10 Unusual Tips For Gaining New Clients Through Social Media & The Web

I have a lot of potential clients ask me how I found their posting that they needed a freelancer. This leads me to believe they haven’t gotten much of a response from anyone; and that’s there’s an untapped resource for finding new clients. I’ll share some tips for finding new clients using social media that haven’t been talked much about before (since I’ve been using them and haven’t had much competition) – so many clients have had no, or little, response to their inquiries.

Twitter

The usual tip for Twitter would be to just be on it. The fact you’re on Twitter and taking an active role in sharing pertinent articles can help you find clients and referral work. But instead of waiting for clients to come to you, why don’t you go to clients on Twitter?

  • On your Twitter homepage, you’ll see a search bar on the right hand side. You can use this to search for clients using your job keywords. After you’ve searched, you can also save the search as an RSS feed, so it keeps you updated every time someone uses it. I’ve found great work through this method, just be careful to avoid the freeloaders that frequently ask for web help.

My own search feed is “looking OR want OR need OR hire developer OR css“. Try it! Replace “developer” and “css” with whatever it is you offer.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a great way to meet and keep up with your business contacts. Sometimes, however, it can seem to be a bit stale as a social media site. However if you know where to look, this can also be another source of contacts:

  • If you just made the jump to freelancing, send out an email to all your contacts saying you recently made the jump and to please keep an eye out for you. Do this only ONCE in your entire life; or you’ll be forever labeled as a spammer.
  • Join Groups – many of these groups have great job boards and also people posting that they need help with this or that.
  • Keep your status updated with your blog posts, new client acquisitions, etc. It keeps you ranking well within LinkedIn’s search and it shows you’re actually in business.
  • Answer pertinent questions to your field and always like your web address in the link section.

Facebook

I’ve also found some clients though Facebook. This media however, seems to be somewhat limited in client acquisition, but is nevertheless a source of potential clients.

  • Make your profile public so people can find you by keywords. Also, search engines are now ranking facebook statuses!
  • Also, every once in a while let your status show you’re open for projects.

Blog Comments

Blog comments can be a surprising way to meet new contacts and find new clients. I’ve also been able to find work thanks to this, although I wasn’t really posting to find one!

  • Often I’ll comment a blog post with something pertaining to the post and my own business (so it’s helpful to the post, not spam). A lot of people read the comments, and perhaps someone is looking for what you do, and comes across one of your posts!

i.e. For a post like this one, I would comment with something “What really helped me find clients as a freelance web developer….”

Blog Job Boards

I don’t participate in bidding sites. I don’t recommend you participate in them either. They are often a waste of time and you’ll be competing with kids and people from India offering the same services you do for $2 an hour. Literally. However I do love regular job boards where people post what they need and you can shoot them a quick email offering your services.

  • FreelanceSwitch It costs $7 a month to reply to job listings, but I’ve gotten a few jobs from this and that has obviously made up for the price. You also get a free listing in their directory with a paid subscription.
  • AuthenticJobs They have a mix of both in-house and freelance jobs, so read the descriptions carefully.
  • 37Signals They also mix their full-time and freelance jobs.

Cold Emailing

This is probably the best way I’ve found clients. Sometimes there’s just not enough job postings out there, so you have to make the first contact. While some may consider this to be spamming, I’ve actually gotten a bunch of calls from the businesses I’ve sent emails to, saying “I was looking for someone like you!” Many studios and agencies have to outsource work when they have too much to handle. How are they going to outsource to you if they don’t know you?

  • Search for agencies and send them a quick note letting them know you’d like to work with them, who you are, what you do and how much you charge. I’ve actually gotten most of my clients this way! You’ll have to spend a lot of time sending out emails, but it’s much more effective than a cold call, because the clients can check their emails when they have time, versus you calling them when they’re busy, plus you can send emails quickly to many studios at once.

How do you use the web for finding clients?