Social media is powerful, so powerful that you can use it's many tools to build exposure and find work. In the old days, you could only submit your resume and cover letter to the HR manager, hoping that they will land you your dream job. But today, you can use Twitter, Facebook, and even blogs to find your next big project and to work with people you trust and believe in.
Here are some very innovative ways to find work via social media, some of which are already tried and tested by yours truly:
1. RSS FEEDS
Online job boards (including oDesk's own job board) are usually equipped with their own RSS feed that you can subscribe to. This gives you the opportunity to receive daily feeds of the latest and most relevant jobs posted without having to visit the site(s) again and again.
You can subscribe to your favorite job board's RSS feed to view the latest jobs posted. This gives you a bit of an edge because you can instantly click on the link and apply for the job immediately. And assuming that the employer just posted the job ad, he'd still be online to check your application out and (hopefully) accept you for an interview.
Regarded as one of the best tools to connect and interact, Twitter's an excellent way to find and share news about job opportunities for freelancers. You can use Twitter to search for people looking for freelance talent, follow profiles that tweet career advice or quality job posts regularly, engage with people and companies you'd like to work with in the future, and share your own content.
If you've been tweeting good stuff, a client may even send you a direct message to hire you for a project.oDesk also has its own set of Twitter profiles dedicated to tweets about new job posts, including @salesmarketjobs, @writetransjobs, and @webdesignerjobs. If you don't like the RSS format, you can follow these profiles to search for new job postings on the site.
One piece of advice that worked for me is to join LinkedIn groups that interest you or that are dedicated to professionals of a particular industry. This way, if a client needs a writer (and you belong to a LinkedIn group dedicated to the writing industry), he'd identify you as a potential writer to hire instantly.
By connecting with friends and building relationships, you can use Facebook to find projects and possible career opportunities. You can either contact friends who are currently hiring new talent or build relationships with those who are working at your favorite companies.
But don't use Facebook to message people and ask for work if they aren't looking for help. Build relationships on Facebook. By building relationships, you build trust in people. And with trust established, they'll be more than willing to approach you for projects and partnerships that come up, as opposed to approaching someone they've never heard of before.
Blogs have evolved from simple journaling of one's thoughts to a source of information. With blogs, you can comment on posts that interest you, publish your own content for an audience, and can even write articles for other blogs (a.k.a. guest posting).
The best thing about blogs is that they build communities who share the same interests, and members of these communities can be your next clients. If you're writing or guest posting for a niche blog on web design, prospects who are looking for a web designer would want to check out your blog posts out and see if you've got the knowledge and the skills to help them with their projects.
At this point, you can see that building relationships and engaging in the exchange of valuable ideas and information in your field are crucial to finding work via social media. Keep these things in mind, and you might suddenly find yourself chatting with a client who saw you on his Twitter or LinkedIn networks.
What other tips (or social media tools) can you think of that have helped you find work? Go ahead and share them in the comments!