What’s the most effective way to find new clients for your consulting business? A couple of years ago, consultants could count on professional-looking websites and large email lists as marketing tools of choice. Today, however, social media is one of the most effective ways to reach potential clients and establish your brand.
But how do you go about building up your social media following and publishing the kind of content that will draw people to you? Even if you have limited resources, the following tips will help you to make your presence known in the world of social media.
Establish a Blog
Starting a blog is one of the first things you should do if you want to market your consulting services via social media. Why? Because blogs interface seamlessly with almost all social media sites.
After you publish each blog post, you can link to it from your social media accounts. This is helpful in several ways. First of all, you can use your blog posts to establish yourself as an authority in your field. As a consultant, you need to be viewed as an expert, and a blog is a perfect platform for establishing authority.
Second, sending visitors to your website from social media will improve your traffic flow. Once visitors are at your website, they can learn more about what you offer and why you’re the perfect consultant for them - allowing you to convert them into leads with further content offers. Each keyword-rich blog post also improves your SEO. You’ll rise higher in the search engine result rankings, further improving your traffic.
Provide Benefits to Social Media Followers
Building your following on social media is important. When people retweet your Twitter posts or share your Facebook posts, your content gets sent on to a whole new network of people. Who knows how many of these people will be interested in what you have to offer? How many of them might share your content as well, thus sending your content even further into the world wide web?
Clearly, the farther your content can reach, the more effective it will be for gaining new clients and enhancing your professional reputation. One of the ways you can gain more followers is by providing benefits to those who follow you. For instance, you could offer a discount to people who follow you on social media, or you could offer a free download of a white paper or ebook for new followers. Incentives like these can help you to quickly earn a name for yourself on social media.
Engage in Online Conversations
It’s not enough just to post links to your blog on social media. If you truly want to leverage social media for marketing purposes, you also need to engage with people in your niche. Here’s an example: if someone on Quora is looking for a solution to a problem, you could troubleshoot the problem online for that person. Not only will you gain the loyalty and respect of the person you’ve helped, but others will take notice as well, and you’ll be viewed as an authority on the topic.
Just remember to keep your conversations professional, friendly, and focussed on your core competencies. If you get too personal or start sending out political messages, people will be confused about who you are and what you do. If you want to have social media accounts for your personal life, that’s great. Just try to avoid mixing your business profiles with your personal profiles so your conversations remain focused on your business.
Create Complete, Professional Profiles
How do others see you after reading your social media bios? If you haven’t completed your social media profiles, including your LinkedIn profile, spend some time doing so. Briefly explain who you are and what you do. Include keywords that would help people find you who are looking for the services you offer.
On social media sites that allow you to include extensive information on your bio, list your key accomplishments, professional certifications, and even testimonials from current or former clients.
Finally, don’t let social media overwhelm you. You’re busy, and you probably don’t have time to work on your social media marketing every day. That’s okay. There are tools that allow you to pre-schedule social media posts so they’ll appear automatically in the future while you’re working hard, enjoying a lunch meeting, or even sleeping.
Some social media scheduling programs offer free accounts, like HootSuite, and others require monthly subscriptions, like AgoraPulse. There are many, many social media scheduling services out there, so just choose one that meets your needs, and start scheduling your posts a week or even month at a time. Check in occasionally to comment on a colleague’s post, but don’t feel obligated to spend time on social media every single day.
So there you have it: 5 social media strategies for consultants. As you build your audience and become more comfortable and familiar with social media marketing, you’ll extend your reach and reap the rewards of your efforts.