Evolving Expertise: Utilizing LinkedIn to Bridge the Gap from Corporate Digital Marketer to Freelance Consultant

Blessings Ngalande

In 2012, LinkedIn was merely an additional social media app on my phone, similar to Facebook and others. Back then, a student at the National College of Information Technology (NACIT) campus in Blantyre I had no idea how useful LinkedIn may be for professional networking. After graduating in 2017, I relocated to South Africa and secured employment as a digital marketing specialist.

From 2017 to 2023, these years were a whirlwind. I learned a lot of things, grew professionally, and somewhere along the way, a tiny seed of freelancing ambition sprouted. Interestingly, even with my full-time job , I was working on freelance projects – a testament to the flexibility of my job, but also a glaring blind spot in my own marketing strategy. See, I wasn’t actively promoting myself – the steady stream of clients came from my existing network.

Fast forward to 2024, ready for a career change: full-time freelancing. January 2024 was a turning point. That’s when platforms like LinkedIn suddenly clicked. It wasn’t just about marketing my digital marketing skills anymore, it was about marketing myself.

The Profile Makeover

Gone was the generic college student bio. In January this year, I revamped my profile completely. Now, my headline grabs attention and showcases my expertise.

Content Creation: Sharing the Knowledge

Next came the content strategy. Since January, I’ve been writing valuable insights – blog posts, articles, even short videos – all packed with actionable digital marketing tips for my target audience. Consistency became key, so I aimed for a few posts a week to share with my network.

Engaging with the Community

Engagement wasn’t an afterthought. I actively respond to comments and messages, dive into relevant discussions and groups, and offer my expertise whenever it’s needed. Slowly but surely, I’m establishing myself as a thought leader in the digital marketing space.

Building My Network: The Strategic Approach

Networking became strategic in January. Since then, I’ve been connecting with potential clients, industry professionals, and influencers. Joining targeted LinkedIn groups allows me to share content, network with like-minded people, and showcase my skills within a dedicated community.

Building Credibility: Recommendations on the Horizon

Requesting recommendations from past clients and colleagues is next on my to-do list. Adding a layer of credibility to my profile will further solidify my skills and work ethic.

Utilizing the Free Tools

LinkedIn’s built-in tools became my marketing playground. Since January, I’ve started using LinkedIn Articles for longer-form content, establishing myself as a thought leader. Polls are next in line to gather valuable audience insights and spark conversations, fostering even more engagement.

Showcasing My Work: Building the Portfolio

The “Projects” section will soon transform into a gallery of successful freelance campaigns, a visual portfolio of my capabilities.

The LinkedIn Effect: It’s Just Getting Started

It’s still early days, but the potential is already clear. By strategically using LinkedIn since January, I’m actively building a network of potential clients who are starting to recognize me as a valuable digital marketing resource. It’s a slow burn, but consistent effort and valuable content are paving the way for a successful freelance career.

Are you a freelancer looking to leverage LinkedIn? Here’s a quick recap:

Optimize your profile: Craft a compelling headline, showcase your skills and achievements with quantifiable results, and use relevant keywords.

Become a content creator: Share valuable industry insights consistently.

Network strategically: Connect with relevant professionals and join targeted groups.

Utilize free tools: Take advantage of LinkedIn Articles, polls, and project sections.

Showcase your work: Let your past projects speak for your skills.

Remember, building a strong presence takes time and dedication. But by implementing these steps and actively engaging with your network, you can turn LinkedIn into your own professional megaphone, just like I’m starting to do.

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