If you’re a freelancer, you should absolutely learn how to use LinkedIn to get clients.
LinkedIn has become the most popular platform for securing new jobs. The social media platform now has more than 850 million members with over 58 million registered companies. It gathers professionals, business owners, and C-level executives in one place.
In other words, LinkedIn can give freelancers ungated access to their target markets. Moreover, it provides the tools to find, connect, and build a relationship with potential clients.
If you’re wondering how to use LinkedIn to find new clients, just keep reading. You’ll learn seven major tactics on how to find clients on LinkedIn as a freelancer.
7 tips to finding new clients on LinkedIn
1. Understand your target market
Learning how to get clients on LinkedIn requires identifying the type of people you’re hoping to work with in the first place. These should also be your target audience. Identifying your target audience will help you create messages that attract the right types of customers.
So, how do you identify your target audience?
List what kinds of problems you solve with your service. Then list out the types of users who struggle with those problems. You’d probably get a list of large organizations, small businesses, or private individuals within a specific industry and location.
Once you identify your target clients, create a buyer persona. You can do that by following the steps outlined in the graphic above. The goal is to gain a deeper understanding of your target market so that you can align everything you do with what they want. For example, the copy you include in your LinkedIn profile section would speak to your target client’s pain points.
Here’s a great example of a freelancer who knows her prospects and what their pain points are (in this case, SEO). She uses what she knows about them to create compelling copy. In her profile, Jessica specifies that she’s not just a freelance finance writer and journalist. She’s also an expert in on-page SEO:
Your portfolio would also showcase the work these potential clients typically ask for. So, if your target audience is composed of people who want articles ranking higher on SERPs, then you’d include your articles in your portfolio and the relevant bits on how they fared in search engine results.
Bottom line? Any strategy to find new clients on LinkedIn will only be effective if you know who your ideal clients are.
2. Optimize your LinkedIn profile for search
Learning how to find clients on LinkedIn means polishing your profile first. If you optimize your LinkedIn profile accordingly, you’ll make it easier for clients to find you. Your LinkedIn profile is your calling card—especially when you’re a freelancer. You should present yourself in the best possible light.
Before you start optimizing your profile, make sure you know the right keywords and phrases people are using to find your service. You can use online tools like Moz to identify the best keywords and phrases for your profession.
You don’t just want people to find you on LinkedIn. You also want them to find your LinkedIn page on Google. So here’s how to maximize your LinkedIn profile for SEO:
Be descriptive in your headshot, banner, and images
Include keywords when naming your images, like a headshot or a banner. Uploading image files that include primary keywords people are looking for gives you a better chance of being found. So, for instance, if you’re a freelance accountant in a specific location, you could add words like “Best Accountant Service in Seattle” to your photo.
Also, a professional-looking photo gets users 14 times more views than other types of LinkedIn profile pictures. This image is a good example of a professional-looking photo:
Use keywords in your headline, summary, and job description
You should make sure that your headline, summary, and job description talk about the value you offer and include popular keywords. In our example above, notice that Kimberley sprinkles in multiple keywords related to art and design all throughout her profile.
Your LinkedIn headline is the most important part of your profile. Along with your name and photo, this is the first thing people see when they look at your profile.
Your headline should be a maximum of 120 characters and encourage people to connect with you. It should offer what your prospective clients are looking for.
Fill out your skills section
The skills section is indexed by Google. Put your key skills in the top three of the list—that’s how many appear when people glance at your LinkedIn profile.
Additionally, ask your coworkers and members of your network to endorse you. (It’s always great to return the favor, too!)
Name your links within the contact information section
Instead of keeping the boring default “Personal website” text next to your website and relevant links, choose “Other” from the drop-down list and name your link with relevant keywords and descriptive phrases.
Don’t forget to write a custom URL for your LinkedIn user profile. Having a custom LinkedIn URL will help with SEO. So, if the LinkedIn.com/in/yourname URL is taken, mix it up with your brand name or a service that you offer, like linkedin.com/in/yournamegraphicdesign.
3. Look at your views to find quality opportunities
Another way to learn how to get new clients on LinkedIn is to review who looked at your profile. You can assume that people who searched for a freelancer and clicked on your profile are interested in your skills. Take this opportunity to connect and start new business collaborations.
A free LinkedIn account allows you to see just the last five people who viewed your profile. Checking often will help you avoid missing opportunities. You can also upgrade to a Premium account so you can see everyone who’s viewed your profile.
In the image above, notice how you can also view members who have read your articles. These folks might just become your new leads.
You can get the emails of prospective clients from LinkedIn with tools like Evaboot. They can help you automate all your email list-building tasks. Ultimately, you can use these emails to engage with potential clients via email marketing.
You can also use an outreach platform in your digital marketing strategy to help you find more potential clients to bring into your sales funnel.
