Companies of all sizes are utilizing social media marketing. From Facebook and Google+ accounts to Twitter handles and LinkedIn pages, businesses have learned that social media can produce big results. The good news about this medium is that it doesn't necessarily require the marketing budget of a large corporation to promote your business. Here are five ways that an independent consultant can promote their practice effectively with social media:
No matter your field, social media is an excellent opportunity to establish your business as a source of expertise. Independent consultants might use Facebook to share breaking industry news, give how-to tips, or opine on hot topics related to their field. Twitter can be used to share helpful articles, or to link back to an informational post on your company blog. Independent consultants offering professional services may choose to contribute their knowledge on LinkedIn Help, a forum for professionals to answer questions related to their field of expertise.
Social media about just that: being social. Use social media accounts to network with others, it is a great way to promote your business, create awareness of your products or services, and make invaluable contacts. While the ultimate goal may be to reach customers or clients, the contacts that you make through networking on social media may be potential suppliers, industry influencers, or even media members. Your field as an independent consultant may determine the platforms you choose to focus on. Following users on Twitter, adding Facebook friends, or becoming an active member of groups on LinkedIn can all be effective means of building an online network to promote your business.
Keep in mind that simply being active on social media networks isn't necessarily enough; the content of your posts is crucial to using this online marketing method effectively. When creating a post, regardless of the social media service, ask yourself this: will anyone care about what I'm about to say? Your business is your passion, so every announcement or bit of information is important to you, but your customers are not necessarily going to feel the same way. Before posting, consider the reaction you want to elicit from customers. You want them to be excited, to feel compelled to act, and to share your post with their networks. It's through posting sharable content about your solo business that your potential client base can grow.
It's no secret that people love to get a great deal. Offering content exclusive to social media followers can be an excellent way to attract new clients as well as to help build repeat business. It also increases the value of your social media content, which can as a result increase your followers and subscribers, providing a bigger potential customer base to reach with your social media marketing efforts. For consulting practices, social media can often invite people to participate in brainstorming and research development in exchange for services, a good avenue to get in front of new clients without devaluing your expert offering. Fostering a sense of cooperation and community through social media provides valuable information to clients and independent consultants alike as they learn what they have to offer each other.
Social media gives independent consultants the opportunity to connect with their followers, creating a dialog and conversation that other marketing methods can't provide. By actively engaging with other users - and encouraging them to interact with you - you are able to address their questions and comments quickly, learn more about your users' wants and needs, and give them a feeling of personal involvement that creates trust and loyalty.
Establishing strong relationships with other independent professionals can lead to many benefits including referrals, strategic partnerships, and valuable advice.
Part two of a series about the value of a professional website. Here are five easy steps to create a site yourself.