Putting Social Media on the Table

I saw a post this morning that suggested writers should start offering social media and online marketing services. My initial reaction was that anything to grow a business is probably a good idea and I moved on. Didn’t save the link — which I really regret now that I’m writing about the topic. But I’ve come back to that idea a couple of times today, and I think that the suggestion may be a little too simple.

I offer content marketing services and have been known to help clients out with social media. I think that there is a demand for such services and many of my writing skills directly relate to my ability in those fields. I think the same holds true for many writers who spend a lot of time writing for online publications.

But I don’t think most writers should just hang up a social media shingle. I’ve seen more than a few social media ‘experts’ — top notch freelance writers among them — who couldn’t tell the difference between Facebook and MySpace. There’s just as much of a learning curve for social media as there is for freelance writing.

If You Really Want To Do Social Media…

All that said, someone with great writing skills has a headstart on social media. And if you’re a freelancer, you’ve already shown that you’re willing to tackle the learning curve that goes along with running your own business. There are a lot of prospective clients out there, making it a field worth exploring if you’re looking to increase your income.

You can learn social media on your own. In fact, there isn’t really a great training program for social media or even online marketing yet. You’ll have to start at the bottom of the ladder, which can be a little frustrating if you’ve already built up a solid reputation as a writer. But it’s a fast climb.

  1. Get your own online house in order: Get involved with Facebook, Twitter and all the rest. Make sure you know the lingo and strategies for success. And make sure that you build connections and an online presence while you’re at it.
  2. Read as many blogs as you can stand. They don’t have to be marketing or social media blogs — although I thoroughly recommend checking out ChrisBrogan.com for great information about social media. You can learn a lot just by seeing how successful blogs operate.
  3. Try out all the tools you can find. You don’t have to like most of them, but you need to have the experience of trying out Digg and Plurk and any other site that comes by.
  4. Try out social media strategies on your own. Whether you’re promoting your favorite charity or your mom’s site for selling hand-knitted tea cozies, you’ve got to actually try out all this social media stuff before you can call yourself an expert.

That’s my social media soapbox. I’m curious: are you interested in learning more about how freelance writers can make a shift towards social media (or other earning strategies)? I’m considering writing some further posts on the topic, based on what I’m seeing online these days, and I’d love to hear what sort of information you’re looking for.

6 Comments

  1. Michele   •  

    I am actually a freelance writer/blogger who has waded out into the social media waters. I do social media for clients now. It’s awesome!

    *smiles*
    Michele

  2. thursday   •     Author

    @Michele, Would you mind sharing a little more about how you transitioned into doing social media? How did you learn the skills necessary? At what point did you feel comfortable hanging out your shingle?

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  4. MLDina   •  

    Social media is a great service to offer if you’re genuinely interested in the topic and can provide insight to clients. If you’re a freelancer just looking for the next big idea, though, I’d pass. The area of social media expertise is already saturated, and offering too many services, especially without the proper knowledge of some, will spread your business too thin. Best to focus on a few services you excel at, instead of trying to add to your roster to cover more ground.

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