Twitter Marketing for Freelancers: A Simple Strategy That Gets Big Results

The Twitter Marketing Trick that got a 35% response. Makealivingwriting.comIf you love spending hours pitching prospects who never respond and look forward to all the legwork, this post probably isn’t for you.

But if you’re like me, you secretly hope your marketing efforts could be simple, painless, and effective.

While it definitely takes hard work, consistency, and perseverance to build a freelance writing business, sometimes you can find a sweet spot that works brilliantly and is surprisingly easy.

I recently found a marketing method that’s getting great results for me. It uses Twitter, direct messaging, and a simple “ask.”

This Twitter marketing approach produced the best results I’ve had since I started my freelance business — netting over a 35 percent response rate. It led to two well-paid, longform blog posts and feedback from five prospects who liked my portfolio and are keeping me in mind in for 2016 projects.

Here’s how you can get these results, too:

Connect with your Twitter followers

This past summer, Twitter changed its platform, abandoning the 140-character limit for direct messages.

I’ve found Twitter to be an integral part of my business. I build connections there, share useful content with my followers, and keep up on the latest trends in my niche.

I’ve built connections by re-tweeting, replying, and favoriting my followers’ content. It just felt like the natural next step to reach out to followers who might be in need of extra writing support. Doing so via a direct message proved to be a good strategy.

In the first day, I received six responses to the ten DMs I sent. It took perhaps 40 minutes to get a 60 percent response rate that day.

I received requests for rates, generous email responses about company growth and where they see a freelancer fitting in, and requests to follow up at a future date. A few started following me, because they were interested in hiring me. Not bad!

After I sent more messages, I got about a 37 percent response rate overall — 15 responses to 40 messages.

Most companies worth having as clients have a presence on Twitter, and marketing managers check their accounts daily. The Twitter DM platform creates a more laid-back environment than email, and seems to invite more responses and faster response times.

But knowing how to target prospects is important.

Use a targeted approach

I’m not suggesting you go crazy and reach out to every tweep you’ve got.

In fact, although the actual marketing takes me minutes, I spend more time building relationships and my own brand on social media.

That’s why my Twitter marketing strategy gets prospective clients to respond:

  • They see my Tweets regularly.
  • They know I’m consistent in my message and keep a professional demeanor.
  • They hear from me, they see me share their content — and I make it a point to click on their content and take time to read it and learn.

To sum up: good will, interest, consistency, and authenticity are why this form of marketing works.

Find out how you can help

I target marketing managers and contacts in my niche. I review their sites and ask myself the following questions:

  • Has their blog been updated?
  • Does the same internal person post all the time? Might they need extra support? You can almost feel how hectic their day-to-day schedule is when you see a small business with a marketing manager who is doing all the posting.
  • Are their calls to action and landing pages strong?
  • Are they a start-up? Do they need a writer now, or maybe once their site is out of beta? It’s easy to find out if start-ups have seed money. A quick search on AngelList or CrunchBase can help you qualify a prospect.
  • Do you get the sense that it’s a fantastic company you’d love as a client? Is it a high-quality site, full of interesting testimonials, great writing, and a winning product or service? If so, they may need support in writing white papers, case studies, company profiles, or e-books.

If you like what you see, don’t overthink it. Send your tweet. One minute of your time is worth it.

Make your request short and simple

Exactly what do I write to get a high response rate on Twitter? I call these messages mini-LOIs (letters of introduction).

They aren’t that different than any other letters of introduction I send. The only change I make for the Twitter DM format is to condense my message to the bare essentials:

  • What I like about their site. A sentence about their site is all that’s needed.
  • Where and how I could add value. Could I support their blogging team, provide tighter copy, or is the company at the point in their content strategy plan they need additional content, like a case study or video script?
  • My credits. I include a few sentences about the companies I have worked with and the results I’ve produced.
  • The ‘ask’. I ask where they might have need for writing support and if I can send them samples of my work. Notice I don’t ask whether they need a freelance writer. Open-ended questions create richer responses, and your awesome writing skills can greatly help a stressed-out marketing manager or busy CMO.

If they request samples, let your work do the talking from there.

