• 5 ways to boost your freelance business on Facebook

    freelance businessA few years ago, like many others, I was thinking about leaving Facebook completely. That now seems crazy, as Facebook is one of the best places to be as a freelancer. With the combination of Facebook groups, Facebook pages, Facebook Live and being able to target your perfect audience, using Facebook to build your freelance business is a no brainier.

    Let’s look at some of the new ways to boost your freelance business through Facebook.

    Facebook pages

    Facebook Pages has added lots of lovely new stuff recently, including a header image that doesn’t get overlapped with the logo (at last), and a section for including your products and services. Now is a good time to revisit your page and check all the details. Set up an automated response if you regularly get messages through your page. Edit your button to go to your mailing, list, services page or to a video you’ve recorded. You can even link it up to book an appointment. Did you know you can also link up your Instagram profile now? This means that if you boost a post or create an ad through your page, it will also promote it on Instagram within that price.

    Facebook Canvas

    Facebook recently introduced a new way to create a Facebook ad that works as a mini website. Facebook Canvas lets you create a mini stream of content, including videos and images. It loads up to 10x faster than a web page on mobile, so it’s a great way to create a landing page for your services that convert better. You can find it in the publishing tools section of your page, and create it with several sections. This is ideal for launching a course, sharing the highlights of what you offer or a preview of the items you sell. If you want to see some clever brand examples, peek here.

    Facebook Live

    Live streaming continues to be a hot trend in 2016, and from a time-poor freelancer point of view it’s the perfect way to create quick and easy content. People respond well to video, because they get to know you as a freelancer. Facebook will be adding two people Live sessions and waiting rooms soon, I can’t wait to try out live interviews in the group! If you haven’t tried it yet, I’m challenging you to do one video this week on a topic you love. You can then download it afterwards and share it to your YouTube channel – instant content.

    Facebook Profile

    This isn’t anything new, but it’s something I see often. Make sure your profile lists your business, and ideally links to your page. So often, I’ll click on someone’s profile and their occupation will just be listed as ‘freelance’ or ‘self-employed’. That’s a prime opportunity wasted!

    Facebook Groups

    I’m sure you’ve seen a hundred posts in your Facebook feed now about how groups are the key to building a six figure business (SNORE, can we drop the obsession with six figure launches please, especially when they don’t mention the thousands they’ve spent on ads….). But communities are great for building your business – and not just for finding clients. I get so much inspiration from my group, and I know it helps with accountability, finding solutions to tricky client issues and building lots of relationships with other freelancers.

    (Are you a part of the Freelance Lifestylers community? Jump on the mailing list and you’ll get the link!)

    Are you using Facebook to its full potential to boost your freelance business?

  • Five Facebook groups for UK Freelancers

    Facebook groups for UK Freelancers

    One of the most common concerns I hear from freelancers, is about feeling lonely when working on their own. While there are plenty of ways to go out and meet other freelancers (co-working and networking in particular), the emergence of Facebook groups as online communities has been a vital and incredibly useful alternative. Over the last few years, some really great groups have popped up to help freelancers, entrepreneurs and home workers get that community feeling and support that we so desperately need. Additionally, I strongly believe that a great Facebook community can help you grow your own business and help others too – which is beneficial for the freelancing community in general. You can grow your business to a certain point on your own, but at some point you need to reach out and get help from others.

    Haven’t dipped your toe in the world of Facebook groups yet? Here are a few of my favourites.

    • Dexterous Divas and Dudes is one of my favourite online hangouts, so much so that I’ve become an admin in the group. A hub of supportive entrepreneurs, interesting discussions, weekly workshops and friendly tips, there’s rarely a week that passes that I don’t learn something new or connect with someone great in the group. To join the group, simply sign up to Jo Gifford’s excellent free newsletter. 
    • No1 Freelance Ladies’ Buddy Agency is a must for anyone that works on the freelance journalism (or even PR) side of the industry. Case studies are requested, fee advice exchanged and editor contact information sourced.
    • While The Members Group is not a free one (it’s a bonus of the Female Entrepreneur Association subscription which is worth it’s weight in gold), the discussions are brilliant and the advice is priceless. Carrie’s group is an extension of what she already offers – monthly packages of really useful information ranging from Facebook advertising to improving abundance. At the moment, there’s a waiting list to subscribe and join the group, which you can find here.
    • If you want to up your business book reading, The Coaching Book Club is a worthwhile look. Each month, a new business book is chosen and the group read it together and discuss it. Through the group, I’ve learnt about habit stacking, being brilliant everyday and eating frogs.
    • Finally, two groups from me! The Freelance Lifestylers is a free group where you can chat to other freelancers, share what you’re doing for each Pitch Slap Wednesday, discuss all things working from home and freelancing and generally meet lots of other lovely freelancers. My second group is the newly launched Social Lite Support Group, a monthly subscription group for those that want to up their social media game and grow their business, but aren’t ready to hire a social media consultant or coach. You can find out more information about the Social Lite Support Group here.

