Everyone keeps talking about social media and how we've all just got to be a part of it. I'm not sure who the “everyone” is really, but I'll fill you in: they're right. For one of the first times in my life, listening to my peers paid off in all the right ways.
I started small joining LinkedIn and reconnected with many contacts. Through the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon-style efforts, I found many others with whom I should be connected.
Later, I moved over to Facebook. I thought it would be simply a better way to stay connected with friends. Blogging had grown old to me and was getting tiresome. Trolls were irritating me and after doing it since July 2004, I was ready to slow down just a tad. My personal blog is still there, but is neglected, I hate to admit. It was writing I did for pleasure and when it ceased to be fun, I slowed down.
But, this Facebook thing, it’s a lot of fun and I learned — lo and behold — it could land me a bucketload of work. It really has. I have had my foot in the door to a couple of big contracts that haven’t come through just yet, but it was a way in that I hadn’t before had. I have gotten numerous freelancing and subcontracting gigs there for people I’ve never met in person. Through contacts of other contacts and name recognition, I’ve successfully “friended” many professionals, from the public relations and marketing world to magazines and other professionals. And I’ve reaped the benefits of multiple projects from it.
It has also worked well looking for sources for articles. I needed to find a local car dealer for an article and no one was returning my cold calls. I posted on FB what I needed and about a half-dozen journalist or PR friends posted the name of a PR gal who repped a car dealer. A few hours after posting that request, I was done with my interview. The same has happened for multiple stories. It has worked 100 times better than going to Help a Reporter Out. (I’ve never had luck there.)
So, if you're still dragging your feet about the whole social media thing or consider it a time-waster - you’re only partially right. It can definitely be a drain on your valuable time, but it can also be a boon for finding work or finding sources for your projects.
Look me up on LinkedIn or Facebook.