Of course, how you define “success” with Social Media is entirely up to you. No two consulting and coaching businesses are the same, so it’s important that before you dive into Social Media, you decide what you want it to do for you.
And therein lies the number one issue, because hardly any coaches, consultants and professional advisers have sat down and thought about it. Even fewer have documented their thoughts and all too often ‘tweet and hope’ is what it comes down to. It doesn’t sound very strategic does it.
By definition, a business consultant or coach needs to look professional. And when they meet with clients, trust is needed at the core of the relationship.
When trust has been built, it’s not surprising that word of mouth is a proven way for coaches, consultants and speakers to attract new clients, and will continue to be critical in your lead generation process.
But if you’re like me, when someone makes a recommendation to me for a service provider, I’ll always check them out online. I’ll look on LinkedIn first where I can get an instant sense of who they are and what they’re about.
· Do I like the look of them?
· Do they look trustworthy?
· Have they written any articles and blogs?
· Do those articles resonate with me at a personal level?
· Do they have any testimonials?
In other words,
· Does their online presence accurately reflect what I’ve been told about them? It won’t take me very long to come to a conclusion.
And from LinkedIn, I’ll then visit other links that they have highlighted – such as their website and perhaps Twitter. If they have an Instagram account too, that will reveal another facet of their lives.
· Do they have a podcast?
· Do they have a YouTube channel?
· Do they look vibrant and active, with something to say and value to add?
In today’s increasingly online world, it’s critical that characteristics such as trustworthiness, credibility, professionalism, expertise and friendliness are clearly visible when you represent yourself on Social Media and your website.
So, we asked Coaches and Advisers what was holding them back from making better use of Social Media and it produced some interesting responses:
“I’m uncertain as to which social networking sites to use”
This was an interesting reply, with respondents saying that they are keen to use Facebook and Twitter, but that they largely draw a blank in terms of responses from their activity on these sites. We’ll get to why this is in a moment.
“My Social Media is on auto-pilot”
This is a common response too and shouts loud and clear that the user doesn’t really have a plan. Many people said they use tools to automate their content in advance – again suggesting that a ‘tweet and hope’ approach may well be behind their thinking.
“I don’t know what to post about on Social Media”
This one comes up a lot and in many respects, is surprising. By definition, a coach, business mentor or consultant has business experience and/or skills in asking questions, and will have seen any number of different coaching situations on which to draw content and ideas.
But what’s often forgotten when using Social Media, is the importance of actually asking your target audience what type of content they would find useful and valuable. You’ll often be surprised and excited about the range of topics that they are interested in.
Literally go to your existing clients and ask them something along the lines of:
“John, I’m planning to share more of my value through blogging and Social Media – would you be able to give me some ideas on the topics you might find useful or valuable?”
It’s then simply a matter of creating content based around these topics, but with your spin/angle/niche layered on top.
And once you know what topics will get the attention of your target audience, it’s easy to find a wealth of articles, videos, news and blogs around the web on which you can add your own thoughts, comments and opinions. Google News is a great source for doing this.
While you're talking to your clients, here's something else you should ask them:
"Sue, I'm keen to share more value on Social Media. Out of interest, what sites do you like to visit and what appeals to you about them?"
So not only do we now know what content they would like to see/read/listen to/watch, we've also found out which sites they like to consume it on. This is critical information to have when deciding how you should use Social Media.
The next issue that consultants and coaches told us was a problem was:
“I haven’t got the time to use Social Media”
Without a plan, it is inevitable that Social Media will be seen as time consuming. And if you keep coming up against brick walls with it, then it will feel even more fruitless and frustrating.
The problem here is that we tend to see Social Media as something extra that you’ve been told you must do in your business. Everyone else is doing it, so I better get on board too – sound familiar?
But when you have a plan which is designed to help you to do something in your business (and it doesn’t always have to be sales and marketing), then you begin to see your Social Media activity and profiles not as time consuming tasks to be completed, but as assets of your business.
A good way to do this is to stop seeing Social Media as an ‘add on extra’, but actually as part of and integral to your coaching or consulting proposition – so that the communication of high value content through the medium of Social Media is not simply a marketing activity but a core part of what you do for clients.
As I highlighted earlier, when people go online looking for people who have expertise such as yours, your content will be extremely valuable to them and will help them to come to conclusions as to whether you are right for them. So whilst posting great content is now part of what you do and the value you add, it will naturally also act as a reference point for new client enquiries.
“I don’t have a plan”
Whilst most coaches and consultants use Social Media in some way shape or form, there is widespread admittance that:
a) They are not quite sure why they are using it, and
b) They don’t have a plan.
c) They don’t know where to start when putting together a plan.
Let’s explore that first one for a moment; when I speak at conferences and events I always ask audiences for a show of hands as to who has a LinkedIn profile – and almost everyone puts up their hand.
But when I go on to ask how many people know why they have a LinkedIn profile, I rarely see more than ten percent of hands being raised.
So, we’re all on Social Media, but we’re not entirely sure why and if we’re honest ‘tweet and hope’ is a reasonably accurate description of how we use it.
In fairness, most coaches and consultants simply would like their use of Social Media to be ‘a bit more robust’; just a few notches up on where they are now. They don’t want hundreds of new leads pouring through the door – just a small number of really good quality enquiries each month, and from clients who are ‘the right fit’. With a clear Social Media plan, you can make that happen.
To achieve that, many tell me that they “just need a little help – a point in the right direction” and freely acknowledge that ‘tweet and hope’ is probably a waste of time; time that could be better spent on something more productive.
Now let’s be honest at this point – if they don’t have a documented plan, most coaches, business advisers and consultants will only attract a relatively small number of new clients directly from their Social Media activities. It will almost always be by accident rather than design.
Now, if you, like me prefer a little more certainty, then I would prefer to write a plan which includes some very specific desired outcomes. At last count, I found thirty-eight possible outcomes that a coach, adviser or consultant could expect to achieve through their use of Social Media – but without that plan you will continue to come up against a brick wall.
That’s exactly what happened to me several years ago, until I had my “Ah-ha!” moment. And when I started planning what I wanted Social Media to do for me, that’s when things took a turn for the better.
I developed a process for creating a Social Media plan, and I’m still surprised at just how simple the approach is. But when you follow it, you’ll get immediate clarity as to how you should be using Social Media in your business in order to help you and to better serve your clients.
If all this did was to give you clarity, focus and to help you attract quality new clients, would it be worth it? If all it did was to stop you coming up against a brick wall and seeing Social Media as time consuming and ineffectual, would it be worth it?
I’d like you to get your hands on this process too. It’s available a PDF download which you use to identify your business goals and focus your Social Media efforts to help you achieve them.
- It’s simple to use
- It helps you to identify ideas for Social Media content that’s right for you, your business and your target clients
- It gives you ideas to add value to your existing clients
- It helps you to identify your ‘Core Channels’ – the sites where you should focus your efforts
- And it saves you time and money!
At the beginning of this article I said how important it is to look credible, professional and authoritative online – so just imagine how more confident your coaching or consulting business will look online when you have a compelling Social Media presence. A Social Media plan that gets you results and success on your terms is just a click away.
I hope you’ve found this useful - you should click here to get your Social Media planner now >>