Why some freelance copywriters should spend less time in social media (and others should spend more)

In LinkedIn and Facebook and undoubtedly other social media you can find many groups for freelance copywriters.

Heck… years ago I had one LinkedIn group that grew to more than 1,000 members and it didn’t take me that long to build it. In fact, it was stupid easy.

Problem was, I didn’t have the time or inclination to be social. And so that group was not that valuable… meaning not very responsive. When I shut it down a year later the best I got from it was about 150 new copywriters transferred to my email mailing list. Better than nothing, and some would say “not bad!”.

Now as a coach, it could be valuable for me to market to these social media groups. And in some places, I do. But I never feel comfortable about it.

However, as a freelance copywriter, I find these same groups a bore. Rather than chit chat during work hours, I prefer to be writing for clients and earning money.

Now, I get the “community” part of this. Back when I started my feeble, upstart copywriting career eons before the Internet brought us together, I was pathetically alone.

I knew NO copywriters except for one poor Vietnam Vet with severe PST who worked for an agency and could not help me with any kind of good advice at all. Mostly I just listened to his woes. I could have used a few thousand copywriter friends at that time to give me advice and prove that the business really was out there.

productivity300So for new copywriters, I get it. Social media is a way to deal with the isolation… to get free advice… to gather around the watering hole. And for those who build copywriting communities, it gains them the following they need to sell their courses and workshops and T-shirts and other offerings.

But here’s what I really think of social media and copywriters:

  1. You must have a very well done LinkedIn profile and you need to work that social media for all it’s worth because it’s the largest community of professionals on the planet. Your potential clients are there!
  2. If you’re going to hang out in a group and chit chat, look for groups in LinkedIn where you can peddle your influence and build a reputation as a knowledgeable, talented copywriting resource and make your time in social media profitable.
  3. Create a social media group for the same reason but be prepared for the time-cost.
  4. If you’re a working copywriter, spending time in social media solely for chit chat is a distraction and will hurt your income.
  5. If social media is part of what you offer, then obviously you need to be there, but in a leadership capacity.
  6. Some copywriters really embrace social media. They’re social media butterflies. They should make some money off of their talent (since most copywriters are introverts). They should become evangelists for businesses who can use their talent.

Evangelism is nothing new. Some parts of the technology world have made evangelism their #1 marketing method.

And since evangelism is a very effective marketing tactic, I’m looking for some social media butterflies myself. If you know any copywriters who are truly active in social media — not coaches, or gurus, or people selling to copywriters — but copywriters who are social media mavens with a good reputation, then I’d like to know their names. There’s a job waiting for one or more of them.

Please nominate your pick in the comments below.

© 2016 Chris Marlow, All Rights Reserved

P.S. — Did you know? The S.S. Treasure Hunt is THE alternative. When you’re ready to quit talking and start doing — and making money — then you’re ready to join the S.S. Treasure Hunt.

About Chris Marlow

The original copywriter's coach, Chris Marlow has worked with copywriters since 2003. Her acclaimed Marlow Marketing Method™ Client Acquisition Course has produced hundreds of successful copywriters. Chris' S.S. Treasure Hunt membership site not only houses this course but four more on the subjects of Copywriting, Advanced Copywriting, Productivity, and Closing Clients. The S.S. Treasure Hunt also contains the world's only statistical pricing database for about 100 copywriting jobs. Chris has put together this resource to give copywriters everything they need to succeed — and nothing they don't. Chris is committed to helping copywriters focus on what's important, saving them from the time- and money-wasting Bright Shiny Object Syndrome so prevalent on the Internet.

12 Responses to Why some freelance copywriters should spend less time in social media (and others should spend more)

  1. Rick Guffey April 10, 2017 at 7:15 am #

    My big problem with Social Media…

    The fact that everyone is doing it because the next guy is, yet very few people are actually making measurable returns with it.

    Sounds a LOT like brand advertising to me.

    Which could be a good thing, in the long run.  But, many people I know who are jumping on the ‘twit every hour’ bandwagon could be doing things that ARE going to make them money.

    What if the people you know, those who are in struggle mode in their business, put the same efforts into things that got them in front of paying customers? 
    If they are spending every hour tweeting about some website they saw, and are spending the in-between time reading other tweets … are they getting ANYTHING productive done?

    Worrying about the great relationships you are creating with the completely WRONG target market is NOT making you money. 

    • Chris Marlow April 10, 2017 at 8:46 am #

      It’s all about how you spend your time… efficiency. Look at how CEOs spend their time. Some don’t even have computers! Bare desk, one big problem solved at a time. Deal making. They get paid so much more because they produce more with their time.

  2. Judy July 29, 2016 at 3:07 pm #

    I’m new in the business, but I’ve gotten a couple of clients on FB groups. The ones that hired me had 3 things in common. They all …

    1. were directed to my services by other clients/colleagues
    2. went to my site and liked what they saw
    3. signed up for a free 30-minute discovery call

    I belong to several groups and regularly scan for jobs that I or people I know can fulfill.

    And I have an interview coming up for someone’s private subscription series on setting and meeting goals – scheduled for September! We connected on FB.

    I love working with creative entrepreneurs – there is an excitement inherent in beginnings and launches. That said, I’m working through the MMM in the hopes of getting more clients that already use copywriters.

