The Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn for Freelancers

by Emily Retherford

3 min read

LinkedIn can be a very important marketing tool for freelance writers, graphic designers, photographers, or other freelance professionals. As a networking platform, LinkedIn is an ideal online spot to find new potential clients and stay in touch with previous clients who may offer you additional work in the future. As of 2016, the number of professional freelancers with a LinkedIn profile has increased almost 50% within the past five years. The key to advancing your freelance career on LinkedIn is knowing how to set up a good LinkedIn profile, and then using LinkedIn’s networking to make contact with clients.

Setting Up Your LinkedIn Profile

Your LinkedIn profile should be designed to highlight your professional services and to draw people’s attention and interest, and optimized to make it easy for people looking for a freelancer to find you. There are several important elements required to make this happen.

LinkedIn Headline

Because your LinkedIn headline is one of the few things other than your name that people see in things such as search results and group discussions, it is important that your headline be compelling enough to motivate people to actually take a look at your whole LinkedIn profile. A good, effective LinkedIn headline is a step above the default setting of your current job title and uses the 120 characters allowed to maximum effect. Open with a two-to-three word summation of what you do, for example, “writer and editor.” Try to address your headline to your target audience of potential clients, and include keywords that people searching for your services may logically use. For example, if you specialize in providing search engine optimization services, you might include keywords such as “internet marketing.”

LinkedIn Summary

In composing your LinkedIn summary, again aim to grab people’s attention. Have a strong opening sentence designed to draw people in, one that makes you stand out as unique by including things such as special skills or noteworthy clients. In citing accomplishments, be specific. Instead of just saying “experienced copywriter,” say “over 10 years of financial and business copywriting experience.” Describe the services you offer and remember to include keywords people are likely to use searching for your services.

Your LinkedIn profile should also feature your key experiences and samples of your work. You can upload files to LinkedIn, or you may want to provide external links to your website.

Marketing on LinkedIn

Used effectively, LinkedIn can raise your overall online profile considerably and help you connect with new clients and obtain more work. Keys to effectively marketing your freelance services on LinkedIn include getting recommendations and using LinkedIn Pulse to gain people’s attention and interest, and to enhance your credibility as a professional and/or expert in your field.

Most freelancers understand how important testimonials or recommendations from current or previous clients are in soliciting new clients. LinkedIn makes it easy for you to get recommendations, as easy as asking any of your LinkedIn connections. Reach out to current or former clients and ask them for a recommendation of your skills. If you provide a recommendation for them, most of your connections will be happy to reciprocate the favor.

LinkedIn Pulse

LinkedIn Pulse is a great avenue for raising your online profile, publicizing your work, and attracting new clients. It was originally limited to high profile influencers but is now open to all LinkedIn users. As one of the top 10 most highly trafficked websites, LinkedIn offers an excellent opportunity to reach a massive audience. Publishing material on LinkedIn Pulse is as simple as clicking on “share an update” on your LinkedIn profile page. Your update post, which is shared with all your LinkedIn connections and available for others to find with keyword searches, can include text, photos, and links to your website or to articles that you’ve published. You can even embed videos.

To utilize LinkedIn Pulse to your best advantage, remember the same key points about creating a good LinkedIn Profile. Make the headline and the first sentence of your Pulse post attention-grabbing, either by virtue of being noteworthy, entertaining, or both. Publish posts aimed at your target audience. For example, if you’re a wedding photographer, a good Pulse post might be an article on how to create the perfect wedding photo album. Make sure to include keywords to search optimize your post. In fact, go a step further and add keyword tags for your post. Keep your name and work out there by publishing regularly on LinkedIn Pulse, preferably at least once a week. Also, don’t forget to cross-promote your LinkedIn Pulse postings on other social media outlets you use, such as Facebook and Twitter.

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