Need More Freelance Leads? Unplugging Can Help

By April 9, 2011

Lately I’ve been doing quite a bit of business development for my freelance services, and its forced me even further out of my box than ever. I’m not speaking of being an introvert (even though I am), or of being a “doer” versus a “seller” (even though I am). I’m talking about stepping out of my box as a technology junkie. Let me explain.

A couple of weeks ago I attended geo-location application Foursquare’s second birthday party in Chicago. It was held in a development space where Android apps were developed, and the crowd was heavily plugged in. It was a geeky Utopia: Foursquare check-ins, QR codes on the walls, live tweeting, the whole nine yards. I half expected to be able to use a QR code to get into the bathroom.

The night after, I attended a networking meeting outside Milwaukee. These folks were all professionals, all intelligent, and no doubt accomplished in their respective industries. The immediate difference was that there was very little regard for social marketing tools that had been present the night before. Most attendees had little more than a short blurb about themselves on LinkedIn, let alone any thoughts about using a blog or Facebook page to promote their businesses.

A lot of technical people or social media marketers may have found an event like this hard to find interest in, and I can’t deny that I found myself wishing for someone to geek out with. As I thought about it, however, I realized that this is exactly where I needed to be as a freelancer. Reaching out to potential customers on Twitter and Facebook can work, but approaching them and leading them to use the tools is even better. Why?

– They haven’t developed any bad habits with the tools yet.
– There is an immediate need; already having a presence may give the feeling that they are “already handling social media”.
– There is a clean benchmark date for analytics, sales, etc. to prove ROI
– A tiered campaign can be launched by rolling out each tool slowly instead of overwhelming the client right away.
They haven’t developed any bad habits with the tools yet.

I repeated the first point on purpose because I wanted to make sure it sticks with you. I used to work on cars and still know enough to be dangerous, but when something breaks on my car, I don’t start tearing into things I don’t understand. The reason is because I know that it’s easier to fix things when they’re broken than to try and fix something that’s broken and fixed badly. Companies with no presence on social sites at all may seem “broken” and may appear to be a bigger challenge, but at the same time, at least you do not have to tear through a duct tape solution.

Freelancers, what’s been your experience with offline networking events? Do you feel there’s value in them? Why or why not?

This post originally appeared on Social Media Brat, click here for the original article.