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How to use LinkedIn to promote yourself – 5 freelance tips

9-minute read

Business woman using laptop promoting business on LinkedIn
Catriona Smith

Catriona Smith

12 April 2024

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Wondering the secret to creating a winning LinkedIn profile? Freelancers, the self-employed, and business owners can all use the professional networking site to post original ideas and make connections to attract new business opportunities.

In what has traditionally been a space for employed people, LinkedIn is now popular among a wide range of working professionals across industries looking to make contacts and grow their business.

With that in mind, we caught up with a few small business owners and self-employed professionals to share their tips for building a network on LinkedIn. From why it’s helpful to what gets engagement, keep reading to learn more about how to use LinkedIn for business.

What is LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is a social networking site with over a billion members worldwide. It’s been around for decades and while it has mostly been used among employed professionals to find jobs and connect with companies, there’s also a space for small business owners to grow their own profile and attract clients.

This guide will cover some of the benefits of promoting yourself and your business on LinkedIn. If you want to try some other social networks, we also have guides on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Pinterest.

Benefits of using LinkedIn as a freelance professional

Here are just a few of the reasons you might want to create a LinkedIn profile and start posting if you’re a freelancer or self-employed.

Highlight your services

Alongside a slick business website that promotes what you do, a good LinkedIn profile is a place where you can shout about your skills and services.

Use the ‘About’ section to highlight key information about you and your work. But Charlotte Haye, freelance copywriter and owner of Vivid Copy, recommends not getting “too waffly” here.

She says: “It’s a chance to talk about yourself and your attitudes, so avoid pitching your business too heavily.”

Meanwhile, your ‘Profile headline’ is a chance to sum up what you offer, whether that’s creative copywriting, animation, or graphic design.

And don’t forget to add information to these sections too:

  • experience (include relevant projects and work experience, whether that’s employed, contract, or self-employed)
  • education (include industry courses and don't like feel you have to include school information)
  • licences and certifications

It’s also a good idea to include a link to your website and creative portfolio (if you have one) so potential clients and followers can learn more about you and your work.

Attract new clients

Did you know LinkedIn can be a place to build your network and even win new business?

Mo Kanjilal, co-creator of diversity and inclusion company Watch This Sp_ce shares: “The reach you can get on the platform for free is incredible. I am connected to so many different people through it. And from that we have won new clients, been offered speaking opportunities, opportunities to collaborate, and more.”

The success you have with LinkedIn will depend on the type of business you have and what platforms your potential clients are most active on.

Mo says it works well for Watch This Sp_ce as they’re connecting with CEOs, HR directors, and senior managers.

“You have to do your research to find out where the people are that you want to reach”, Mo added.

As well as attracting new clients, LinkedIn can simply be used to keep your business fresh in the minds of people you’ve worked with before.

For Charlotte, LinkedIn has helped her reconnect with previous clients: “It helps me keep my brand and my business visible and establish my credibility, so that when people are in the right position to buy, I’m front and centre in their mind.

Share your ideas

Whether or not you want to call it ‘thought leadership’ or something else, sharing your ideas on LinkedIn can help people get to know more about you.

Mo said: “I post different content myself to the company. I share opinions, and I’m not afraid to say what I think.”

Think about what’s happening in your industry and write posts and join conversations to share your thoughts.

Charlotte recommends focusing on sharing knowledge and inviting a conversation: “Asking for people to share their thoughts in your comments is a great way to boost engagement and to widen your reach.”

Mo Kanjilal small business owner
Mo Kanjilal uses LinkedIn to promote her business, Watch This Sp_ce. Photo credit: Chloe Kraba

How to use LinkedIn effectively as a small business owner

If the idea of creating a ‘personal brand’ leaves you cringing and thinking of awkward pitches and TV shows like The Apprentice and Dragon’s Den, then you might be shying away from using LinkedIn to your advantage. But a personal brand is simply something you can develop that tells people who you are.

It’s about crafting the story you want to present to the world about you and your values. What do you want others to think about you? How do you want others to feel? Social researcher Brené Brown has a helpful exercise you can do to find your values so you can start leaning into what’s most important to you.

LinkedIn is a tool to help you show the authentic you and build connections. Here’s how to get started, as well as some real tips from self-employed people who are using it to their advantage.

1. Tell your story

Through your profile picture, headline, and summary you can tell people your story. This is what grabs people’s attention and lets them know who you are and what you bring to your industry.

Being able to communicate this is an important part of boosting your brand both as a business and a founder.

Your profile headline can be up to 120 characters and is the hook that’ll get people wanting to engage with your profile. It should encapsulate who you are and what you do – but doesn’t simply have to be your job title.

For example, if you’re a freelance copywriter, you could choose ‘Freelance copywriter’ or you could go for something more enticing like ‘Freelance writer with experience creating powerful marketing copy and storytelling.’

2. Build your connections

Networking is an important part of being a business owner. And the benefit of LinkedIn is that you can connect with people without the real-life interactions (which comes more naturally to some than others).

Charlotte says: “It’s a completely free platform that’s whole purpose is to connect with other businesses. I know some people who have seen success using it as a sales tool, but honestly for me it’s more about keeping in touch with clients and other contacts.”

Of course, if you go to industry events or meet interesting people through your work then adding them on LinkedIn as a connection is a great idea too.

