Can social media really help writers get freelance work? Which social networks are most effective for copywriters?
Did you know?
Only 37% of the 538 copywriters surveyed by the PCN have used social media to get new clients.
Source: PCN 2017 survey
I’ve been using social media for my business since 2014. In that time, I’ve set up profiles on Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and SnapChat. I’ve had LinkedIn and Twitter profiles for longer than this but wasn’t making use of them.
I’ve picked up some good jobs through LinkedIn and a couple of small things through Twitter, but nothing through any of the other networks.
With my strategy hat on, I recently decided to restrict the vast majority of my social media activities to LinkedIn and Twitter. The other networks weren’t doing anything for my business, so why bother continuing with them?
Before committing to any cull, I thought I’d ask some copywriting colleagues for their thoughts on whether social media can help you get writing work. Here are the responses of a quick poll of 72 copywriters:
Question 1: From which social networks have you directly secured a copywriting job?
Question 2: Which social network is most important to generating leads for your copywriting business?
We can’t draw too much from such a small sample size (the poll closed sooner than I was expecting), but the broad conclusions seem to be that copywriters are getting:
- some work from established networks (Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter)
- less work from newer networks (Snapchat, Instagram and Google+).
What other copywriters said
As well as capturing this data, I asked some copywriting colleagues for their thoughts. Here is a selection of the replies I received:
@espirian Voted ? Results are v. interesting. I've found Twitter the only social network that actually leads to work for me.
— Alex Roddie (@alex_roddie) March 23, 2017
How I get my copywriting work
Almost all my new clients come to me from two sources:
Source 1: Google searches
I get most of my work because of my search ranking. If you’re in the UK and use Google to look for technical writing services, you’ll find my website at the top of page 1, underneath the paid ads. That’s the result of putting in a lot of effort to raise my profile via my blog posts. I’ve written about this here: Being on page 7 of Google sucks.
Source 2: LinkedIn
I haven’t had quite the success that Sally’s had (see her figures above), but I often pick up good jobs via LinkedIn. What I’ve noticed is that clients who come to me via LinkedIn tend to be more willing to accept my day rates than are those who find me via Google.
If you’re interested in using LinkedIn to find clients looking for your services, check out this post: How to get freelance work on LinkedIn.
One more insight: where do bloggers share their content?
ConvertKit’s 2017 report on the state of the blogging industry (based on a survey of 850+ bloggers) shows that most content creators are sharing their posts primarily on Facebook and Twitter.
The graph shows that LinkedIn lags behind and yet, in my experience, that platform can be the most effective in terms of getting work.
My recommendation to copywriters who blog would be to get their content published on LinkedIn Pulse.
Let’s wrap up
Some people were enthusiastic about the power of social media to help copywriters get work. Others were less convinced, and the sensible middle ground seems to be that social media should be used as part of a self-employed writer’s strategy but not as the be all and end all of it.
Overall, I’m happy with my decision to focus my social media efforts on LinkedIn and Twitter. But more than this, I think it’s important to continue to add more value to my blog, as that’s what’s most effective for raising my profile and appealing to customers looking for a half-decent technical writer.
Over to you
Which social networks are working for you when it comes to getting new copywriting work?
If you’re someone looking to hire a copywriter, would you be inclined to look on social media first? Would seeing an active stream of social media accounts be more likely to convince you to hire someone? Or might it put you off?
I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below. Or catch up with me on Twitter (job offers optional).
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Who wrote this?
I'm John Espirian, the relentlessly helpful technical copywriter. I've written about IT and the web since 1998, and I'm a former Microsoft MVP. If you need B2B web content that explains how your products, services and processes work, I'm your guy.
The Espirian blog provides writing tips and how-to guides on improving your online presence and marketing your business.
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