How many times have you come across freelancers who may have less skill than you but end up securing a gig just because they are better at promoting themselves?

Promoting ourselves is hard. It’s often perceived with negative connotations because we imagine salespeople willing to say just about anything to get a sale. No creative talent wants to be perceived this way, and no one likes a bragger, so most of us will avoid overt self-promotion. But for the freelancing community to continue to flourish, self-promotion strategies are critical to ensure the independent professional can gain a consistent stream of work.

CreativesAtWork aims to support and advocate for the freelance community and hosted a workshop on 30-August 2018 to help Singapore’s top-performing creative freelancers feel more comfortable promoting their personal brand. Ex-LinkedIn employee and Brand and Marketing Specialist, Jacelyn Tan was invited to show CreativesAtWork freelancers how to get more business by enhancing their online profile.

With over 600 million users on LinkedIn, all focussed on business development, Jacelyn explained that to some degree all freelancers are salespeople – and you need to be. The truth is, it doesn’t matter how skilful or talented you are, chances are very slim that you will be randomly discovered.

If you didn’t get a chance to be there, here’s a summary of Jacelyn’s top 5 ways to get people’s attention on the go-to network for business professionals, LinkedIn:

1) Set the right first impression with a strong profile image and background photo.

Did you know LinkedIn profiles that have a picture are 11 times more likely to be viewed?

A review of ‘power profiles’ however makes it very clear that not all photos are equally effective. Your profile photo should not look like it belongs on a dating site, stock photo site, or non-business-related social network. That means, no selfies, no pets, and no significant others.

To strengthen your personal brand an appropriate background photo can also inject some personality and help you stand out.

2) Capture viewers’ attention with an enticing headline and summary.

The job of your headline is to ensure you are found and entice people to click. The secret recipe is identifying the words that you want to be found for and using those keywords in your headline.

Your profile summary should be written in a way that tells everyone what you do, how you do it, and most importantly why you do it. This helps create a connection with the reader on a personal level.

3) Seek endorsements and written testimonials from your network.

While LinkedIn makes it super easy to build credibility the default request message for skills and testimonials is dreadfully boring and impersonal. Increase the odds of your requests being accepted by crafting a brief personal message which tells the person what you would like to help people with and what skills you would like to be identified for.

4) Grow your network and proactively connect to people you know.

500 is the magic number. Having 500+ connections gives you a special edge when it comes to searching and will boost your professional standing. But, quality is also key. You should seek to establish connections with people, not just add metrics. If you’ve exhausted your personal network, LinkedIn Groups are a great way to meet like-minded people.

5) Engage your followers by using content marketing to convert leads.

To grow your influence, gain more visibility, acquire new followers and convert leads, highlight your expertise and interest by posting awesome content, daily! To maximise engagement and virality don’t forget to always leave a call to action.

While modesty was once considered a strong trait, it’s clear it’s no longer advantageous, especially for freelancers. To get ahead and do more of what you love doing, the ability to communicate your value is critical. And, in a digital world, it all starts with a killer LinkedIn profile.

Don’t underutilise the power of LinkedIn. Research shows the number of freelancers on the platform has grown by 50% in 5 years! To stand out amongst the crowd, use Jacelyn’s recommendations to create a strong profile that grows your personal brand, and gains you more exposure.

So, what are you waiting for? Go, make yourself look amazing, wow your connections, and grow your influence! A goldmine of quality clients awaits.

For more tips and tricks join CreativesAtWork next month at ‘Freelancing 101 Bootcamp’ – an intensive training boot camp designed for Singapore’s top-performing creative talents. Learn other ways to strengthen your personal brand, how to utilise social media to advertise your services, ways to overcome business-related challenges and receive personal portfolio reviews by industry experts. Subsidies up to 100% of the course fee are available! For more details visit Freelancing 101