I thought Twitter was dead. I had pretty much abandoned it for the bright colors and changing landscape of Instagram. I mean, Instagram pretty much has a built-in Snapchat feature and allows for way more than 140 characters. So what else do you need? Certainly not Twitter.
But then I was inspired by a post from a fellow freelancer to give it another shot. I went back and updated my Twitter profile. I made some specific changes to market myself as a freelance health and fitness writer. And I have to admit, I was a little skeptical that simply updating my Twitter profile would have any impact. Then it happened.
Two days after updating my Twitter profile, I received an email from a prospect (who found me on Twitter) about a $3,000 project writing about exercise. Boom! If you’re trying to grow your freelance writing business, making the most of Twitter is a smart strategy that can help give your marketing efforts a boost.
Want to tap into the power of Twitter to find more clients in your niche, book more work, and grow your business? Do it right, and it’s a form of social media marketing that can help you grow your business. Follow this step-by-step process to turn your Twitter account into an inbound marketing machine.
Update your bio
My Twitter profile used to read something like this “@nasm certified personal trainer, mom of 2, writer, always a @toneitup girl.”
That bio is …OK. But it doesn’t quite say what I want it to say.
What’s so wrong with it?
- Well, I’m highlighting that I’m a personal trainer (even though I’m not actively training people).
- The “writer” part that I do want to highlight is buried and generic. It could mean I write poetry or New York Times bestsellers. Who knows?
- Though being a mom is my most meaningful role in life, it really didn’t have anything to do with my purpose on Twitter.
So, with just a few tweaks, I upleveled my bio: “Professional fitness copywriter for hire, @NASM personal trainer and #barreinstructor. Elevate the everyday! Always a @toneitup girl!”
Why is this better?
- I’m highlighting the fact that I’m a professional fitness copywriter. And it focuses a whole lot more on what I want to do with Twitter: find clients to write for, not clients to train.
- The fact that I’m certified as a personal trainer and a barre instructor gives me a whole lot more clout though as a fitness writer now.
- My love of fitness shows up everywhere! From my running bib header to my association with the Tone it Up community, everything points back to fitness.
What’s your Twitter bio currently look like? There’s a good chance you can give it a rewrite to make it clear to prospects in your niche that you’re a pro freelance writer.
Niche your profile
My main niche for writing is health and fitness. I am 100 percent certain that the person who reached out to me for the $3k job would not have done so if they hadn’t seen my fitness background. If you look at the email below, this person was impressed to have found a copywriter/personal trainer combo and even put a screenshot of my Twitter profile in the email!
They were looking for someone who was exactly like me. And it would have been very difficult to locate a trustworthy, English-speaking writer with a fitness background in a content mill. You must niche, and you must state your niche. My client would have ignored me if I had just indicated that I was a general “writer.”
Here are some more ways to target your niche with Twitter:
Include “for hire” in your bio. I didn’t have these two words on my profile when I received the job offer. But “for hire” are two magic words you should consider adding to your bio after “writer.” These two magic words are a giant flashing signal to prospects that you’re available.
Add your location just in case anyone is looking for writing talent in your area. If a prospect happens to search for “New York freelance writer,” you want your name to come up if that’s where you live. Add your location even if your services are not location-dependent. It won’t scare people away who have location-independent work for you, it will only help bring location-specific people in.
Use relevant hashtags. Figure out what hashtags are the most relevant for your niche and start using them when you post. For freelance writers, I would suggest #freelancewriter or #contentmarketing when posting about your work. Then, find out what the specific keywords are for your niche and use those when relevant.
Rethink your profile pic. Ideally, your freelance profile pic should be of you, not your logo. This is because people want to put a face to the name, especially if you are the sole representative of your business. You should also be using the same pic that you use on other social media sites, so people know you’re the same person and start making the connection. Just being able to see your face is a huge trust-builder, and once prospects see it a few times, you start to become familiar! And for that reason, I also very rarely change my profile pics.
Link to your portfolio or website. This simple little space on Twitter can be a gold mine. Make sure you use this to your advantage. Include a link to direct people to your portfolio or your opt-in page. When I did my Twitter updates, I used a link to my website. Do not to leave this blank. Even if you don’t have a website, send visitors to your Contently portfolio or LinkedIn page, if you must.
Choose your Twitter handle wisely. Once I got serious about my freelancing business, I changed my Twitter handle (yes, you can do that) username from “boun_seejess” to “Jess_FlashFit.” I don’t even have to tell you the meaning behind either username for you to notice that one is more descriptive than the other. One is associated with fitness and the other not so much. Your username should make sense and be easily searchable. Adding a bunch of obscure characters and numbers only muddles your chances of people being able to find you. You also want to make sure you make your username is business-appropriate, easily identifiable, searchable, easy to spell, straightforward and relatable.
Follow people/businesses on Twitter
What I did was search “fitness startups” and “fitness entrepreneurs” in the Twitter search box. Then I started “following” the ones that looked like profitable businesses. Here’s the criteria I used to decide who to follow on Twitter. The person or business must:
- Be active on Twitter (posted in the last week)
- Have a healthy follower/following ratio. (They’re more likely to follow back.)
Create lists. Once you’ve “followed” a bunch of companies in your niche, add them to a specific “list,” especially if they are people you want to interact with. See those three lists in my profile? One is for fitness businesses, one is for freelance writing jobs, and one is for various others that I’ve put on my “watch list.” This makes it very easy to scroll through only the tweets I care most about first and limits distractions. So, if you have a goal to interact with 10 brands a day, you head to your lists. Boom! There they are. Start interacting. (Now if only Instagram would follow suit)
Reply, retweet, like, send direct messages. It’s not in good taste to come out and cold pitch right away after following someone on Twitter. Start by following your ideal clients. Check their Twitter feed and reply, retweet, and like their posts. These people and businesses may follow you back, which is an awesome opportunity to start a conversation. Cultivate a relationship with them by interacting regularly when you have something of value to say. The more you do that, the more visible you become to them. And when the time is right, send them a direct message.
Tweet about niche topics to showcase what you’re about. For me, I tweet about a mixture of fitness subjects, freelance tips and personal tidbits. Go back and look at what your last three tweets were about.
- Do they tell a story of who you are?
- Do they at least indicate a bit about your niche and freelance writing business?
Be sure to tweet some funny antics or inspirational quotes once in awhile to show your human side, but don’t be unprofessional. You only have a limited number of characters to express your personal brand, so make it count.
After making some of these tweaks and getting serious about Twitter, I scored a sweet gig in my niche writing about exercise. It wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t get serious about using Twitter to market my freelance writing business. You can easily follow these steps to improve your own Twitter profile to connect with more prospects, book more client work, and grow your business. Don’t give up on Twitter just yet. I’m glad I didn’t.
Are you using Twitter as a marketing tool to grow your freelance writing business? Tell us about it in the comment section below.
Jessica Collins is a professional health and fitness copywriter. She’s also a certified personal trainer, barre instructor-in-training, and mom of two who runs the website FlashFitTrainer.com