LinkedIn for Freelancers and Small Business Owners
Freelancer social media ad campaigns abound on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
These platforms offer many business benefits to freelance digital service providers.
However, if you’ve neglected your LinkedIn profile and feed, you could be missing a truckload of leads and opportunities to grow.
LinkedIn provides an unparalleled opportunity to showcase your work, tell your story, and connect with more owners, directors, and managers who need what you have to offer.
We’re Dominate with SEO, and we’ll help you flex on LinkedIn, the social media platform for professionals who know how to adult.
And by adulting, we mean LinkedIn users are more likely to hire you rather than offering a smiley-face comment on your latest cat video.
LinkedIn: a perfect place for creatives to show off professionally
While other social media platforms work well for pictures of your dog, the cake you baked last week, and your top five movie choices of all time, LinkedIn is your living digital resume.
Treat it as such and spend time and effort, making your profile a reliable precursor to an interview with you.
If you haven’t visited your LinkedIn profile in forever, open up another tab, and do it now.
Go on; we’ll wait.
As we walk you through several LinkedIn freelancer best practices, you can begin making updates to your page.
You can also bookmark this post for future reference as you build or re-tool your LinkedIn persona.
The tips we’ve listed to create a winning LinkedIn profile are interchangeable.
Do make sure you tick all the boxes, though, no matter what order you choose.
We get it. Creatives like you are different – you need to do things your way. So do we.
We also know when to follow as well as lead, and the advice we’re giving you works to make you more visible to potential new clients.
Combining what you do with how you do it
As a freelancer and creative, you’ll want to use your LinkedIn profile to showcase your services, talents, achievements, reviews, endorsements, values, and personality.
Let’s begin by defining how you best love to work.
LinkedIn allows you to get super-specific about the type of audience and clients you want to attract.
To do that, you must be clear about what you do and how you most enjoy doing it to magnetise the clients and projects who fit you best.
If you’ve worked with any clientele so far in your service area, you’ve likely discovered that you work better with some people or project types than others.
Do a bit of self-discovery here. Make a list of your favourite, most joyful, and highest quality projects as well as the clients with whom you “clicked” the best. Go back in your mind a few months or a few years.
Can you picture those clients who were easy to please? You could practically read their minds, effortlessly interpret their needs, desires, and quickly strategise how best to meet them.
The work that followed those connections was likely among your best, right?
So, list the client or projects that rocked your world, and then list why those jobs were terrific.
You’ll use that information in your LinkedIn “about” section.
Clean, purge, and update
If you already have a LinkedIn profile, give it a good going-over.
Update your projects, awards, experiences, certificates, and anything else woefully out of date.
Remove any non-professional or irrelevant photos. If you have a newer version of your CV, upload it and get rid of the old one.
Choose or take several high-quality photos that represent your work for the last year or so.
Update any writing or image portfolios to reflect your most current work examples.
Be sure to upload portfolio links and check that they direct your profile visitors to the right place in a new tab.
The only profile picture you need is a solid headshot.
Though it may seem intuitive to use a picture of your work, art, design, or business logo as your profile picture, this is a mistake.
A high-quality headshot as your profile picture makes you easy to recognise for new client meetings or interviews.
Also, letting people know what you look like builds trust before you ever meet in person.
The growth of your service business thrives on trust, so take advantage of every opportunity to be authentic in your LinkedIn presentation.
If you offer a visual service like graphic design, branding and marketing work, illustration, or something else, place those photos in an online portfolio (we like clippings.me) and link it up in your online resume or another section of your LinkedIn profile.
Here are few essentials for a flawless profile pic:
● No group shots, just you in the photo.
● Make it current. Using a glamour shot from ten years ago is an absolute no-no. If you grow a beard next week and intend to keep it, update your profile photo with all your facial hair glory.
● Keep your photo clear and your face visible and well-framed. That’s why it’s called a headshot.
● Hire one of your freelance professional photographer colleagues to help you get the best lighting, angle, and facial expression. They’ll thank you for the business (because we all gotta help each other out), and you’ll get a headshot devoid of hair disasters, resting grumpy face, or a permanent record of your horrible sweater choice.
