Effectively using Twitter for freelancers

After covering social networking in general last time, I’m going to dive into a few of the different social networks in more depth.

The first up is a little blue bird called Twitter.

With its limits on message size, Twitter can be one of the most distracting social networks out there. You see dozens of messages at once and they’re always coming. Even if it only takes you a few seconds to read each one, you’ll quickly become overwhelmed.

At the same time, Twitter has been my favorite social network and the one that has had the most business results for me.

Most of that success comes from casual conversations with peers. We’d talk every now and then, building friendships, and then when a project appeared I’d be on top of their mind and get the referral.

Like I said earlier, I still had to take the conversation to another medium like email to close the deal, but it originated from Twitter.

I’d recommend you to segment your peers into a private list. This will make it easier to keep up with them as well as spot any industry news that could affect you.

Twitter is also easy to build a following on. With the short messages and how replies work, it’s easy to be exposed to new people. The cost to a new follower when they follow you is so low that many people follow you early in the relationship.

The downside of Twitter is the volume. With so many short messages, it can be extremely hard to stand out. Depending on your message, you’ll almost always have to repeat it several times in order to reach everyone who might be interested. This will annoy some people.

There is a positive to this though. You can experiment more with your messages to see which ones work better and at what times. If you’re a copywriter or want to practice, this can be a great way to test:

"Hire Me" vs "I’m available for hire" vs "Ruby on Rails developer with availability now"

Twitter’s search is great for research too. You can search for your ideal clients or what people are talking about for your industry or niche. Many Twitter clients will even save your search so you can easily stay up-to-date on the topics.

My overall recommendation is to use Twitter in a few different ways.

  1. Broadcast messages – sending tweets about new content, thoughts, or opinions.

  2. Follow ideal clients and their influencers – if your ideal clients are on Twitter, you can easily stay up-to-date on what they’re talking about. You can also explore their network to find who influences them, which can be valuable if you’re trying to target your ideals clients (e.g. ads, guest appearances).

  3. Be a human – since there is such a high volume of tweets, you don’t have to worry about making everything you say perfect. You can tweet random things that aren’t related to your business or marketing. This will give you a human side and could help you start a relationship with a potential client.

Just make sure to limit your Twitter time. Just like every other tool, you want to get the most value out of it as possible. Which means watching your time. At least until you can prove the ROI.

Eric Davis

P.S. Please, please, don’t think of your Twitter timeline like your email inbox. You don’t have to read every one in there and get caught up. Important stuff will come up again.