Headache-Free Social Media Marketing

We’ve all heard that social media sites and bulletin boards can be valuable components of a well-balanced marketing plan. But I’ve talked to numerous clients who’ve had reservations about social media – and not because they were intimidated by the technology. Instead, they were afraid that marketing through these channels would devour huge amounts of their time, but leave little to show for it.
As with any “overhead” in your business (things you do that don’t directly generate revenue), one of the keys to using social media effectively is to choose your time investments wisely.  Here are some tips to help you make the most of your social media efforts:
  • Figure out where your target audience already spends time and go be there.This sounds a little obvious, but I’ve seen coaches spend lots of resources creating a fantastic blog with loads of interactive features and wonder why their potential clients aren’t swarming. Why create a new place for them to go, when they’re already looking for someone like you elsewhere? For example, on LinkedIn:
    • Search for groups that are relevant to your potential clients – for example, by interest or industry
    • Ask your current clients what social media sites they would use to find someone like you
    • Connect with current and prospective clients to see what groups they frequent
  • Spend some time observing, before you join the conversation. Remember: most of what you post on various social media sites becomes public and available to search engines. You’re better off establishing a presence in one or two online communities, rather than having one or two posts on every site under the sun.
  • Once you decide to participate, do so consistently. One of the most important things you’re trying to establish is credibility, and it’s hard to do that when your name only pops up in front of someone every few weeks. Devote a little time every day, instead of getting bogged down for hours.
  • Don’t spread yourself too thin. Focus on one or two online communities – maybe even on the same website. Trying to be everywhere at once just doesn’t work. Or if it does, you probably won’t have much time for anything else!
  • Make sure your profile is complete and include a photo. If you’re going to spend time building relationships in a social media community, be sure people who make their way to your profile find some substance. Think of this profile as you would a resume, even on sites that feel more informal, like Facebook.
  • Focus on giving, not marketing. Don’t waste your time telling your audience about your expertise; instead, simply show them you’re a generous expert. Answer questions, chime in on conversations, provide resources. That said, your posts should end with a brief signature that lets readers easily find out more about you.
Establishing an effective social media presence doesn’t have to be daunting, and it certainly needn’t hijack your schedule. Choose your online communities carefully and participate on a regular basis; you’ll soon find yourself building enduring, high-quality relationships. Before long, these relationships will move outside the social media sandbox – contacts will become website visitors, members of your mailing list and yes, even clients!
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