Every freelance writer needs to develop the skills of self-promotion to pick up more freelance work and to improve visibility online. More than likely you already know about different self-promotion techniques used by freelance writers, such as networking, speaking at seminars, writing articles, and sending out press releases. Twitter can be used as another self-promotion technique to brand yourself as an expert as you share your “know-how” with interested readers and loyal followers.
MARKETING ON TWITTER
Twitter is an engaging, fun way of promoting yourself and your business by
tweeting relevant information. Even if your current clients don’t regularly access Twitter to read tweets or tweet themselves, you should still actively tweet so that when they do go to Twitter they can read your recent and previous tweets.
After business meetings, during networking events, or in emails to editors, you can mention your Twitter address as a means of encouraging important people to socialize and connect with you. Being on Twitter can also facilitate communication with clients, especially during projects that require hourly updates. Informally, you can use Twitter to announce a date change for a workshop or to send a “Seasons Greetings” message to your followers.
WHAT WILL YOU USE TWITTER FOR?
Twitter adds another marketing venue to promote yourself and your skills; it also reinforces your other marketing strategies. Many freelance writers use Twitter to convert clients into loyal Twitter followers, thus allowing them to tweet relevant news, events, and special business announcements to their clients. Other writers use Twitter to monitor the activities of favorite magazine editors, business clients, book authors, and fellow freelancers.
The following tips will help you to establish your profile on Twitter and tweet your first announcement.
TIP #1: OPEN YOUR OWN TWITTER ACCOUNT
Sign up for a free account. Go to https://twitter.com and click on “Sign up for a Twitter Account.” Complete the information and submit. Yes, it’s that simple.
This is what the “Sign Up” screen looks like. When you are not logged in as a registered user, you will see this screen. It also serves as the “home page” of Twitter.
TIP #2: CREATE A PERSONAL PROFILE
The profile is the most important part because it will showcase your personality, your business, and your skill-set. The profile is a branding tool. Just like a business card, it introduces you in a formal (or informal) way. What you include in your profile, the way you write it, and the images that you use all contribute to the “first impression” of who you are. Obviously, you’d want to take your time on your profile. If you’re stumped, visit Twitter profiles of other freelance writers and learn how they’ve made their profiles
engaging and meaningful.
To edit or create a new profile, click on the little “gear” icon and then click on “Edit profile.” This will take you to the “Profile Editing” screen.
Upload a your business logo or a headshot of yourself. A headshot is recommended because people can put a face to your tweets. Besides, a photo adds more personality and a human touch. Insert your location because people like to know what part of the country you live in. Add your website address. Your website address will be placed right below your profile. It will take people directly to your website to learn more about you. Last, write an informative bio. You only have 160 characters, so make each word and thought count.
Another advantage of having a profile is that you can link to and from it. For
example, if a magazine recently published your article, you can tweet about it with a link to your article at the magazine’s website. If you write articles for self-promotion, you can include your Twitter address in your articles so that readers can subscribe to your tweets. It’s a win-win scenario. As you can see, it’s essential that your account has a rich profile, one that’s designed to clinch sales and bag jobs!
TIP #3: KEEP ACTIVE
Keep your profile lively by constantly updating your status. Tweet about the latest gigs that you’ve completed, something new you learned today, a client testimonial, advice on writing, events that you will attend…you get the point. Along with short tweets, you can also share what you like, your personal interests, and what you will do over the weekend with your kids. Tweets also allow you to attach photos–when necessary, attach a photo to create more interest.
This is the familiar Twitter “tweet” box that you will use to tweet your information in under 140 characters. If you want to master “the tweet,” read tweets posted by other freelance writers and see how they do it.
TIP #4: UPGRADE YOUR STATUS
If you become good or even great at Twitter, your status could go “viral.” Over time you will accumulate a loyal following of like-minded Tweeters. As you attract more readers, you gain more followers. These followers become fans of your tweets and retweet them to their own followers, automatically generating more followers for you.
This well-known freelance writer who writes for CNNMoney and NYTimes.com has over 77,000 followers. This is considered “viral.” The average freelance writer may have only under 1,000 followers.
TIP #5: SHARE INFORMATION THROUGH TWEETS
Twitter enables you to post short blurbs running only 140 characters long so it’s important to make each word count. Not every tweet needs to sounds newsy, or professional, or stilted. The best tweets add a touch of personality or a sense of humor with something relevant or useful. Over time your followers will develop a sense of who you are as a person. As you share information via tweets, also share some of your personality.
TIP #6: IMPROVED VISIBILITY
Twitter automatically makes your profile and tweets visible to everyone, including search engines. As a free form of advertising, this counts as unlimited exposure in the public eye. It gives you a vast playground to amuse and entertain your followers.
If you have a unique Twitter Profile name, it usually shows up in the top 10 results of a Google search. For example, if your name is Emily Trent from Ohio, a person can type this into Google and find that you have a Twitter account.
TIP #7: WRITE IN FAN PAGES
Like Facebook, Twitter is also famous for its fan pages. Here’s where you can
establish your presence and make your social profile even more public. People enjoy following popular celebrities, fashionable products, new trends, and big-time companies. Twitter can be the place where you can broaden your knowledge if you write on celebrity news, entertainment, fashion, finance, or business.
TIP #8: EXPRESS YOUR VIEWS
Twitter represents a social and self-expressive environment, allowing you to express your more serious thoughts. Usually, followers come together and gather at Twitter to discuss the latest news or rally behind a cause. It’s even more useful when your voice gets heard in writers’ organizations. If people listen to your opinion and respect your judgment, they are more likely to do business with you.
TIP #9: HOST PRIVATE AND PUBLIC DISCUSSIONS
You can do more than comment and express your views at Twitter. You can also host discussions, public or private. Hosting timely and informative discussions will interest your followers to join you at Twitter at a specific time, and it will attract more attention from non-followers.
Twitter makes it easy to reply directly to another follower or reader. Just click on “Reply” under the user’s tweet and send the user a message.
TIP #10: SEND DIRECT MESSAGES
Many writers use Twitter to send short messages directly to their followers, which may include clients and editors. In line with human relations, this direct one-on-one messaging impresses upon your clients that you are attentive to their needs and you are thinking about them. These messages go directly to your recipient’s inbox for private reading. This offers a more personal way of offering your services as a freelance writer.