How to Land Freelance Work on LinkedIn the Right Way
As a freelancer, you’re either actively using LinkedIn to grow your brand or you’re baffled by what you’re actually supposed to be doing there. I get it. I was there, too. If you want to get freelance work on LinkedIn, you need to follow these tips.
Sadly, far too many people end up doing the wrong things on LinkedIn whenever they do start using it.
And inevitably feel like banging their head on the wall months or years later when they lost a lot of opportunities from taking that approach.
If you don’t want to get overwhelmed but still want to be able to know that your LinkedIn is working on your behalf at all times, consider these four things I’ve learned (some of them the hard way!) about how to use this live network of millions of business professionals.
Don’t Spam People When Looking for Freelance Work on LinkedIn
If you’re active at all on LinkedIn, you’ve been hit by the “spray and pray” spam.
You know, the pitches where you’re being offered a service or product you probably don’t even want from someone you’ve never heard of before.
Honestly, I’m so sick of it that I add these people to my “I will never buy from your list.”
One guy pitched me venture capital raising. (Not applicable, dude. I’m a freelancer. Read my profile for two seconds.)
Another woman pitched me “Finally get that weight off!” (Offensive. Annoying. Unwanted.)
Three companies this week pitched me “Page 1 SEO!!!”
Just because you’re able to get in front or your target clients on LinkedIn doesn’t mean that you should hit them up right away for your services. I’ve seen over and over again that people don’t want to be pitched generic messages before a relationship is built. Getting freelance work on LinkedIn requires a better approach than that.
You know who I have bought services from? A career coach who followed me for two months before sending me a personal note that she enjoyed my content.
A public speaking master who posted solid content daily with plenty of free reports and valuable info. She never spammed my inbox ONCE.
You can easily become a thought leader on LinkedIn, but only if you know how to use the platform properly. Hitting up 100 people at a time with a templated message because they showed up in a search result and you never qualified them any further than that is a recipe for getting blocked. (FYI, I disconnect from anyone on LinkedIn who hits me up with a pitch I never wanted and has no personality or thought behind it so that I never have to be subjected to their crap marketing again.)
Connecting with Recruiters the Right Way Sets You Up for Success with Freelance Work on LinkedIn
One of the easiest things you can do on LinkedIn as a freelancer is become recruiter friendly. It takes about five minutes and
You can get a step-by-step process with screenshots for how to show up to recruiters on LinkedIn. And by the way, this process works even if you’re at a day job and don’t really want your employer knowing that you’re actively hunting. This process makes you visible only to recruiters in this way, so the rest of your network is none the wiser.
If you want to amplify your freelance success on LinkedIn with recruiters, try reaching out to 2-3 recruiters a week in your industry on LinkedIn. I look for experts in creative talent matching and online marketing. My mentality here is that I always want to be open to as many jobs as possible- I’d rather pass on something that isn’t really a fit for me than never know it existed in the first place.
With LinkedIn freelance marketing, you can easily tell recruiters exactly what kind of options you’re open to. Over time, you can even start sending them personal notes and forming more of a relationship- that’s where the real magic happens.
If you want to grab my free step-by-step instructions for setting your profile up for recruiters, get that here.
Connect On and Off LinkedIn to Stay “Front and Center” With Freelance Leads
If you’re pitching people over Upwork or over email, follow that up with a connection request on LinkedIn. If you’ve done your job with posting content on LinkedIn (see below!), then connecting on this platform in addition to your other methods can highlight that you know what you’re talking about.
I like my LinkedIn connections to see my name regularly, so I often post content of my own and leave comments on other people’s content. When it comes time for them to outsource freelance work on LinkedIn, my name is at the top of their mind.
When a new connection views your LinkedIn profile, they’ll ideally see the great profile you’ve written for yourself in addition to your most recent activity. Let them scope you out and be impressed!
I find it’s best to send a simple connection request noting how we came across one another “Hey, I’m a big fan of XYZ already. In fact, you’ll probably see an email from me in your company inbox! Would love to connect here.”
Don’t pitch them all over again. Try to keep it natural so that LinkedIn works somewhat like a follow-up tool for you. To land freelance work on LinkedIn, odds are you might have to connect multiple times and generate conversations.
Your Profile + Content Always Speak For You
The way you build value on LinkedIn is by claiming expert status in your corner of the world and being consistent with how you connect and post content to others. Therefore, your profile and your activity on the site should always speak for you to help you find freelance work on LinkedIn.
If you haven’t optimized your LinkedIn profile yet, don’t even waste time publishing content. Sending traffic to a LinkedIn profile that’s outdated or not applicable to your industry doesn’t do anything. It’s far better to make sure that your profile is updated first before you start any marketing or outreach on the platform.
Within your profile and in your regularly posted content, it’s important to be aware of your brand. How do people in the professional world perceive you? For me, it’s that I’m a straight shooter who speaks up for fair relationships with and treatment of freelancers. So that means it’s okay for me to make statements about platforms I don’t love or kinds of clients to avoid. That’s within my brand wheelhouse.
If you’re a sarcastic person and your clients like that about you, you can add some elements of that branding to your marketing on LinkedIn. The most important thing is to be consistent- don’t try to be someone you’re not, either.
Speaking of content, I go over this in great detail in the LinkedIn for Freelancers course. I talk about how often to write, how long your posts should be, and how to use LinkedIn as a platform to share your expert insight.