    Which Facebook groups do you rely on as a freelancer? Let me know your favourites in the comments below, or over on Twitter.

  • Join The Freelance Lifestylers Facebook group!

    The Freelance Lifestylers Facebook group

    The Freelance Lifestyle has a Facebook group!

    What does this mean for you? Well, you can join it, and chat with other freelancers about everything from work/life balance to chasing payments from clients. Hopefully, you may even find freelancers near you to meet up with, or bounce an idea around. If you’re not freelance yet, you can still join and ask for advice. It’s a community for YOU.

    It’s a FREE closed group, so anyone outside of the group won’t be able to see what you’re talking about (so it’s all support and help, rather than your Aunt Mildred poo pooing your ambition when it pops up in her feed).

    Want to join? Here’s the link!

  • The Freelance Lifestyle Tea Break Challenge – Meet other local people

    freelance lifestyle weekly challenge


    It’s time for the Freelance Lifestyle Tea Break Challenge!

    (Can we all pretend I’m not actually late posting this challenge? Yes? Wonderful!)

    So, this week, it’s all about community. Working from home or freelancing definitely has perks, but sometimes you just want to talk to someone other than the cat. Getting to know your local community means you can meet new contacts, friends, potential clients and discover lots of new things about the area.

    Check out the animation of five steps to get to know your community better, then let me know how YOU’RE going to get to know your community a little better this week.

  • Is social media making us a nation of moaners?

    This week, while browsing Facebook pages for work, I noticed one particular big brand offering a special deal in their shops. The deal was a generous one, but restricted to a certain time frame during the day. It didn’t get quite the positive reaction they probably hoped for.

    While there were some justified complaints about the deal, a lot of the complaints revolved around it being ‘unfair’ that the deal is on while they’re at work, or ‘unfair’ because they don’t have a store near them.

    This is bizarre, no? A business isn’t required to do a special offer, and it certainly doesn’t owe its customers that. Additionally, deals rarely cater for every type of customer (often they’re used to boost custom at a time that’s usually quiet). ‘Unfair’ would be if it was restricted to blondes, or people called George.

    I’ve had experience of this myself with a page I deal with that does a local sale twice a year. Every time we do it, we get complaints that a) the sale isn’t online too b) an item has run out of stock or c) the item they want isn’t in the sale.

    Would those same people go into Topshop and complain that their favourite dress isn’t in the sale? Or it’s sold out? Unlikely.

    I don’t have a problem in general with complaints on social media. We all do it. If it’s constructive, it’s worth mentioning.

    Social media is a wonderful way to promote a business and provide consumers with a way to get directly in contact with that brand. But perhaps it’s also given consumers a feeling of entitlement. And a lack of manners. I suspect a lot of the comments made on Facebook would never be made face-to-face. I also suspect a lot of those comments come from ignorance. Businesses aren’t perfect, and maybe we need to give them a little more slack when they make the odd mistake.

    Or could it be that Facebook finally gives us a forum to tell brands what we really think – which could help their strategy long-term?

    What do you think? Are consumers developing a sense of entitlement, or are they just voicing their opinions?

    (And yes, I see the irony in moaning about others moaning… )

  • Getting to know your local community: Gossip Girls

    Just a quick post today to let you know about a project I got involved in recently (well, last night to be precise). Across the UK are a string of Facebook groups called ‘Gossip Girls’ groups, which bring together the women in each area to discuss everything from builder recommendations to how to deal with an issue within their community. I’ve been a member of the Wokingham Gossip Girls for a while, which is run by Rachel Bradley. Rachel has helped several other groups start up in the area, and has just finished kindly helping me launch the Bracknell Gossip Girls (feel free to join if you live in the local area).

    The benefit of groups like this for a freelancer, and I think for a lot of mums too, is that they have a really supportive, friendly community feeling – something that a lot of areas are sadly lacking. If you’re freelance, it’s nice to know you can pop in there and either search the discussion or post “I am in desperate need of rentable office space/a plumber/vast quantities of wine” and receive recommendations from your local fairy godmothers.

