I've been enjoying Words on the Page blogger Lori's recent discussions about Twitter, Face book and other social networking sites. Her posts have inspired split comments where some readers consider these sites time wasters refusing to get sucked in, and others swearing they're worth it. Time is a big issue for freelancers because the reality is that time is money. You definitely have to manage the time you spend n these sites, but I must admit that I'm starting to see and reap the benefits of being a virtual social butterfly.
I'm a bit of a late bloomer when it comes to social networking online. I've only been a full-time freelance writer for 17 months now. I started blogging for the first time last summer, and just joined Twitter, Face Book and Linked In around three months ago. For me it's been sort of like a science experiment to see for myself if they are all everyone says they're cracked up to be. Here are my findings so far:
I follow a lot of interesting people on Twitter. If you are using it primarily as a business networking tool (which is my mission), you need to make sure to get the basics down pat. I highly recommend reading Darren Rowse's (Problogger) blog Twitip.com.
I'd say the majority of people I follow are other writers/bloggers, Internet marketers and small business experts. In the beginning I spent way too much time on there, and lately I've barely been able to post a tweet because of my overwhelming work volume. I hope to soon find some middle ground so that I'm not completely forgotten.
I have managed to get a couple of regular clients from Twitter without even trying. I also have constant access to tons of useful information for my business, so for me Twitter is a keeper.
I'm not ashamed to say it – I still don't get how Face Book helps you in business. I hear about people getting kicked off for too much self-promotion so I think I may be missing something here. In the meantime, I've enjoyed reconnecting with friends and my old newspaper colleagues, so it's all good.
It took me the longest time to post my profile, and I'm still not 100 percent happy with it so I'll probably be changing it soon. When I first set up my account I didn't know what to do with it, so I just let it be. Every now and then someone finds me and connects with me. I recently started using some of the cool new applications, and I also plan to request recommendations from a couple of past and present clients to give it more juice.
Tuesday a local company found me on Linked in and sent me an email asking if I would be interested in working on a few copywriting projects. Unfortunately it didn't pan out because they wanted me to meet with them in person to discuss the opportunity, but my current schedule was making that impossible. At least now I know having a Linked In account is not for nothing.
These are only my personal experiences so far. I plan to spend more time learning to use each of these networking tools more effectively. Stay tuned.