4. Join relevant LinkedIn Groups
Joining relevant groups on LinkedIn is another way of finding new clients. By joining groups related to your niche or interests, you will widen your social circle on LinkedIn. Being active in groups is a great way to meet and engage with potential customers. Here’s how:
Search for groups on LinkedIn by using the search bar at the top of your homepage.
If you start typing, you’ll see suggestions:
The screenshot below shows how you can navigate to Groups after searching for a term, for example, “marketer”:
If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at the groups your prospects have joined. Join the most relevant ones to your business and your target audience. LinkedIn allows you to join up to 100 groups.
Here’s an example of a good group freelance marketers can join:
Notice that the group has over 1,000 members. That number is bound to include a prospect. Even if all of its members are marketers, you can still get referrals and expand your network.
Lastly, have a peek at other freelancers’ profiles within your niche. You should be able to spot the best LinkedIn groups to join for your business.
5. Connect using personalized requests
Another tactic for how to use LinkedIn to get clients is to connect with them personally and personalize your connection requests. Using LinkedIn’s default text when sending a new connection request won’t get you noticed. Take this opportunity to write out a personalized message. It doesn’t have to be long.
If you know the person or have a mutual contact, mention it! Details like that are great conversation starters. If you don’t, try commenting on the person’s work or a post they’ve published recently. It can be something along the lines of “Hi [Name], hope you’re doing well. I’ve recently read your blog article about [topic] and found it very interesting…”
You can also try generative AI to create your personalized message. You just need to insert the right prompts.
Sending a personalized message gives you a higher chance of your request getting accepted. Plus, it drastically increases the likelihood of potential customers interacting with you.
Sharing valuable content on LinkedIn is another way to find a client. Creating high-quality content also boosts your authority, no matter which digital marketing means you use.
There are tons of different content types you can share on LinkedIn. If you’re a freelance graphic designer, for example, you can share a webinar, infographics, or industry-related articles. Check out this example below:
The content that you post on the platform can also be published in LinkedIn groups. This is an easy strategy to help expand your network and reach new clients.
If you want to write your own article, LinkedIn has released an internal blog channel within the social network itself. It’s called LinkedIn Pulse and users can write their articles using the tool for sharing with their LinkedIn network.
If you’re a writer and run a blog, you can use LinkedIn Pulse to publish your articles. Here’s an example from freelance writer Ashley Cummings:
Notice that the topic of Ashley’s article is related to her niche. She’s a freelance writer looking for clients, so her LinkedIn Pulse post is about what to look for when hiring a B2B freelance writer. It’s a good topic that potential employers will be interested in.
Opening the Pulse editor to write your own article is super easy. From the top of your homepage, click on “Write article”:
This opens up the editor:
Remember to use the relevant keywords to increase your visibility on the platform and write your Pulse posts in plain language. Label your images with the right keyword phrases. Once you’re done with your writing and have optimized your images, simply hit the “Publish” button.
A study that analyzed over 3,000 LinkedIn posts revealed that “how to” and list post headlines performed the best. Also, posts with titles comprising 40-49 characters were ranked the highest. LinkedIn analytics will help you check the reach of your published articles. This way, you’ll be able to see what kind of topics are most popular among LinkedIn users.
If you have your own website, you can share an article you wrote from your site on LinkedIn, too. Complement this LinkedIn sharing strategy with content optimization and you’ll reap the SEO benefits.
7. Always follow up with your LinkedIn leads
Whenever your request is accepted by a new LinkedIn connection, say thank you. Reach out with this message within 24 hours if possible.
Try to keep in touch with your contacts now and again. LinkedIn sends notifications if someone publishes a post, makes changes to their job information, or gets an achievement. Take every opportunity to congratulate your connections on starting a new job or getting a promotion and start a conversation.
Other ideas for following up with your LinkedIn leads include passing along relevant content that your leads might find interesting. You can also like and comment whenever your leads publish an article on LinkedIn Pulse.
Your comments and messages should contain some kind of value. Avoid general comments like “Good job” or “I agree” on a LinkedIn lead’s article. Ask a question or present an alternate viewpoint to start a conversation. This way, you’ll stand out from the crowd, and your new lead will remember you later on.
Learning how to use LinkedIn to find clients will help your freelance business grow. Whether you’ve just started a freelancing business or are looking for new opportunities, tapping into your LinkedIn network can be a great way to secure new jobs.
Here’s a quick recap:
- Start by determining your target clients and optimizing your professional social media profile so people can find your business.
- Identify and include the keywords you want to be found for.
- Reach out to members who searched and looked at your profile, and join LinkedIn groups.
- Engage with LinkedIn members by personalizing your requests, sharing valuable content, and following up with your new leads.
Use these tips, and you’ll be onboarding new clients before you know it!
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Baidhurya Mani is the founder of SellCoursesOnline.com. He regularly shares tips, tools, and strategies to help creators and entrepreneurs build a successful online course business.