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Does social media work?

Lots of people ask, “Does social media work?”


Or more specifically, “Will social media bring me clients for my freelance or consulting services?


The answer is a definite “maybe.” It depends . . .


Based on what I’m reading online, it depends on how well you implement your social media efforts . . . whatever that means.


You should be authentic so that your market identifies with you. You should be an expert so your market trusts and admires you.


You should stay on topic so you add value. You should share photos of your pets and children and reveal more of what you are all about.


You should generate content frequently so that Google counts you. You should space out your content so your list doesn’t unsubscribe.


You should help others go viral. You should publish your own content that helps your market so they value your advice.


You should repurpose your content into myriad formats. You should offer fresh ideas all the time.


You should hire virtual assistants to conserve your time for the work that best uses your unique brilliance. You should handle social media in a way that connects with others socially. In other words, you should do it all yourself.


You should be more strategic. You should help others unstintingly.


You should do more. That’s the only instruction that doesn’t have an opposing instruction. There’s always more to be done.


My observations suggest a different secret to social media success. Your market must be on social media and must participate in a way that relates to your services.


As a single individual, I am not immersed in every way that freelancers and consultants employ social media. However, I have observed two professions that claim high levels of success.


The first is social media coaches. People who coach others on how to use social media find their own clients through social media.


Makes total sense to me. If I were looking for a LinkedIn coach, for instance, I’d start by searching LinkedIn. In considering individuals for this role, I’d look at their profiles, their comments on LinkedIn groups, and their blogs.


The second profession that succeeds on social media is book editors and consultants. They work with individuals who study the publishing industry intently and are on email lists, in LinkedIn groups, etc. Much of the audience is self-employed or writing hobbyists, and these people are often deep into social media.


It has been my experience as a B2B freelance writer that since I am most likely to be hired by corporate types, it is harder to find my market on social media.


When I research on LinkedIn the current and past individuals with whom I have worked, they often have suspiciously few connections relative to the huge number of corporate coworkers with whom they have been employed for five years or even ten.


They may be in only a few groups, or even none at all.


They may not even be on LinkedIn.


I’d guess that some are using social media, especially Facebook, for personal purposes, but I’d guess they would not relish connecting with me in that venue.


This doesn’t mean that social media doesn’t work for providers of corporate services. However, it makes the process much more challenging if we are to find a process that feels comfortable and appropriate yet also makes an impact.


Originally posted 5-12-14

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