashtags that are simple and easy to recall, and short and clear tweets, posts and hashtags are often retweeted or shared.
There are some great marketing ideas out there, some simple and some more elaborate, and if you view social media as a vital tool rather than something which sucks time from other activities, then your enthusiasm is likely to show in what you say online.
Facebook algorithms will suggest events that you may be interested in based on your likes, interactions and location. Use these to your advantage. Network and try to increase your client base, having first looked at who is attending to brush on any potential clients who are attending. You can then weigh up if the event is worth any expense that may have to be factored in to your budget, before you sign-up.
Facebook and LinkedIn Groups
There are so many groups where you can interact with other people in the publishing industry, in-house and freelance, and many writers, illustrators and editors groups where you will find diverse members of our tribe!
There is always someone available to answer a query. It is quite an eye-opener sometimes to see how others react to what seems to be a simple question on grammar, and to the differences worldwide and regional for many of the answers. Open-ended questions which are relevant to you, and positive are most appealing. Argumentative and discouraging posters are frowned upon! Asking and answering questions on social media can lead to some fascinating conversations, and building your online presence in this way can be a boost, as every question or answer can be seen as an opportunity to build your business. Even if you are unable to answer a query, re-tweeting or liking a post is a positive step to marketing you and your brand.
Tweeting in ways relevant to your business
Not everything you do online has to be business-based, but if you have an online presence where it shows your wild Friday nights or everything is negative, this may have an effect on how a potential client will make a mental picture of you, unless you have totally separate accounts for weekend you, and office hours you!
Promoting others’ content is quick, easy and helps create and sustain our community. It works as other members of the community are then more likely to return the favour. Many successful people in the industry view tweets as small talk at a party – listen to what others are saying, and respond in an intelligent way, before pitching in with your sales talk. Talk like a real person, not relying on jargon, watching your tone and being pleasant are all something that the average consumer will appreciate. Every interaction online is an opportunity to make a great impression.
Consider using online advertising
Both Facebook and Twitter use ads, and this can be a targeted way of reaching your audience, but unless you have a decent budget, and you have your Facebook page and Twitter page optimised, it may not be the best use of resources.
Spending time on ensuring your online presence is up-to-date, professional, clear and easy to navigate and all links from other social platforms work is essential. Making a clear contact page to encourage further interaction with clients is a common sense addition to a webpage, but often not that easy to find.
Listening to what your target audience want
It may sound simple but following Twitter threads and reading rather scrolling through Facebook comments, will give you a huge amount of information about what your clients want. Tailoring to their requirements then will give you a comptitive edge.
Be easy to find and follow!
Ensure your social media icons are visible on all of your digital communications. They do not need to be the first thing you see, but the re, and relatively quick to spot if you are scrolling down a page. Make it easy for a potential customer to follow you, like your posts and (hopefully) make contact to discuss working with you!
Mara Livingstone-McPhail was a bookseller, reviewed books on BBC radio and organized book events in inner-city schools before being lured to London by the team who now run Chicken House Books. A freelance editor, proofreader and writer, she reads every day for as long as she can keep her eyes open.