Over the years, we’ve been fairly active on social media. On and off, we’ve used a combination of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Twitter helped us get a few PR hits, but never resulted in a lead — so we stopped focusing there. In this section, we’ll cover Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram, since that’s where we’ve received the most social media leads over the years.
Some tactics we’ve tried over the years:
- We have a LinkedIn business page, but we’ve never gotten leads from it.
- We used to have a Facebook business page, but eventually deleted it.
- Our Instagram is mostly for personal use, but we’ve won one good client using it. We’re open to investing more heavily there.
- Our biggest wins with social media have come through joining relevant Facebook groups and interacting with our ideal clients on LinkedIn (using our personal profiles).
- We’ve had some success with content marketing on LinkedIn. Also, we’ve been hired through LinkedIn organic search and LinkedIn ProFinder.
- It’s often hard to measure the ROI of social media for a service business. Most of our time on social media feels completely wasted — like a total time suck.
- We get a lot of traction from other freelancers and minimal traction from our ideal clients.
- In summary: We know social media can have a massive impact, but right now it feels mostly like a drain on our time, with occasional wins.
You don’t have to go viral or build a massive audience to experience big wins for your business on social media. Big wins for freelancers and agencies can happen in the small conversations that happen on social media: interactions in comments, DMs, and social shares that drive just a few people to your website or profile.
Real business impact: one-to-one
When you know your ideal customers, one-on-one interactions on social media become the lifeblood of your business.
You can begin engaging with their content, even dropping links to your website or work in the comments or DMs (when they’re relevant and not forced).
Seriously, contact people directly. Most articles about social media success talk about virality and building an audience. But achieving success for your business — whether it’s through leads, clients, and referrals — might come more often through personal interactions.
Getting traction on LinkedIn
LinkedIn can be a goldmine for finding B2B leads for agencies and freelancers. Take one hour weekly to plan out 2-3 posts for that week, tailored toward your ideal customer. Try to work 2ish weeks out in advance.
Expand your reach with hashtags
Think of a few relevant keywords your target audience might be using. (If you don’t already know some, you can skip ahead to Chapter 4 for keyword finding tips.) Search for individual keywords and phrases in the search bar. Consider the hashtags being used in the most popular posts. Click those hashtags to see how many people follow them. If it’s a decent crowd, make that hashtag part of your regular posting strategy.
Create content for two people
We’ve learned that it’s much easier to get traction providing value to other freelancers
than our core audience. The key isn’t to ignore the easy traction or to only double down
on whatever gets the most likes.
Instead, do a mix of both. If you’re posting 3 times per week, make two of those posts
tailored directly to helping your ideal customers. You can use the third post to share fun
business stories that other freelancers and agency owners can relate to, like how you
landed your first client.
Use the search bar
What would your ideal customer post on LinkedIn if they were looking for your services? Maybe something like…
- “Looking for a web designer”
- “Our company is hiring a freelance developer”
- “We need a social media ads manager”
- “Looking for a B2B content writer”
- “Hiring a headshot photographer”
You get the picture…
Use the LinkedIn search bar to search these phrases. (Sort the Content category by Latest instead of Relevance to see the most recent requests.)
As long as you’re willing to scroll through some irrelevant posts, you’ll often stumble on businesses looking for your exact services. All you have to do is pitch them!
LinkedIn also has a lesser-known service for connecting freelancers to anyone hiring contractors.
When you sign up for LinkedIn Profinder, you’ll receive periodic notifications from LinkedIn when someone near you is looking for your services. Profinder allows up to five freelancers to bid on a single project — so it’s worthwhile to construct a thoughtful pitch.
Kicking butt on Facebook
50-50 model for Facebook groups
Joining Facebook groups is a great way to find quality leads. But which groups do you join?
We recommend a 50-50 model. Half of the groups you join should be where your ideal clients spend time. In our case, we’ve joined several SaaS Facebook groups over the years — and this has turned into many leads over the years.
You should also spend half your time in groups with your peers. These are groups where other freelancers and agencies might be looking to refer out work or even partner on projects.
Once you’ve joined some of these groups, become an active member of the group.
When it’s natural, talk about yourself and your services. Sometimes you’ll even be able to
organically share a link to your website.
Create your own Facebook group
Another way to get traction on Facebook is by building a community. This contains all the
benefits of joining communities, except with a few additional privileges.
Beyond the obvious benefits, like being the moderator or setting community rules, you also get to be seen as an authority to anyone who joins the group.
It’s like the difference between attending a big conference and speaking at a big conference. The speaker carries more authority than random strangers you bump into in the hallway.
What about Facebook posts and pages?
The biggest wins on Facebook these days come from Facebook groups. Business pages
have infamously lost a lot of their organic power over the years.
