5 Tips for Finding Freelance Work on LinkedIn
If you don’t use LinkedIn as part of your marketing strategy you’re missing out on a rich source of new clients.
Admittedly, LinkedIn is a tough nut which many freelancers are still learning how to crack. In a FreelanceSwitch survey last year, only a few freelancers said they’d found work on the network.
Responding to the survey, many freelancers seemed doubtful LinkedIn was any help at all for finding new clients.
“Just seems kind of useless to me,” was a typical response.
In my experience, LinkedIn can be an extremely useful tool in finding freelance gigs, but only since I’ve learned how to use it.
LinkedIn is not the Yellow Pages
I think the cynicism surrounding LinkedIn in the freelance community is based on a mistaken view of how the network works. Many freelancers see it in one of the following ways:
- As a jobs board. In this case, freelancers scour LinkedIn (especially groups) looking for advertised work.
- As a “Yellow Pages” listing. These freelancers fill out their LinkedIn profile. They expect prospects to find their profile and contact them.
Let’s take these one at a time, and show why these views are mistaken.
First, it’s true that occasionally, gigs do come up in LinkedIn groups. However, they’re rare and usually low paid. I’ve yet to find one I’ve wanted.
Second, it’s true that prospects can check out your LinkedIn profile. But they’re unlikely to do so unless you’re actively involved in groups and you regularly update your profile page. What’s more, they have no way of getting in touch with you unless they add you as a contact.
The Right Way to View LinkedIn
The correct way to view LinkedIn is as a small component in your sales funnel. You may never get work directly from LinkedIn. However, you will be more likely to get work and find new clients if you use LinkedIn as part of your marketing strategy.
Here’s what LinkedIn is good for:
- Connecting with prospects and making them aware of your services.
- Staying top of mind for prospects and current clients.
- Showing you’re a trustworthy person to do business with.
All of these give you an advantage when your prospects are choosing which freelancer they’d like to work with.
In the following five tips, I show you exactly how I use LinkedIn as part of my marketing strategy.
LinkedIn Tips for Finding Clients
- Update your headline and summary. Every time you update your headline or summary, LinkedIn tells your network. Small tweaks once a month are a way to keep your name and face in front of prospects without having to write them a note.
- Add prospects to your LinkedIn network. When you meet a potential client in the real world, or through email, add them on LinkedIn. Even if they don’t need your services right away, you’ve reminded them of your meeting. What’s more, you’ve created a permanent connection.
- Ask for Recommendations. Recommendations are LinkedIn’s equivalent of testimonials. As they’re an integral part of the LinkedIn ecosystem, I find it less intimidating to ask for a LinkedIn recommendation than for a testimonial. I’ve yet to be turned down by anyone I’ve asked. Recommendations provide proof of your skills and experience to any prospects who view your profile.
Write personal notes. Whenever someone adds you on LinkedIn, write them a message. Thank them for connecting with you, and ask what they’ve been up to lately. This only takes a couple of minutes, yet very few people do it, so you’ll stand out.
I recently started doing this, and in the past month I’ve been offered two gigs from contacts who added me, simply because I took the time to write them a message.
Spend time in LinkedIn groups. Whoever your target market is, chances are there’s a group on LinkedIn where they hang out. To get noticed in a group, be active in posting questions, and replying to other people’s posts.
Being active in groups is the most time consuming of the five tips, and I’ve yet to directly find work this way. I have, however, expanded my network using groups, and some of the contacts I’ve made could become clients in the future.
Over to You
Do you use LinkedIn to find freelance gigs? If so, how? Has this article changed the way you view LinkedIn?