Social media is all the buzz in marketing for freelance copywriters today. In the last two weeks I have read at least 12 articles on pinterest (a Facebook or Twitter application) alone. Before that Google+ was a must-have for anybody who wanted to be anybody. It’s as easy to see how marketers can feel obligated to participate in social media as it is to quickly become overwhelmed with the variety of choices and maintenance required to achieve results. The enormity of creating a simple presence on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn in addition to creating and maintaining a website, blog, e-zine and all the other mediums available today is daunting.
With all the social media hoopla anyone could easily jump on the bandwagon and add one (or several) more things to their to-do list in the rush to keep up with the newest trends. Today’s advice is look before you leap. You don’t have to be everywhere to make money!
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Squidoo, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+… the list is endless. How do you choose? How much time should a marketer actually spend on social media?
The cold, hard facts are that you don’t absolutely NEED to have a Facebook account or 10,000 followers on Twitter to make a living as a copywriter. Just because it’s free doesn’t mean it necessitates your presence.
There are some instances where it is vitally important to have a strong social media presence. For example:
- If you position yourself as a social media copywriter you need to be able to walk the talk. Prospects expect to find you there.
- If your clients are strong social media users, either personally or professionally, it makes sense to connect with them there.
- You have targeted a niche that’s projected to expand in the social media area. For example, the high-tech industry and the field of academics are strong users of the new Google +. If these are your clients you would be wise to participate in the discussions there.
- You love Facebook and Twitter (or whichever medium), you are already there and expanding into a business presence is natural and easy for you. It makes sense to continue.
Many marketers leap into social media marketing because it’s easy and inexpensive, however, it can also be a huge time suck and, if not done strategically, can lead to a lot of effort with no results. It’s important to evaluate your niche and the needs of your clients as well as their online habits and balance that with how much time you have.
I’m not saying don’t participate in social media for business purposes. What I am saying is to be smart about it and don’t just jump on the bandwagon because you can. Social media can easily become one more distraction from making sales – which is where you need to be focusing your energy.
Thinking about stepping into a new social media medium? Here are a few questions to ask yourself to see which, if any, social media outlet is right for your business:
- Does the medium complement your other marketing efforts? It is one more way to connect and engage with consumers – just because you are there doesn’t mean clients or prospects are there.
- If you currently gain most of your business through another avenue, such as speaking or direct selling, will social media help or hinder your sales flow? If direct selling works for you then stick with it!
- How much time do you have to dedicate to updating social media? Is this something that can be outsourced?
- What do you already have in place, such as a blog or e-zine, which can be leveraged with social media?
- Social media is a personal, direct way to engage with prospects. You must have a personality – you can’t just post sentences from your blog. Can you do this?
I am leery of anyone who says you HAVE to do anything where marketing is concerned. The only HAVE to is selling. You can be as creative as you want when it comes to bringing the leads in, but you must know how to sell.
Social media is attractive to many solopreneurs because it is free and easy to do. My experience is it’s also an easy way to distract yourself from selling, which you HAVE to do to make money and grow your business.
Copywriters, be smart about social media usage. Remember it is just one of many tools available to get in front of your target market. It’s not for everyone and it is definitely not a requirement to building a highly profitable copywriting business.
Kelly Robbins, MA