Friday Marketing Spotlight: Samar Owais
When I met Dubai-based freelance blogger and ebook-writer Samar Owais on Twitter, I was sure she had a special recipe for success. She’s got writing talent I recognize as being natural to her, but talent alone has no bearing on the success of a business. Yet Samar’s been very successful building her business using social media.
Not everyone is able to feel rhythm for marketing on social media, even after years of interacting. So I was hoping she’d stop by and share some of her best marketing lessons at my invitation here, and was thrilled when she did.
I don’t know about my first lesson, but my favourite lesson is that there’s no set marketing tactic or formula that will work for every business.
I nearly killed myself with exhaustion doing everything the gurus said I should do. In the end, I … decided to have fun. I stopped marketing completely. Apart from the occasional blog post, I stuck to Twitter because it was a lot of fun and I was meeting a whole bunch of really cool people.
One of those cool folks RT’d a tweet about a web design blog looking for writers and applied. Got accepted and wrote my first post for them. The same week I had an email from the editor of another web design blog who wanted me to write for him.
Long story short, I get 80% of my work through Twitter now. I do no SEO (probably should change that). I keep an eye on who’s checking out my profile on LinkedIn and which companies are following me on Twitter. Then I contact them asking whether they hire freelance writers or if there was anyway I could help them.
For me things changed the day I started thinking of marketing as socializing.
I agree that on social media, a consistent presence makes the greatest impression (Samar did on me!). So beyond the fiddly games with numbers, SEO, and strategy that we play, we need to connect with people as individuals, and support and share generously.
Speaking of generosity, Samar offered a few practical things she does regularly to keep projects coming in for her freelance business:
I keep a diligent eye on my followers and actively seek out new ones. If I see it’s a company, consultant or even a one man shop in my area of interest, I connect with them and ask if they work with bloggers.
I also routinely announce my availability. A couple of weeks ago, I sent out a tweet that said something along the lines of ‘I haven’t had a juicy ebook to write for a client in a while. Anyone looking to have an ebook written?’ I got 2 inquiries within 10 minutes.
Of course that was a happy coincidence and it doesn’t always yield results but I keep trying.
Also, when I say 80% it doesn’t mean I actively look for clients everyday or they come to me everyday. I have a few long term gigs which gives me room to market naturally.
…this weekend, go through your followers and see which companies follow up. Then DM them sending a simple “I was wondering if you guys work with freelancers and if yes, who may I contact?”
Try doing the same for folks who visit your profile in LinkedIn–I feel that’s a bit more targeted as folks on LinkedIn usually land on a profile after searching for a particular keyword. Use a general email that says “I noticed you looked at my profile. Were you looking for a particular kind of copy written? I’m a freelance writer with experience in…. Let me know if I can help in any way,” or something along those lines.
As well as a precaution:
One thing though – use these marketing tweets rarely. Do them too often and folks will get tired.
Thank you for your experiences and juicy strategies, Samar–and look, it’s Friday! Please give Samar a follow at @SamarOwais.
Share the marketing lessons you learned early on as you grew your business in the comments and take your place in the spotlight. Pretty please?
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This is such a great mini-case study of how social media opens doors, Shakirah and Samar! Thanks for writing it, and sharing how Samar gets writing gigs through Twitter and LinkedIn. I think every account we've gotten in the last couple of years has been directly or indirectly because of social media and/or SEO.
An early lesson? For us, social media didn't pay off until I began actively searching for small businesses active on Twitter, and then building genuine relationships with them there. Our own business changed dramatically once I understood what a great tool social media is for anyone who loves people and wants to help others! It's called "social" for a reason!
New England Multimedia I think your track record of gaining accounts via social media is one of the kinds of testimonies that make it clear that once you do it right, "just socializing" can make you some big bucks! Thanks for coming by, Michelle, always appreciate your support.
New England Multimedia I hear you on the building genuine relationships.
It's something that we often forget. Getting work through social media isn't simply about contacting the businesses and pitching your services.
It's about relationships. It's about positioning yourself as a friendly freelancer - one they'll think of when they need a freelancer or take seriously when said freelancer asks them if they need one.
Thanks for your comment! It's always good to hear from folks who found their own recipe for succeeding in social media :)