Social media is a prevalent part of modern life, with most of us checking our Facebook and Twitter accounts several times a day.
But did you know that these sites could be useful to help with your career as a contractor too?
From providing networking opportunities to assist you in making new contacts, to potentially securing more work for you in the future, there are many ways in which social media can be a valuable tool for contractors.
The clue is in the name - these sites allow us to be social, enabling us to make connections with people we wouldn't otherwise meet.
It can also put you in touch with other people who are in the same line of work as you, allowing you to make connections with useful industry contacts should you ever need a favour or want to partner up with someone with a certain specialism on a particular project, for example.
Social media is also a great way to promote your skills and knowledge! But how can you use social networking platforms to your best advantage?
This site is primarily used by both individuals and companies for work purposes, so having a presence on LinkedIn as a contractor could prove to be extremely valuable for the future of your career.
LinkedIn has many useful networking features, including enabling people to take part in group debates about a topic affecting their industry and many recruiters use the platform to headhunt future staff too.
Therefore, having a profile - detailing your expertise and with a clear, appropriate accompanying photograph - could potentially lead to an increase in your work volume.
Getting your opinion out there and your presence felt can only be a good thing, so make sure you check your profile regularly to keep track of any new goings-on.
However, it's not just LinkedIn - arguably the social networking site most commonly associated with business - that could help to boost your career, as the platforms you use in your leisure time could prove pretty useful too.
Not only can you have a personal page on Facebook, but you can also create one for a business, which can be linked to the one you use for leisure purposes. This allows you to promote it to friends and family, who will then pass it on. This will enable more people to see it, potentially increasing demand for your services.
Remember to include a photo, contact details, any positive feedback from clients - and don't forget to interact with visitors to your page regularly.
The final platform we are going to discuss is Twitter this platform is much more to the point, allowing you to get messages across in a quick, simple manner.
Not only does posting a tweet enable you to get your opinion across on issues that may be affecting your particular industry, but its retweet function can also be a handy tool.
This allows you to repost comments made by others, showing the author you value what they are saying and are happy to be associated with them, meaning this is a great way to make new connections and position yourself as a leader within your field.
If you would like to introduce yourself to another user, but don't want the whole world to see, Twitter - and the rest of these sites - has a private messaging function, which enables you to talk to others about business matters almost confidentially.
As a contractor, it's important to move with the times, especially with regard to our increasingly technological age, so ensure you're ahead of the pack and using social media to the best of your advantage - after all, this could be the future of how the world does business.