It has been three years since I wrote about social media for freelance editors; forgive me. Not much of my opinion has changed about social media (or maybe it has come full circle), but my ideas about how to approach this networking arena have taken shape. (Read my definition of what is social media and what is not.)
How to approach social media
- Use a management tool
- Use lists and circles
- Give something away
- Build relationships
- Go where your clients are
Use a management tool
Management tools such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck that will let you manage multiple social media streams from one place. (You could push posts from G+ out to the other social media using friendsplusme.com; but people get pretty annoyed by seeing your identical posts across all platforms.) These management tools don’t incorporate all access, but you’ll be able to get at multiple Twitter accounts, Facebook, Google plus, and LinkedIn from a single interface. This lets you post to all at once, schedule dozens of posts in a single sitting, converse from a single software interface, and organize the various information feeds.
Use lists to organize your feeds
These lists can be set up in most social media, separating your family and hobby-mates from your colleagues and potential clients. I have organized those I follow into lists such as colleagues, science types, and educators. Those are the 3 I follow daily. My other lists include local news and comedians; these I check when I am so inclined.
Most social media also allow you to confine posts to certain lists as well. This is nice when you don’t want to bore your friends with editing posts, or when you don’t want to bore colleagues with trip photos. However, beware of being one-dimentional. One colleague likes to remind me that his posts about baseball led to work editing a baseball-related book. And if your school chums don’t know you edit, how can they recommend you when an opportunity arises at their workplace?
Google+ is organized by cirlces (lists) by default.
Give away some of your knowledge
This is what makes you interesting, and how you can position yourself as an expert in your field. Sure, you can give away buttons or books, if that is your product. But, as an editor, your knowledge is probably your most tangible asset. I consider this post to be in this category.
The most popular post on this blog would be a prime example. That post on marking up PDFs was even picked up by a major editing publication, and then by an organization that runs courses for editors. I now teach PDF mark-up for them a few times each year.
Giving away that knowledge is helping raise my brand in both recognition and esteem. My blog got me paying work. Not editing work, mind you; but lucrative and rewarding work. My next focus is giving away information my clients can use; such as “what to do with an edited Word file” and an instant estimator tool for their project planning.
Be part of the conversation
That is rather the point of social media. Comment on others’ posts, tweets, and pages. Answer a question on Quora. Add your two cents to a discussion in LinkedIn. Create your own posts. Be provocative. Or — if you really want to engage your audience — misspell something.
Go where your clients are hanging out: onto the blogs they are reading, into the Facebook and Linked In groups where they participate, take part in industry-specific Twitter chats. Offer info where you can, and build those trust relationships.
Build relationships, don’t market
Networking is about making contacts and building relationships. Most people dislike being marketed at. Just think of how you feel when a telemarketer calls. Got it?
Be yourself. Be interested in others. Offer help, but not in the “you should hire me” way. Link people to resources or people they might find helpful. Point them to your own useful blog posts. (I do this a lot. In fact, this is now the #1 purpose of my blog: to answer the FAQ so I don’t have to type out advice for the ninetieth time.)
Check the Storify for updated resources.