Either way, start following profiles that inspire you and are related to your industry as well as connecting with like-minded people you meet along your business journey. The more people you connect with, the more people will be able to find you on the platform.

Not sure if LinkedIn is the social network for you? Read our guide to growing followers on Instagram if you think you’ll have more success here.

Women talking at small business networking event
Connect on LinkedIn with people you meet at networking events.

3. Post engaging content

Use a mix of videos, photos, and written posts to keep your followers engaged. This could be your opinions, news about your business, or questions to help you learn more about a topic.

Photos help boost visibility of posts on LinkedIn. Using a tool like Canva can help you create graphics to go with your written posts if you don’t have any original photography.

Mo shares how she uses the LinkedIn company page for her business by posting daily each morning and creating a weekly LinkedIn newsletter.

She says: “We do not go for heavy sales pitches, so we try to share useful and interesting content that makes people want to engage with us.”

4. Don’t forget to comment

It’s important to engage with other people’s content as well as posting yourself. As with any social network, comments, likes, and shares on other accounts also helps boost your profile.

Plus, if people only see that you use LinkedIn to shout about your successes they’ll start to get bored of your content.

Mo recommends to “comment on other people’s posts, don’t see it as a ‘broadcast only’ channel.”

Charlotte agreed and said: “It’s a place that works best with conversation rather than promotion, and so I ask questions, post articles to prompt discussion, and engage with other people’s content to get my name out there.”

5. Test and learn what works

From the type of content to time of day you post, discover what works best for you on LinkedIn. This is all part of knowing who your audience is and what they’re interested in.

For example, Mo shared how engagement is a “process of trial and error depending on your industry”. She also recommends scheduling content to save time and resharing content again if it’s performed well on the platform for you before.

This is also a time to revisit your business goals and check your profile and connections match up to what you’re trying to achieve. Our guide to setting business goals has tips on how to achieve ambitious plans and celebrate your success.

How to make a good LinkedIn profile – things to keep in mind

Here’s a few ideas on how to make a LinkedIn profile that both promotes you and your freelance business:

Great photos – a professional photo will show who you are and is part of your brand image. It should be a photo of you on your own with a neutral background and good lighting. Remember, you can set a background photo as well as a profile picture.

Ask for recommendations – if you’ve worked closely with a client and you know they’re happy with your work, why not request a recommendation from them via the platform? This endorsement can go a long way and you could even use the testimonial in your marketing (but ask permission first).

Brand identity – keep a consistent style when you post, whether that’s how you use humour or types of topics you post about. This all forms part of your business’s brand identity.

Post regularly – your content can be related to your achievements, day-to-day business wins, or thoughts about your industry as a whole. The main thing is to keep active on the profile and keep your connections engaged.

Want to promote your profile further? You can create a unique public URL for your profile which can help people find you in search results.

Not sure what to post about? Our guide to social media storytelling has more on building a community on social.

How to use LinkedIn to promote your business – and win clients

What if we said you could actually attract more clients to your business and services by posting on your LinkedIn profile? In today’s crowded market it’s important to try to stand out.

As well as building connections on your personal profile, you might like to create a company page too. Depending on your trade, this can work well for building a brand and also attracting people to come and work for you. Your page should clearly communicate your mission, vision, and values as a brand and can help raise your profile.

Charlotte uses LinkedIn to promote her copywriting services but recommends not taking it too seriously. She says: “Yes, it’s a business networking platform, but at the end of the day businesses can’t read. Approach it as though you’re talking to people – because you are.

“Be approachable, friendly and willing to share your knowledge, and you’ll see good results.”

You could also consider LinkedIn advertising. This is a way for companies to get more people to see specific posts by paying to promote certain content so it can reach a wider audience. Just make sure you’ve got a clear budget and marketing plan if you go down this route.

If you’re thinking about using paid ads to promote your business, read our guide to advertising on social media.


Using AI for LinkedIn? Approach with caution

AI for LinkedIn involves a whole range of automation tools depending on what you’d like to do.

LinkedIn has a built-in AI feature for premium users that can rewrite your posts to help optimise them and drive more engagement. You can also use it to improve your profile summary and articles.

While this could be handy if content writing isn’t something that comes naturally to you as a small business owner, it’s important to approach AI with caution. Blindly using the tool to write your posts could risk losing your unique and authentic voice – and that’s the main purpose of sharing your ideas on LinkedIn after all.

By all means use AI for inspiration and to correct any poor grammar and typos, but it should sound like you.

AI for LinkedIn tool can rewrite your posts
It's possible to use AI to rewrite your posts on LinkedIn

Finally, keep your page up to date

It’s worth remembering that as your business grows then things can change and evolve. Keep your profile up to date with your services and contact information, and make sure you follow the most relevant pages in your industry so you continue to engage with topics that interest you.

Have you tried using LinkedIn to grow your business? Let us know in the comments.

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Photograph: (JLco) Julia Amaral/
Catriona Smith

Written by

Catriona Smith

Catriona Smith is a content and marketing professional with 12 years’ experience across the financial services, higher education, and insurance sectors. She’s also a trained NCTJ Gold Standard journalist. As a Senior Copywriter at Simply Business, Catriona has in-depth knowledge of small business concerns and specialises in tax, marketing, and business operations. Catriona lives in the seaside city of Brighton where she’s also a freelance yoga teacher.

We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

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