Showcase your style in your background image, but not your work
Your background image can and should do two things:
- Say a little something about the aesthetics and design with which you work well
- Complement the rest of your page without screaming, “I’m desperate to get hired; here’s all the work I’ve done.”
Consider your brand aesthetics here and use them in your background image.
Steer clear of stock photos. Choose design elements that communicate who you are as a service provider, like brand colours, logo design, or perhaps a tagline in your brand-centric font.
Size your background image to 1536 x 768 for the best results on-page.
Again, hiring one of your colleagues is a good choice, especially if you are a graphic designer yourself.
Getting an outside perspective on the look of your profile page gets you out of your professional bubble and helps you communicate your brand message more effectively.
Nail your headline and summary to attract your dream clients
Industry keywords and impactful vocabulary must collaborate seamlessly in your headline to create a memorable first impression.
These words are the first your visitors read, so make them count.
In your summary, expand and play on your skills, describing the work and clientele you live for.
This is where your enthusiasm, sincerity, quirky-ness, and the way you love to work will help you stand out from a crowded sea of similarly-qualified freelancers.
Remember that list you made at the beginning of this article?
Whip it out now and use it to craft your headline and summary.
Then, get some colleagues and friends to read it over.
Ask them if they believe what you’ve written, and if it sounds like “you.”
Keep re-writing and checking with your group mates until you’ve got a version you can publish with confidence. Resist the urge to shorten your summary.
You can go a little nuts with word count, using at least 500 words to say who you are, what you do, and how you most like to do it.
Finally, include a list of your skills using all the industry keywords you can research.
More is more in this section. You’ll be more searchable on LinkedIn when you research and utilise keywords relevant to your work all over your profile.
Regular posts mean more visibility
Now that you’ve created or updated your winning profile, get out there and talk about stuff.
Post recent work examples in your feed and tag your clients’ companies. You’ll be giving them and you more publicity and engagement.
Be sure to post about topics relevant to your sector. Create written content your visitors can use.
Share the triumphs of others in your field or related fields. Post about the causes you support and how you’ve done that. Highlight non-profit work.
“Brag” in non-annoying ways about one or two recent accomplishments: don’t overdo it, but do mention events, projects, or finishes that represent your hard work and your joy of completion.
Remember, keep your posts professionally relevant, useful to your audience, and don’t get too salesy in your feed.
It’s okay to post about a seasonal service special, but mix those posts sporadically with your other content.
If you join LinkedIn user groups (which we recommend), resist the urge to sell there as well.
You know as well as we do those people are completely annoying.
Endorse your friends and colleagues and ask for the same
You get what you give, so take opportunities to provide shout-outs in your feed and endorsements to other professionals you know.
You can also request them from others when you’re generous with giving them out.
Learn about your target clients
LinkedIn uniquely provides search opportunities for any number of professional criteria. You can look for and learn about your target audience by searching:
● Company name
● Company roles and who holds them
● Products, services, and growth rates
● Departmental employee structure
Having such robust information can inspire you into new and innovative ways to serve the needs of your desired clientele.
You can speak more directly to their pain points when you know precisely what they are!
Ready, set, LinkedIn
Using LinkedIn to grow your business or practice is a learning curve, to be sure.
When you have an active profile created based on our tips, you can branch out into more extensive searches, metrics, content creation, and more.
Gear up your profile page and then get out there and start connecting with people you know and people they know.
You’ll get the hang of the rest with consistent posting and engaging with other people on the platform.
Don’t panic about making LinkedIn mistakes – we’ve all done a classic “don’t” in our digital history.
As long as you tell the truth about who you are in your profile, and let your authenticity be your guide, you’ll find a robust community of followers, customers, and contacts in no time.
Author Bio: Dominate with SEO is a Minneapolis-based digital marketing industry blog, run by Samuel Romain. He is an SEO industry expert who loves to share the most current info on social media, content, and digital marketing trends.
When he’s not consulting about creative digital solutions, he loves to fish, read, and spend time with his family.