    • Chris Marlow July 29, 2016 at 3:16 pm #

      Hi Judy,

      I was wondering if anyone would respond who got business from Facebook. FB is good for some niche markets, and entrepreneurs are one of them. If I were writing copy for coaches, as one of my copywriter friends does (I’m thinking of you, Beverly Bergman), I’d definitely be mining FB. And as far as ads go, you can’t get more targeted than FB.

      As to the Marlow Marketing Method™, I have some exciting discoveries coming soon about new ways to access high quality “ready to buy” leads. Watch the module on Building Your List.

  3. sandy July 29, 2016 at 2:00 pm #

    I find LinkedIn to be the best place to reach out to new clients. But for the most part, social media will waste my time if I let it. I guess I’m just not that social, by nature.

    • Chris Marlow July 29, 2016 at 3:07 pm #

      Hi Sandy,

      Spoken like a true introvert 🙂

      • Chris Marlow July 29, 2016 at 3:09 pm #

        But I do thank you for speaking up in our Roll Calls and Regattas!

  4. Dennis Jarecke July 29, 2016 at 1:43 pm #

    Lots of things to say about social media and few of them are good . . .

    However, take a look at the May 2016 Journal of Marketing article entitled “Brand Buzz in the Echoverse.” It’s worth the read. This is how I described it in my monthly newsletter:

    How to calm social media firestorms and get more money when everyone hates you . . .

    A research paper came out in the Journal of Marketing that you should read and be aware of. It’s entitled Brand Buzz in the Echoverse and it talks about the relationship between traditional company communications, social media, consumer sentiment, and business outcomes.

    The idea is that company communications, social media, and consumer sentiment “echo” off of each other to create a reverberating “echoverse.”

    You may be thinking, “Well, duh!”

    My thoughts exactly, but what this paper gives you is a map of those interactions, practical techniques on how to influence social media communications and strategies for using your communications to drive business outcomes.

    What’s more interesting is that the data for this paper comes from analyzing the top 4 U.S. banks during the financial crisis. So if you’re a financial institution it’s even more important to read this paper. But even if you aren’t, it provides useful strategies for calming consumer sentiment and social media during periods of massive negative exposure.

    Here are some of the highlights:

    * High-volume, consistent (lots of them) and reasonably toned (neutral and not overly positive toward the company) Twitter strategies work best. They resonate with consumers, calm social media firestorms, and enhance customer deposits.

    * Use social media for responding to individual customers rather than as a broadcast medium for promoting your company.

    * Press releases are surprisingly effective. Press releases with a positive tone are picked up quickly in social media and they are effective in lifting customer deposits.

    * Traditional advertising is still important. It bypasses social media and directly lifts business outcomes.

    * Each bank in the research dealt with social media firestorms differently giving you a template of tweets you can examine and mimic as needed.

    See http://journals.ama.org/doi/abs/10.1509/jm.15.0033

    Oh yeah, and if you need to post regularly you can save time with something like Social Cloud Suite.

    Anyway, great post Chris. Thanks!

  5. Bob Martel July 29, 2016 at 12:52 pm #

    I’m one of those introverts and I hate most social media. I reserve FB for close friends and family (only way to communicate with my progeny) and my cardinal rule is: No Facebook M-F before 6 pm!

    LinkedIn has become my primary source of new clients. I have no interest in anything else. I’m being paid by clients to write about 6 hours a day and don’t have time anyway. I work on LinkedIn updates and messages in the evening and on weekends.

    My ideal client is the CMO of a medium-sized industrial company that manufactures and sells engineered equipment and machinery. Most of them are on LinkedIn, but they couldn’t be bothered with chit-chat and tweets. If they are using Messenger, Twitter or Snapchat at all, it would be with THEIR clients and prospects. They still use the phone a lot and are easy to approach with snail mail and e-mail.

    Bob Bly has reported some stats showing that the newer social media platforms are be considerably less effective in generating leads and increasing sales than traditional direct mail and e- mail. I have found that to be true for my targeted markets

    • Chris Marlow July 29, 2016 at 2:56 pm #

      Thanks for sharing Bob. LinkedIn is indeed the one social media to pay attention to and as one who receives a lot of feedback from copywriters, Linkedin has had no detractors. Mostly copywriters aren’t mining its potential. Congrats on doing it the smart way!

  6. Dan July 29, 2016 at 7:55 am #

    Hah…couldn’t agree more.

    I personally do not like social media. I’m trying to get clients out of social media, but no real success. Have increased followers on Twitter by 33% over the past year, but again that’s done me no good.

    Working LinkedIn at the moment, and just post to Twitter so I look like I’m active to clients.

    Current strategy on LinkedIn is to send a “Hello” e-mail to start conversations/relationships with potential clients, and that includes a link to a blog post I got published on a reputable blog, and a free report created using the Marlow Marketing Method.

    See if that doesn’t warm up and start generating some leads.

    Interested in anyone else’s experiences/success stories.

    • Chris Marlow July 29, 2016 at 8:08 am #

      I do the same on Twitter, Dan… post so it doesn’t look like I’m dead, LOL! I hope others share what they’ve gotten out of social media in terms of copywriting clients. I have gotten good business for my coaching but it’s only a few percentage points compared to other efforts.

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