Once you’ve written your first mini-LOI, modifying and personalizing it is simple. You’ll be able to keep it lean and personal for each of your followers.

Here’s a sample of what I write:

Twitter pitch

Yes, it’s that easy. I didn’t need to include many details to get a response.

You can add a value proposition about how your writing can uniquely serve that particular organization. As a value proposition for one company, which I found particularly interesting, I included how my location and access to industry contacts could be beneficial to them:

Twitter pitch 2

New to Twitter? No problem.

In case you think I’m a Twitter superstar, think again. I have less than 1,000 followers — though I’m focused on growing my community, one targeted follower at a time.

For marketing purposes, a pool of 1,000 followers can generate hundreds of targeted prospects.

Don’t feel discouraged if you have a small following. Take time on Twitter to share information your followers might find helpful, target followers you would like as a client, and interact with them because you’re truly interested.

Use Hashtag Searches

Do a hashtag search of potential followers and follow them. Most of the time, if you follow someone in your industry or niche, they’ll follow you back.

Take 15 minutes a day to scroll your feed, comment on great content, and be a part of the community.

Think about words related to your industry. I typically search using #contentmarketing or #startup, and I look for marketing managers and business owners in tech and digital marketing.

Do you write on finance, healthcare or pet care? Using your Twitter search bar, try searching for prospects to follow by typing in a word that’s unique and common to your niche, and include a hashtag in the search.

If you write on personal finance, keep it simple and try #personalfinance like in my example. You can choose from a number of filters, like the “Top,” “Live,” or “News” tweets that include the hashtag. Then, scroll through these results to see what companies and people you find, and follow companies and people in the niche.

Screen Shot 2016-01-10 at 6.40.11 PM

With just a few hours of work, I’ve added to my list of leads to follow up with in 2016. I also landed an ongoing monthly blog post assignment that averages a $50 an hour rate, with an easy-to-work with company.

As writers, the way we use our time is crucial for making a good living, and it’s a thrill to hit on a marketing sweet spot.

What marketing methods are getting good response for you? Share you successes in the comments.

Tricia Mool is a marketing and lifestyle writer for start-ups, universities and brands. For simple lifestyle hacks and straightforward small business marketing tips follow her @teejaywrites.

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36 comments on “Twitter Marketing for Freelancers: A Simple Strategy That Gets Big Results
  1. Ravi says:

    This post shows not only the power of Twitter’s direct messaging option, but also the power of using Twitter account.

    I guess some readers would take this post to create a new eBook or report with a title that includes the words: twitter, success, pitch, clients, and freelance. And they would add a few additional tips like retweeting successful writers’ tweets to get attention etc.

    What I liked most in this post is it can help completely new freelancers too. Thanks.

    • Tricia Mool says:

      You’re welcome, Ravi. Twitter is such a great space to interact with prospects,and a good platform to show your work if you’re just starting out. Love the eBook idea, too.

  2. This is a great post Trivia. I am completely under-utilizing Twitter. I must add that to my goals for 2016 – leverage Twitter more!

  3. Bill Hall says:

    Hi Tricia,
    I really enjoyed your post on Twitter. As a tech news, Twitter is one of those platforms that is a mystery to me and how to use it in my freelance writing business. I think we need a hashtag of our own? Is it best to use our name or our content writing niche?

    Thank you for your post.

    • Tricia Mool says:

      Hi Bill, thanks. Hashtags help you connect with people in your niche. They’re common, popular search terms that help people locate you and your business. If you’re just starting out, add a few hashtags to your bio on Twitter. You can keep it as simple as “blogger,” or “freelancewriter,” and include a hashtag that’s related to your niche, like “contentmarketing,” “healthcare” or “petcare.”

      *Check out a piece here on MALW that will help you get started on Twitter: How to Get Noticed on Twitter: 15 Tips for Writers. Happy writing.

  4. Vanessa says:

    It’s like you’re reading my mind! After spending more time than I’d care to admit over the weekend searching for Twitter networking tips for freelance writers, I find this extremely useful post today.

    Your suggestion on how to use hashtags to search for marketing managers and business owners in my industry is especially helpful.

  5. Ffion says:

    What a great, useful post. Many thanks!
    I’m implementing your suggestions today.