    Think of it as a lady-filled Twitter especially for your area.

    The other benefit of the Gossip Girls group, is that you can promote your own business on the 1st of each month (and ONLY the 1st of each month to avoid spam). On the last day of the month, you can also promote any sales you might be having.

    So to sum up, it’s a great way to get to know others in the area, get recommendations, keep up with local news AND promote your own services.

    If you want to start up your own group in your local area, drop me an email and I’ll point you in the right direction. It takes literally minutes to set up, although you will have to admin it.

    Are you part of a Gossip Girl group near you?

  • OnlyWire: Posting to multiple social services in one click

    The great thing about Twitter, is that you can often find out some pretty interesting stuff from events that you can’t attend yourself. Yesterday, BlogCamp took place and I followed the hashtag #blogcamp with interest. One of the most interesting tweets for me was this one:

    Sharing content to multiple social bookmarking and networking sites is a time-consuming task. Login, submit, login, submit, login, submit….you get the picture. I’ll be honest, I’ve neglected Delicious, Digg and Reddit over the last year, but Sally’s tweet has given me a kick up the backside.

    One way of saving time with submitting links, is to use a service like OnlyWire.

    OnlyWire lets you send one link, with a title, overview and tags, to all your social networking sites. You’ll need to set it up first by creating a (free) account and logging into all your chosen accounts. Thankfully, you’ll only need to do this once. Once you’re set up, you can submit a link on the website, and it’s distributed to your chosen sites. You can also set up several submissions at once, which is handy if you write for several sites.

    You can also download a bookmarklet and WordPress Plugin too. If you scroll down this post, you’ll be able to use the button just above the Sexy Bookmarks.

    I’d suggest using something like this on a daily basis if you blog regularly, or a weekly basis if you prefer to do a batch at once.

    One thing to remember though. Sites like Delicious, Stumbleupon and Reddit frown upon multiple submissions from the same site, so try to make sure you spend a little time each week sharing other content too. Most of the sites have mobile apps, so you can do it while waiting for the bus/waiting for your dinner to cook/waiting in the playground.

    How do you share your content? 

  • How many social media networks are you on?

    Google+ is the current darling of the social media world, with ‘experts’ claiming it’ll replace Facebook in no time.

    They said the same about Twitter.

    The thing is, each of the social networks appeal to a different group of people. Which is why some people have a dozen social networks, and others stick to one.

    Facebook is the personal network, where you can update your relationship status, comment on other updates and share (sometimes a little too much) your thoughts on the day.

    Twitter is mainly made up of media types, who care about grammar and don’t really care for passive aggressive statuses (that’s not to say they’re not still on Facebook, doing just that). It’s also where people test out their wittiest remarks.

    Google+…at the moment, Google+ seems more like an extended version of Twitter. Plenty of business and social media chat, but with extended profiles and the ability to comment and share directly on updates.

    So perhaps there’s space for them all. Which got me thinking about how many social media networks I regularly use.

    • Facebook: For work accounts and keeping up with birthdays.
    • Twitter: The one I use most, for personal and professional means.
    • LinkedIn: I don’t use LinkedIn as much as I should, but I’m trying to get involved in more group discussions. Additionally, I add a LinkedIn recommendation request to the invoices of clients I’ve just finished working with.
    • Google+: At the moment, I use it mainly for sharing content and keeping up with Google+ trends and social media trends in general. However, as more people join from outside the ‘social media experts’ arena, the content should hopefully evolve into something more varied.
    • Fancy: To source new products and save them in an online scrapbook. Also, superb for finding devilish dessert recipes.
    • Tumblr: For all the pretty things and Instagram shots I take, that don’t fit in elsewhere.
    • Instagram: Mainly use it to take photos of my dinner. Or fancy cakes. Or my dog. All my Instagram photos end up on my Tumblr.
    • Qype: Addicted to reviewing places, and Qype gives me the opportunity to do that while earning badges and getting the opportunity to go to free events.
    • Quora: The initial hype for this Q&A site is over, but I still like to use it to crowdsource for answers when Twitter can’t help.
    • Stumbleupon: My first stop for social bookmarking. The sexy new iPad app makes it a lot more user-friendly too. I also occasionally use Delicious and Diggit.
    • Flickr and YouTube: I’m a lurker on these two, viewing (and using for work) but rarely contributing.

    So, how many do you use? And what do you use them for? Let me know in the comments!