As the world becomes more and more connected, it is becoming increasingly important for freelancers to work on what is called “online presence”. Online presence is the digital footprint left behind from your interactions online and the conclusions that can be made about you from those interactions. If I was your potential client and I was considering hiring you, I would use your online presence to answer questions such as:
- What kind of public authority do you have?
- What is your experience?
- What are your points of view?
- What are your contributions to the world and to your fields of expertise?
- What similarities do you and I share?
- Would we get along working together?
On the other hand, you can use your online presence to:
- Show your experience, talents, and expertise
- Demonstrate integrity and the personal qualities that make you a good hire
- Help others and build a network
- Show your potential clients that you can get the job done
Keeping in mind the kind of questions your clients may have and the things about yourself as a freelancer that you want your potential clients to know, will help guide you as you build your online presence.
Abstract components of online presence
The abstract components of online presence are personal brand, personal voice, and production quality.
Personal brand can be abstractly defined as the practice of marketing yourself as a brand. In practice, however, your personal brand can be the collection of images, phrases, and tools that you can use to explain who you are and what you do.
Some elements of branding include:
- Profile image (a clear head shot that represents your personality)
- Background image
- Short description (one sentence)
- Medium description (one paragraph)
- Long description (three paragraph)
- List of interests
Coming up with these elements of branding at once will save you time when you open several social media profiles. In addition, having the same profile image and descriptions on all your profiles will help to make you recognizable.
Your personal voice is the way you interact with others and what that says about you. If you want to portray professionalism, then it should reflect on the words you use online, the pictures you post, the kind of posts you “like” on Facebook, how you email your potential clients, and so on. The same thing is true if your main goal is to portray a sense of intelligence, or spontaneity; your interactions online have to be consistent with the version of you that you want your client to see. The important thing is to choose what kind of “voice” you want to have and be consistent to it in everything you do online.
Questions to ask yourself:
- How do I want to be described?
- What impressions do I want to make?
Production quality is attention to detail and the discipline to check and edit what you do online. Basically, it means that if you are a translator then you want what you do online to show that you have a good command of the languages you work with. When a potential client stumbles unto your Facebook posts, they shouldn’t make her worry about whether you know how to spell.
Depending on what kind of clients you are trying to attract, you should decide on what level of attention you put on:
- Photo quality of your posts
Your potential clients will look for you on social media. I personally search my potential clients on social media to figure out whether they are serious businesses that I want to be associated with. I am sure my potential clients search for me as well in order to find out whether I am a serious translator. The following are a few social/networking sites that I believe are musts for freelancers. I also wrote some suggestions on how to use them.
Facebook allows you to choose how public your post and your information is. Consider making the following information public:
- Languages you speak
- Where you work and have worked (and that you are available as a freelancer)
- Link to your website
- Contact information
In addition, keep the following suggestions in mind:
- Choose carefully what pictures you make public.
- Keep up with UTIA events on Facebook.
- Messages on Facebook from people who are not on your “friends list” will you on an “Other” folder. Check this folder occasionally for messages from potential clients.
- Include clear career objectives and interests
- Use endorsements and recommendations
- Fill out as much as you can
- Use a twitter handle that represents you (preferably, use your real name)
- Engage with communities by sharing and retwitting quality content
- Highlight your own passions and insights
- Connect with high-profile thought leaders in your fields
Professional profiles for a freelancer
These are websites where you can list your services:
- Set up a portfolio
- Include links to your other profiles
- Start a blog
Show your artistic side
Some of your profiles can help you show off your personality.
Some final thoughts
- Google your name occasionally and check to see what comes up.
- Link all your profiles to each other, this increases their visibility.
- GoldfishDigital created a list reputation management resources. Use it to create professional profiles.
- Creating a Professional Online Presence (YouTube)
- The Definitive Guide to Building an Online Presence and Getting Hired (Forget Your Resume)
- How to Create a Total Online Presence When You Really Don’t Have the Time (Duct Tape Marketing)
- How to Boost Your Freelancing Career With These Helpful Websites (How-To-Geek)
Do you have any ideas on how to use social media effectively? Comment below if you have further ideas on how to build online presence.