  6. jean compton says:

    Wow. Although I have nearly 1500 followers on Twitter, I don’t think I’ve really taken advantage of my following like I could. I’ve been under the mistaken assumption that Twitter is becoming “passe” and haven’t really taken the time to respond and interact with my followers. And, I do get a lot of response, likes and favoriting of my posts which I post automatically through Hootsuite.

    This sheds a whole new light on the possibilities (and potential client work) I am missing!

    Thanks for this article.

  7. Linda H says:

    I haven’t used Twitter although I have an account. I never quite knew how to approach people and wasn’t ready to step outside my Comfort Zone and try new things. This post inspired me to do so. I’ll review this post a few times then target my markets and send a few tweets. I’m expanding my market and business and Twitter might be a perfect tool for that. Thanks Tricia.

    • Tricia Mool says:

      Sure, Linda. I think Twitter’s direct messaging tends to be an easier place to start stretching than other spaces, too. I’ve found people are friendly and interactive on Twitter–and it’s not so scary as, say, picking up the phone and making calls might be for some of us.

  8. KAREN BRIGGS says:

    Hi Tricia! Thanks so much for sharing this method. I am sure that many of us are guilty of overlooking/underutilizing this channel. I know that I am!

  9. David Throop says:

    Thanks Tricia! This is an awesome breakdown of how to maximize twitter, especially for a newb like myself!
    P.S. I’ll probably steal the basics of the LOI that you have – of course personalized and suited for my pitches – but I really like how you wrote it.
    Thanks again!

  10. Willi M says:

    Thank you! I was considering abandoning Twitter for marketing, but I understand now that I’m not being as proactive and approaching people I follow. I only do it every so often. Thanks. Will re-read this later.

  11. A lot of my followers (maybe as many as 80% of those who’ve recently found me through “Recommend You Follow”): are the “alter ego” type: e. g. @DailyBlogger with a mandala for an image. What are your best hints for attracting the sort of followers who use their real names and pictures and are there for real business?

    • Carol Tice says:

      I get plenty of those — on LinkedIn, too, with no picture. I just ignore them. Just focus on the ones that look interesting, I say!

    • Tricia Mool says:

      Hi Katherine, I’d also say to make sure your bio’s updated and includes both hashtags and keywords that are common to your niche for followers you want to attract. You can look through your followers’ lists and follow prospects there, and also make use of hashtag searches to find followers who you would want to follow you back.

      • Thanks, Tricia. My social media accounts and website are in “update transition” at the moment, and a better bio should be up by Monday evening. I intend to brand myself as a writer of encouragement and self-development lifehacks (which I’ve always found to be well-received and enjoyable to write) for mental-health organizations, life coaches, and similar services.

        The hardest part of a marketing plan is not rushing it–hey, that could be a great post topic!

  12. Larry says:

    Interesting post. Thanks for detailing your successful strategy. Very clear.

  13. I hear that Twitter, because of its Google connections, is THE site to post for maximum SEO effectiveness.

    • Carol Tice says:

      …I think you mean Google+, Katherine. Twitter has no connection to Google.

      And I think the hardest part of the marketing plan is EXECUTING on it. 😉

  14. Hi Carol,

    I’ve found Twitter to be the toughest nut to crack of all SM since I began working for myself. Today I’ve come across three really good articles about how to use Twitter more effectively. I’m going to see this as a sign that I should spend more time on it and put these tips into action.

    Thank you for sharing this with us!

    Best,

    Matthew

  15. On a related topic: if you have direct access to post articles on a client’s own Twitter account, keep careful track of which account you’re in if you’re prone to dashing off impulse Tweets!

  16. You have laid it all down very well Carol. I am sure that following these twitter techniques, one will end up building solid trust and obviously generate more leads. I had tried being consistent with DMs a while ago but I became lazy at some point probably because I didn’t know how to execute the next step. I will try it out soon and see how it goes. Thanks for sharing.

    Cindy

  17. Thanks Carol-just signed up to twitter today and then hit on your super informative post. Beginner’s luck!

  18. This is just what I was looking for! Thank you. LinkedIn has always made sense to me but I’ve never been good at Twitter networking.