There’s a lot of talk out there about what you have to do with social media. No one likes to be told what they have to do, so let’s change the conversation a bit.
It doesn’t matter if you like social media or think it’s legitimate. What does matter is how you can take advantage of the opportunities available to you. It’s not a question of what you like to do, but rather what can you do to entice clients and court new work.
Social media has only changed the mechanism of communicating, not the actual content. Think of social media in the way you think of an industry mixer: full of potential clients. Lots of conversations are happening – you can listen in, hone in on viable leads, and start a dialog. Listen, research, and engage.
That’s the key – listen, research, and engage.
Social media sites, Twitter, in particular, are amazing for listening. Many pundits moan on and on about what you have to say on Twitter. But really, you can just listen. Who is shooting what, which clients like what kind of work, and what is happening right now? Make twitter.com/explore your friend – you don’t even need a Twitter account. Exercise 15 minutes a day exploring search terms. Make note of who is saying what, where they work, and what agencies are doing what.
Get to know your potential clients. LinkedIn is built for researching. Who works where? Where did they go to school? What connections do you already have? What “ins” do you have to start a conversation? Exercise 15 more minutes per day researching connections. Agency Access works great for finding out more about potential clientele too. Find out what you can about your potential clients and the work they are doing to create effective dialogue.
Communicate via Twitter, LinkedIn, or perhaps Facebook, to start a connection. You don’t have to be as blunt as “I am Joe, please hire me,” but perhaps more nuanced as “Really enjoyed that recent campaign you did,” or something of that nature. Once a relationship is started, the conversations can continue. Spend 15 more minutes per day, reaching out to and communicating with your potential clients.
Remember, talking is only one part of the equation. Remember to listen. Remember to research. Then, the conversation can engage.
Alex Wright is a creator and the Creative Director of Dripbook - a sourcebook and web-based portfolio management tool for commercial artists. Alex spends his days working to make technology help people. Alex lives in Austin, Texas.
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