So you've been freelancing for a while now, and you're over applying for gigs on sites like Upwork and Freelancer. Mainly because it's really annoying having to put in all the work to write a pitch, answer their questions and then… crickets. You hear nothing.
Now what? Where do you find your next freelancing gig if you're not active on these freelancing sites? It was a question I faced 12 months on in my full-time freelancing business.
I'd decided it was time to spread my wings and find some other ways to find clients and more meaningful work.
Enter social media groups, specifically Facebook and LinkedIn groups. I've previously talked about how you can find clients on social media, but I haven't talked about the power of groups.
But be warned, this does take a bit of effort and action on your part, so if you're not prepared to cultivate this strategy, then it's back to Upwork for you my friend…
Using Social Media Groups to Find Freelance Work
First things first, before you jump into Facebook and LinkedIn, you need to do a bit of research and find out which groups are going to best suit your needs.
If you're focus is solely on finding more work, then focus on the groups that are set up for this purpose. There is no point joining a group, only to find that you're not allowed to solicit its members or mention your availability and capabilities.
Here's how you go about finding those groups:
Step #1: Search within Facebook or LinkedIn for your skill, i.e., “freelance writer”, or “freelance designer”. You'll mostly find all the public and closed groups (which you'll need to ask to join) that are available. You won't find any of the “secret” groups on Facebook, these you can only access via invitation, generally from a course you've taken of the owners.
Step #2: Also search local or niche-specific groups, where small business owners are specifically looking for help and recommendations. These types of groups require you to cultivate a relationship and be seen as quite active. Being helpful in these types of groups will net you the most rewards.
Step #3: If you've made some connections with other freelancers, ask them if they know of any groups you could join as well. If you want to take it one step further, joining a meetup.com group is another way to find local businesses to work with.
Once you've sussed out the groups you'd like to join, go ahead and join them. But beware… don't join more than five, it's difficult to maintain any sort of presence in one group let along 10 groups, so pick and choose carefully.
Once you're inside, lurk around for a couple of weeks to find out the ‘feel' or vibe of the group is. Don't forget to read any rules or documents provided when you first join the group. This will ensure you don't make any major fopars!
If you've done lurking, it's time to start cultivating relationships, showing how helpful you are and establishing yourself as a relative expert.
The best way to do that is to spend at least 30 minutes a day inside these groups, commenting, asking questions and engaging where possible. Being helpful lets people know that you're approachable and it keeps you top of mind should a client of their's ask for a recommendation that matches your skill set.
Ok Lise, that's great, I've joined these groups, but how do I find the gigs already?!
The secret to finding work via social media groups? Never asking for it!
Are you picking up what I'm laying down right here? Be insanely helpful, share your ‘secrets' and you'll find that your next freelancing gig won't be too far off. In fact, you can take it one step further and only ever be helpful. Never share your own work or promotional links, even if they are allowed. Let your helpfulness speak for itself and you'll have no problems at all finding your next gig.
Using this tactic, I've found my last 10 clients. It is by far the easiest (and cheapest) strategy freelancers can use to find the clients that value their work and are great to work with.
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