I use Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, in addition to my own web site, as part of my business presence. If you're a freelance editorial professional, I think that you should do so too.
To learn what Twitter does for me and to read instructions for getting it to do the same for you, read my article in the current issue (volume 25, number 2) of the AMWA Journal. I believe so strongly in the usefulness of Twitter that I am one of the people who serve as the official Twitter voice for both the Council of Science Editors and the Board of Editors in the Life Sciences.
The book I've coauthored that I've recently posted about here—my first ever authorship of a book produced by a traditional publisher—came my way solely because of Twitter. The book's publisher found me on Twitter, liked how I represented myself and my skills, asked me to contract with them first as a copyeditor and then as a developmental editor, and then offered me the chance to be a coauthor.
My Facebook page is in my personal name, not my business's name. That's because when I signed up for Facebook, I wasn't aware that businesses could have Facebook profiles, and by now, I don't want to have to do the work of setting up a business profile and then to have to remember to post only nonwork stuff on my namesake profile and only work stuff on my business profile. I do post the occasional personal note on Facebook, such as yesterday's announcement that I believe I have the sweetest husband in the world, but I don't believe that that reflects negatively on my professionalism. After all, editorial professionals do sometimes have life partners. ;-) But generally, I post information and links about the publishing industry, science publishing, freelancing, and health-care news...because I am a full-time freelance copyeditor, working mostly with medical manuscripts. Some of my clients have "friended" me there; lots of my colleagues have. I like Facebook because it's much more up-to-the-moment than my fairly static business web site is. As I do with Twitter, I believe so strongly in the usefulness of Facebook that I am one of the people who manage the Facebook pages of the Council of Science Editors and the Board of Editors in the Life Sciences.
LinkedIn, for me, serves as a more traditional-feeling venue for showcasing my résumé, work background, and related information. I think it's an excellent tool especially for freelancers who don't yet have their own business web sites; the free version of LinkedIn will let you display all that you need to without the headaches of setting up and maintaining a web site. Your profile will, though, have pretty much the same look as everyone else's on LinkedIn, which isn't the case on your own business web site. You can establish your authority and reputation on LinkedIn by participating in group discussions and sharing your expertise when less-experienced folks ask questions. And you can use LinkedIn to find out information about potential corporate clients by studying their profiles.
I figure that through my web site, potential clients get a good idea of my professional qualifications. Through Facebook and Twitter, they can get a fairly real-time sense of what it's like to work with me and deal with me. Let's face it: Many of us have fired clients because even though they offered plenty of work, they treated us shoddily. It would be great to be able to determine ahead of time whether a potential client is going to be hell to work with or out of touch with industry best practices. Shouldn't I give potential clients the chance to see whether, in addition to being well qualified, I'm also pleasant to deal with and knowledgeable about current events and trends in the fields I work in?
marketing social media Twitter Facebook LinkedIn freelance copyeditor copyediting medical editing publishing EditorMom