This guest blog I wrote for the ASBPE (The American Society of Business Publication Editors) National blog may be of interest to freelance writers and journalists, but also relevant to marketers and publishers as well. The point is that, regardless of if you think social media and social networking is too much hype and not enough substance, there is a perception that goes with social media involvement.
Those that are actively involved in social media immediately have an impression of those people that aren’t. Right or wrong, the reality is there. My position is that NOT being involved in social media, as a writer, a business, or a marketer, could significantly hurt a customer’s or prospect’s perception of that individual or organization.
Here is my take below from how I evaluate freelance writers. Whatever your position, you may want to look at your own social media persona and envision how you may be perceived.
“1. First I check their website. If they have no website, that’s a problem.
2. Then I check to see if they have a blog. A freelance writer without a blog makes no sense to me. It is the ultimate promotional tool for a qualified writer, yet I find that most writers don’t have one. (For those without a lot of money to spend on a
website, use the blog as your website. It costs nothing.) And yes, even those of you with steady gigs should have blogs.
3. Then I check their LinkedIn profile. How many contacts to they have? (Fifty should be a minimum.) This shows me that they really know how to network, which can help with sources for any story. In reality, 100 contacts is probably the minimum.
4. If they pass the first three tests, that’s a great sign. For other references, I Google their name to see if anything interesting comes up. Facebook, StumbleUpon, Digg profiles all help. Those tell me that this person has a clear understanding of the benefits of social media, and knows how to use it.
This whole process takes all of five minutes … five minutes well spent. It helps me figure out who I should really talk to, whose work I should evaluate. Fewer than 5% of all the writers I come in contact with pass these four tests. Those are the ones I’m interested in working with. They understand networking, social media, the value of writing as a form of marketing, and that the way you get new business in the writing world has forever changed. You are what the web says you are — and you have almost 100% control over that message. Very powerful.”