Q: How far do you feel a freelancer has to wade into the murky waters of online social media? What do you view as wasting time, and what actually shows results?
A: A pertinent question in this day and age.
Personally I have found social media like Facebook and Twitter do little or nothing for my bottom line with respect to freelancing. By “bottom line” I mean the only thing that counts . . . putting jobs on the board. I have not gotten even one single, real job directly from my social media presence. That includes LinkedIn. I may be abnormal in that regard (I am certainly abnormal in other regards), so perhaps others find it a great source of work. I do not.
That said, I do not think social media is something a freelancer can ignore. My website, and to a lesser extent this blog, has resulted in numerous “real” jobs (those being the kind a client pays a professional-level fee for, as opposed to the hundreds of “Puh-LEEEEZ draw my caricature for free!” or “I can’t pay you much, but think of the EXPOSURE!” types of “jobs”) via web searches and referrals. Social media is gradually becoming like a mini-internet in and of itself, and having a strong presence there early might pay dividends down the road. I don’t do a lot with Twitter, other than to tweet when I have a new blog post up, but on Facebook I have both an art page and a company page, which really needs to be redone. It’s free to set these things up (the basic ones, anyway) so why not?
At thing point I would establish a Facebook/LinkedIn/Twitter identity as a freelancer, but concentrate any real time and effort into building a strong general web presence and online portfolio. As with any internet endeavor, you have to drive traffic to it yourself, by getting your URL in front of potential clients. The best way to do that these days is still the old fashioned direct mail postcard.
Thanks to Seth Wilks¬¨‚Ä† for the question. If you have a question you want answered for the mailbag about cartooning, illustration, MAD Magazine, caricature or similar,¬¨‚Ä†e-mail me¬¨‚Ä†and I’ll try and answer it here!
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