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For at least a couple of years I have been trying to build awareness of my writing/copyediting communications business. I have even tried offering my services in exchange for referrals, but without success. It's been very discouraging: no one seems to be interested in writing/editing.

I read this stackexchange post on building up presence (among a couple of others), and one of the things that has been repeatedly mentioned is social media. For a time I had a Twitter page that included quick, writing-oriented quips and questions designed to (hopefully) get people thinking about the need for my services, but without any consistent business, I began to lose both material and inspiration. Additionally, I have a day job, so I have a bit more pressure regarding the time I can give to my business, unlike pure entrepreneurs (I have to make sure I maintain what pay the bills!). My question is, do I really need these outlets, and what would I post...particularly on a social-media platform like Facebook which calls for more extensive, detailed postings? In my position, do I need these outlets?

I just thought I'd ask; I'm not sure if/how social media would help at this point. Thank you for trying to help in advance.

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Generally, people starting a business hope to advertise their way to at least the first clients.

Quite often, this turns out to be a costly misconception, as it turns out that one needs to actively demonstrate to clients that they need your service.

This may very well apply in your case as well, as you deliver 'writing', which everyone in business is already doing to some degree. They do it themselves or have a secretary or intern handle what writing needs to be done. Most are probably relatively satisfied and are therefore not looking for your services at all.

You might need to demonstrate what it actually is you offer that goes above and beyond what they already have in place. And that could be tricky, as contacting a client always implies that you personally believe their current solution is insufficient. This was not a problem for me when I started out making websites editable, as the clients agreed that their current solution was unsatisfactory. You - however - could risk stepping on peoples' toes by criticizing writing performed by someone connected to the client.

Perhaps a better bet for you would be offering your services as a sub-contractor to larger firms, so you become part of a package. When it turns out you cannot get to the clients directly, the only option is to go after the ones who have the clients.

Promoting yourself to these firms may very well be done using social media, having a blog and the like. However, even though you only deliver writing, you would probably need to have an aesthetically pleasing layout, as these firms tend to evaluate the whole picture.

So - you perhaps need to change a bit from having a direct client focus to an indirect one, where your primary target are the firms you want to sub-contract for.

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In my experience, social marketing for business works well mostly when there is a good social strategy that involves a lot of effort in terms of investment, hours of work and specialized people. You almost can't do that in your spare time.

Also I had the chance to go to an e-commerce conference and talking about social marketing, what came out clear is that in the average people don't read, unless the text is something that they are looking for (docs, recipes, news, ect). What works well in social maketing are images and video, these are the things that most attract interest and shares.

You could partecipate in some writing project, some multi-author books are being published and widely distributed so you will eventually get known and contacted. Or work for a bigger agency in the field of copywriting/editing/revision.

But let me tell you that in my 20+ experience of web design and development, maybe 1 or 2 times I saw a company paying someone for writing or editing texts, they do that mostly by themselves and usually they see the bigger competitor's website and almost copy the texts changing here and there to fit their needs.

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A lot of people are actively seeking to build their presence on social media sites online!

If there is one new thing I have learned from hanging out with other freelancers on Facebook groups is that people need to learn to build their online brands and social media presence. These are possible things to do:

Join boot camps

With the rise of online businesses, there is also a rise in the need for online coaching. Many SMEs and freelancers are in need of support for their newly found businesses. Boot camps is one way to get just that. Find boot camps that focus on helping you in achieving your desired goals

More strategies

You need more social media strategies. Practice the different scenarios that may happen and document your brainstorming activities. Design your strategies based on practicality. Make sure to follow your social media strategies and document your results!

Educate your clients

Teach your clients how to work with you. As silly as this may sound, they might not know how to best work with you, the unique business and individual whose services they may find useful. You need to teach offer them materials that will let them know how to work together at your level.

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