LinkedIn is a great space for freelancers. This is because the platform contains millions of professionals, many of whom have their own business or a senior position in one. This means they are a key market that needs what you are offering.
Tapping into that market for free is definitely possible. But you have to make sure that you put certain systems in place that allow it to happen. LinkedIn is an interesting place. If you’re not looking right and doing the right things, you’ll disappear very quickly.
Freelancers need shiny LinkedIn profiles
This is the big one, the element that you can’t ignore. If you spend time looking through LinkedIn profiles, you’ll soon notice that a lot of them look the same. There’s nothing that jumps out at you and says ‘hire me!’.
That’s where you come in.
Your main aim here is to make sure that your personal profile is attractive to potential clients. There is nothing else to think about here. That is the mission.
The idea is very simple. The profile should tell anyone who sees it exactly what you do. Then the profile has to give them a reason to contact you.
There is a very strong argument for brevity here. When describing what you do to potential clients, keep it short and sweet. For example, if you are a copywriter, you can say that you ‘help brands sell more through my words’. That sentence, that description, is short and succinct enough to get attention. It also quite clearly articulates the value you bring to companies.
Freelance writer helping businesses find leads and clients.
See? Who I am. And what I do.
The foundation for everything
No matter what you do after creating a rock solid profile, everything else will rest upon it. It is the foundation for your entire LinkedIn offer. Potential clients will find you and they will judge you based on your profile. Sure, you can create great content in the form of posts and articles, and seem like you’re great at what you do, but the profile is what everyone will come back to.
In your profile then, you should aim to include keywords that will come up in LinkedIn search. For me, I’m using words like ‘freelance writer’ and ‘copywriter’. If a client wants to find a freelance writer or copywriter, there is a good chance they will find me, because I’ve used the keywords that they will use.
Your skillset gets you clients
When you are setting up your profile and you are asked to select the skills you have, choose those skills that fit you most accurately. I have known people who have selected skills that were basically nothing to do with them, in an attempt to find more potential leads this way (I guess you can always sell digital photography skills to someone).
This only means you will get caught out. Those skills in that list will bring people to your profile. So listing skills that are nothing to do with what you offer will only make you look like a liar. The skills list is super important, because like I said, potential clients will search for your skills. And they will find you.
Do the skills assessments to get clients
The skills assessments that are available on LinkedIn are a definite way to get you noticed. LinkedIn states that these assessment tests are there to help you get a job, because employers will be looking for proof of assessments being passed through LinkedIn.
First of all, this just shows you how much value employers are now placing on LinkedIn. They respect it so much that LinkedIn says that you are more likely to get hired if you complete an assessment. Secondly, a nice little badge shows up on your profile when you complete an assessment.
LinkedIn says this about the skills test:
Simply scroll to the skill section of your profile and select one of the available Skill Assessments you’d like to take. Any results are kept private to you, and if you pass (in the 70th percentile or above), you will have the option to add a “verified skill” badge to your profile. If you don’t pass, you have complete control over the visibility of their results, and can brush up on your skills so you can pass next time.From LinkedIn’s blog
Use your background photo to get clients for free
The background photo is the very first thing a potential client sees when they come to a profile. It can make or break your chances of gaining new clients.
You do not need to get an expensive studio photo for your profile. You can if you want, but you can just as easily get away with a nice, inspiring photo from a site like Unsplash.
Wherever you get your photo or image from, make sure it looks good, professional and has some indication of the kind of work you do.
Use your summary to get clients
Your summary is the compelling part of your profile. While you may not have an incredibly entertaining story to tell about your rise as a freelancer, you can certainly choose your words carefully.
Think about the major milestones in your career so far. The hard work you have put in. Write about the successes you have had, and why they matter to you. And be sure to include descriptions of how you have helped clients. That is what gets potential clients excited because if they have come to find you, they will most likely have the pain points that your previous clients had.
Use your certifications to get clients
If you’re anything like me, you’ll be on the hunt for career development courses all the time. Whether you’re focused on Udemy or LinkedIn Learning, you will have completed recognised courses that give you added depth and clout when clients start to circle.
Whatever area you are in, find as many courses as you can and complete them, because the certification will get client’s attention on LinkedIn.
Share content within LinkedIn to find clients
This is something I still don’t do enough of. Within your own feed on LinkedIn you will see a constant flow of content from other users. If you share good content that you found in your feed and comment on it, you will stay in your prospect’s vision.
LinkedIn very much favours the first hour after a post goes live. If that post is shared within LinkedIn in that first hour, it has an opportunity to trend. The more you bump other people’s posts up, the more they will remember you and do the same.
One word of warning though. Never comment on a post if you don’t have something to say. Empty, meaningless comments will get you nowhere. People can spot an opportunist a mile off. Go for meaning and connection, and do it as soon as you see something that genuinely interests you.
Look for Influencers to help find new clients
When you follow someone who is an Influencer in your field, you should start seeing some great content coming down the feed. Share this if it resonates with you.
When you share it to your own feed, with a meaningful comment, you present as someone who wants to help your connections. This again builds trust, and pushes you closer to having authority.
And more clients.
Say thank you to get more clients
When you start to pull in more connections, it is absolutely vital that you send a thank you message back to your new contact. You should thank them for connecting with you, simply because they don’t have to.
Politeness and courtesy go a long way on LinkedIn. Remember it is a professional network, and good manners matter.
Join groups that you can be of service to
LinkedIn Groups is no longer what it used to be. But it still has some sway in the corporate world. The key here is to join groups that contain your prospects. This way, you will be able to help them with questions and solutions that meet their pain points.
I recommend around ten minutes a day on LinkedIn Groups. Just enough time to make an impact and to network with prospects. Only offer help. They don’t want to know about your services until they are ready. So don’t sell.
Help people and get more clients
Start using assets to help the people you are connected to. The white papers you have been part of, or the infographic you created, these can help.
Communicating with prospects over time (LinkedIn is a long game), with helpful content that really zeroes in on their problems is a great way to make yourself an authority and someone they will call upon when they want to find a solution.
So that’s it. I’ve tried each of the approaches above (I don’t recommend anything unless I have personal experience of it) and they have helped me get more clients on LinkedIn. Have a go at each one. I can reassure you that they will only help bring more clients to your door.
If all of this has whetted your appetite, try Dux-Soup. It has a free version, so you can’t really lose. And if you want to pay, it’s less than 20$ a month. And it helps you build a lead list in no time. I’m an affiliate, but I don’t recommend any product or service that I wouldn’t use myself.
And, for Heaven’s sake, subscribe!