Whether you are an individual freelancing, a contractor or even a large organisation, those in the know are embracing social media as a source of potential new work and portfolio for what they do. Social media offers a whole new range of opportunities and it is all about connecting people – that includes you with potential clients. Every person, every business is different as what tools and how best they can optimise their marketability on social media, but here are 5 general tips that should work whoever you are and whatever your line of work.

  1.  Social does not mean casual

Remember the old adage: “Everything you put on the internet is there forever” and pay heed. If you’ve never Googled yourself, do so now. Amazing isn’t it what is thrown up by just your name. Now imagine if a potential client had done the same. Would they have been impressed? Worse still would they have been put off. Social media lends itself perfectly to spur of the moment throwaway comment. Unfortunately the same don’t lend themselves very well to promoting your career unless you are a stand-up comic. At the very least give a second thought before you post or tweet.

  1.  Stay current

Not only in terms of the content you are posting – a post every other week is not enough – but also in the look of your profile. Is your profile fully completed? Does it have all the relevant images? Twitter recently changed its profile pages giving you a chance to add an extra image. If you’ve not added or kept yours up to date, those in the know will spot this and possibly consider you too slow to react.

  1.  Keep it real

When you post on social media sites post about what you know and what excites you. Yes, industry-related content will be more impressive to a potential client or recruiter than the latest meal you have made, but if just posting links from elsewhere every day without comment won’t impress. Success in social media is all about personality so you need to put your own stamp on it. Equally commenting on stuff you clearly know nothing about will only be detrimental too.

  1.  Social means two-way

You will possibly find plenty of information that you can absorb and learn from via social media. If you do, say thanks and give acknowledgement. Don’t forget to share things with others too to complete the circle. In between striking up conversation is what it is all about, so if someone asks you a question, at least give them the courtesy of a reply, you never know where it many lead.

  1.  Social media is a vehicle not a substitute

It may sound a bit like a parent telling you off or an expert warning of the dangers of social media, but don’t forget it is just a tool. What makes you and/or your business marketable to potential new clients is what you can do and what you have to offer, not how you do it. Build your personality, knowledge and expertise THEN use social media to share that and promote that.