In one of my earlier articles, I mentioned the importance of social media when marketing your consulting business. I thought it may be worth sharing some of my own experiences in this regard.
Barring your own personal interaction with your clients, this is your ultimate weapon for winning mandates. Your clients will go to your website to see your offer and learn about you. Everything you do on social media should have the ultimate goal of getting people to visit it – because of this, it is critical that your website:
- is professional and ports your products and services clear and succinctly
- has contact details where clients can reach you, preferably both a telephone and email address
- is linked from your social media tools and also displays links back to them
Which social media tool to use?
For any professional services business this must be your priority. LinkedIn allows you to set out your CV in detail, plus you can create a page specifically for your business. What better way to portray your expertise in your field and, at the same time, promote your business?
Think of LinkedIn as your most formal marketing effort. People are on LinkedIn primarily for business related matters, so you need to tailor your approach accordingly.
Blogging is an easy way to advertise your expertise and knowledge. Keep in mind the following:
- You can be quite relaxed and personal with your blogs
- As a general rule, do not write long blogs. People want to be engaged, but in short, meaningful bursts
- Use your blogs as a teaser to show people how clever you are – give them just enough to want more; hopefully that will drive them to your website where all your services are laid out
- Do not use blogging as a selling tool, per se . People will be put off hard-sell on your blog
Publishing articles, like this one
Use Ezine and industry-specific forums to publish formal articles that showcase your expertise. Share information that will be useful and do not be afraid that you are giving this away for free – it will be appreciated and will be another way to get people engaged with you. If your articles show that you know what you are talking about, people will be more likely to engage with you.
An important point to bear in mind, however, is that articles are more formal than blogs. Think of them more as a professional reference point rather than an informal teaser.
If LinkedIn is formal, Twitter is casual. This is the opportunity to show your personal side and you are expected to engage in a social fashion. That does not mean you can not link your posts, blogs and articles into your tweets, you must! I think this is the least-understood aspect of Twitter and how powerful it can be as a business marketing tool.
You can create a page for your business in Facebook. Yes, it will be linked to your profile, but you can use it exclusively for your business marketing. The reach of Facebook and the easy way of creating an advert makes the case for Facebook marketing compelling. Because of all the data that Facebook collects on people, Facebook adverts can also be highly-tailor to your target audience.
Google+ is powerful simply because it is part of the largest search engine on the planet. That means it can be used to drive your SEO efforts.
Joining Circles and participating in Hangouts (or starting your own) will help you connect with a targeted audience.
However, Google+ does require some effort. If you do not put any in, you will likely be staring at a blank screen wondering what all the fuss is about.
Podcasts, Instagram, Flickr, Pinterest, Vimeo and You Tube
To the extent that images, audio and video can be used to market your business, these are also great tools to use. Creating an instructional podcast or video can be used as a personal interaction with your audience – blogging without writing!
Images and photos are perhaps more suited to a product-driven business, but creative ways can be used to market a services business too.
I am still experimenting with all of the above, plus a few more that I have come across (Tumblr is my latest foray). I am giving each of them some attention, although I am sure that I will gravitate to the 4 or 5 that make the most sense for my particular business and audience.
I certainly will not be relying on only 1 or 2. A combined effort is yielding some good results.