If you want your followers to see your latest post, it’s often a matter of paying-to-play. But that doesn’t mean you should delete your Facebook business page.
You’ll need that to run Facebook ads, which we covered in our other article. Posting from your personal account might get you more traction than posting from a business page. But you have to stop and ask yourself: Are these interactions moving my business forward?
For us, posting on our personal Facebook pages means getting a couple of quick likes
from friends and family. It’s not ideal for reaching our target audience.
Grow a B2B following on Instagram
Instagram is great for gaining brand visibility and sharing your wins. As you’d expect, It tends to be a personal platform where everyone shares pictures from
But just because Instagram is personal doesn’t mean you should double your
personal Instagram account as your business account.
And if you’re a joint-venture like us, it makes more sense to create a shared Instagram account to represent the business instead of just one person.
Now, here’s how you should think about posting.
Instagram users spend most of their time watching Stories. So that’s where you want to be posting content regularly — every day, if you can.
You can talk to the camera vlogger style, share images and graphics, or just post written content straight to the story. Share wins, things you’re learning, discounts you’re offering, and even your hot take on a trending topic.
Using hashtags in your stories can broadcast them to a larger audience to help you grow your following!
What should you share in Instagram posts? As we mentioned, Instagram is a highly personal platform. People respond well to pictures of you, stories about your big wins and past struggles — the things that make you human.
But it can be hard to always come up with another story about yourself every time your post. You can also infuse things like quotes or tips of the trade. In terms of frequency, a minimum of 2-3 posts per week is recommended. Posting something every day is even better.
The keyword here is cohesive. When someone lands on your Instagram feed, it’s professional to have a consistent appearance across your posts.
This can mean using the same four colors in all your graphics, using the same font every time you post, and maybe even timing certain types of posts to appear with calculated regularity in the feed.
Use tools like Sociabbly to see how your grid is going to look once your scheduled posts go live.
Instagram just launched its TikTok competitor: Reels.
How do you get traction on it? Think of Reels as a mix between Instagram Stories and TikTok.
Reels lives on the Explore page for now, which means it could be a great way to get your content in front of complete strangers — hopefully, your ideal audience.
Use Reels as a place to tell your brand story by introducing yourself, telling a bit about what you do, providing actionable lessons, and even showcasing work.
Instagram doesn’t offer a trending hashtag section yet, but once that rolls out, it might be worth including relevant hashtags, songs, and trends (similar to TikTok) in your posts.
If you’re already on TikTok, you can repurpose your existing videos for Instagram Reels to get double the traction for half the work.
How to find quality hashtags
Instagram has done an excellent job curating hashtags. As you start typing broader keywords into Instagram, it provides you additional related hashtag suggestions.
Like posting on LinkedIn, it helps to determine the best hashtags by seeing where the engagement is happening. Where do you see people getting a lot of traction for their hashtags? Mimic what you see working using the hashtags you see trending in your industry.
Level up your social media posting
Dedicated content creation days
Posting on social media every day is a big ask. Many entrepreneurs may prefer to batch their content creation into a single day and then schedule each post to publish over the next week.
For Bronte, content creation day is Wednesday. The exact day matters less than the outcome: you set aside a short block of time every week to create and schedule social media posts.
All systems engage
Posting high-value content is just one part of the content marketing puzzle. It’s also essential to interact with other people’s posts by leaving thoughtful comments that add to the conversation happening on someone else’s feed.
Simple interactions like these — especially on pre-viral content — can get your ideas in front of many people, helping you reach your target audience using someone else’s following.
Secret ingredients: Time, frequency, and pioneering
Occasionally someone will come up with a couple of one-off tactics to quickly amass a large following on social media. It’s flashy and exciting when it happens, but it’s not usually easy to replicate.
Instead, the best way to grow an engaged following on social media is to let three words
do their honest work: time, frequency, pioneering.
As you consistently share ideas and stories, more and more people will find your content
online and follow you. You’ll also learn what types of posts resonate best with your
audience, improving engagement as you grow.
And the people most of us love to follow on social media (outside of people we know),
have another thing in common: they pioneer trends instead of just following them.
So experiment. If everyone in your industry posts the same thing, mix things up. Try
Bring followers to your newsletter
One of the hurdles of content marketing on social media is that an audience can (in
theory) disappear in a day. As you build your following on LinkedIn, Instagram, and other
social platforms, it’s worthwhile to frequently nudge followers to subscribe to an email list.
If you feel like this is out of your league, or you feel like your ads just aren’t performing… remember to always e-mail us for some free advice. Click here and we’ll answer any queries you may have!
Originally written by Bronte Mojdehi for Sumo.