• The Freelancer’s Teabreak #20: Are you getting the most out of LinkedIn?



    It’s podcast time! Pop the kettle on, grab your favourite biscuits (hell, it’s Friday, cut yourself a huge slice of cake) and have a listen to this week’s three minute Freelancer’s Teabreak.

    This week, we’re diving into everyone’s 9th favourite social network – LinkedIn. To be frank, it’s not usually the social network many of us gravitate towards, but it actually has a lot to offer freelancers. I’ve shared a few tips for how to get the most out of it – and potentially land a client.

    To catch this week’s three minute podcast, subscribe on iTunes.

    Do you use LinkedIn regularly? Have you got any success stories? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!

    p.s Want to know how to record, edit, upload and blog about a podcast in 15 minutes? I’ve got a Periscope video coming up on the blog very soon about that….

  • The Weekly Freelance Challenge: Get recommendations

    The Weekly Freelance Challenge does exactly what it says on the tin. Each week, I’ll set a challenge that I will take part in, and it’s open for anyone to join in. One week it might be about improving productivity or finding new clients, and the next week it might be about how to lead a healthier freelance lifestyle. Feel free to join in and leave a comment with your progress, leave a comment on my Facebook page or use the Twitter hashtag #TWFCUK (a football team have nabbed TWFC!).

    Last week’s challenge

    Last week’s challenge was all about updating your Twitter bio. I gave mine a bit of a rewording, and threw in a few more keywords. How did you get on? Did your bio need an updating?

    This week’s challenge

    This week is another simple one, but one that you might feel a little shy about: asking for recommendations. A great recommendation (or even better, several great recommendations) could be just the trigger for a potential client to get in contact if you display them on your website. I’ve got them in my packages section if you want to see some examples. It’s a scary thing to ask for, but most people are more than happy to provide one. I’ve had the odd bit of business through this when I’ve used the LinkedIn method too, so it’s worth doing.

    There are two ways to do this:

    • Email your previous and current clients directly asking for a recommendation. One way to do this is to add it as a note on the end of your invoice. Something like “I hope you’re happy with the work I’ve done for you. If you are and have a minute, I’d really appreciate a short recommendation for my website”
    • Do it through LinkedIn. This is the easier method if you’re shy, as you can just send a request through their website as a standard business procedure. The other benefit of this method is that it will be displayed on your page, which will add more oomph to your profile. I like oomph.
    Once you’re done, let me know how you’ve got on in the comments, or on Twitter using the hashtag #TWFCUK!

  • Not another stuffy LinkedIn group…Homeworkers UK: Freelancers

    Linked In groups are a bit…well, stuffy really aren’t they? Full of cocky hardcore sales types promoting their businesses and trying to persuade you to buy their product or service right now. Not all groups obviously, but a lot of the ones I’ve tried have been filled with those types.

    (Y’know, the type of people you avoid in real life networking events because they have a tendency to ram their business card down your throat? And the types that call Twitter ‘Twatter’ and laugh heartily at their ‘original’ joke.)

    This is pretty much why I’m awful at spending time on the groups networking (even if it’s on my list of things I Should Be Doing).

    Anyway, not to get all ‘my group is better than your group’, but the Homeworkers UK group is a lovely group full of friendly people who are quite happy to just chat. No sales script here. For homeworkers, it’s like Twitter but without the character limit. And if you work from home, it’s a pretty great place for sharing problems and ideas and getting feedback. So far, we’ve chatted about our favourite bits about working from home, how to juggle freelancing and family and why we chose to go freelancing.

    Off the back of the success of this group, a few sub groups have been formed – and I’ll be moderating the ‘Freelancers’ subgroup. So, if you want to go somewhere other than Twitter to chat about freelancing and the joys and perils of working for yourself, come join!

    Do you get involved with LinkedIn? Or only log in when someone has requested to be a contact?

  • 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 do you measure a blog’s success?

    This morning, I woke up to a Twitter DM from the lovely beauty blogger Tsunimee enquiring about how valid Google Friends Connect is as a measurement of your blog readers. A lot of beauty bloggers seem to use it as a guide to how popular their blog is, and to an extent it does prove to visitors how many regular readers you have.

    The thing is, there are so many ways for someone to subscribe to a blog that it’s difficult to rely on one tool to showcase how popular your blog is. Visitors to your blog could:

    • Sign up to your RSS feed, or through your Feedburner feed
    • Sign up to a newsletter if you have one
    • Add you on BlogLovin’
    • Add themselves to your Google Friends Connect
    • Follow you on Twitter
    • Follow you on Facebook
    • Follow you on LinkedIn
    • Follow you on Google+

    You get the picture…

    Some people may use several of these methods, while others may choose just one or two. As long as they’re reading your content, does it really matter how many options you give them to subscribe?

    The alternative way to measure your blog success is by looking at your blog stats.

    Ah, blog stats…

    The thing is, most of them give you completely different figures. Compare your Blogger stats with your Google Analytics and the results can be vastly different. Add Get Clicky into the mix and it all gets very confusing. To add to this, it’s not unknown for some bloggers to stretch the truth a little about their stats, which can create false competition between other bloggers.

    So perhaps the key is to focus on quality and not quantity. If you’re creating content that others are happily sharing on their social networks, commenting on and blogging about themselves, then you’re probably doing the right thing. If the stats you have are rising as a result, you’re definitely doing the right thing.

    Tsunimee asked if there was one tool for measuring a blog’s success, or one tool she could embed to show other bloggers (and PRs) how she’s doing. Personally, I’d suggest not worrying too much about it. I have a Google Friends Connect gadget on the right (which you can get here) so people can join if they want, but I don’t use it as a measurement as I know many others use RSS. Additionally, as Tsunimee pointed out, Google Friends Connect can be limited to those who use Gmail/Blogger.

    How do you measure the success of your blog? Traffic? Google Connect Friends? Comment? Social Sharing? Let me know in the comments!

    (Keep an eye out for a post in the future with some methods for increasing traffic)

  • 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!