For many independent consultants, leveraging Facebook for new business may seem like a huge, time consuming challenge that never results in new business or attracts the kind of potential clients you want. However, it's important to understand that to get the most out of Facebook, you have to know how the social network works for business.
The beauty of Facebook is that it allows you to connect on a personal level, which is great for networking with potential clients. But Facebook, is at its core, social, so hard sales pitches are likely to turn people off.
When you establish a Facebook page for your consultancy, think about how you can share helpful information with people that are interested in your expertise. Information sharing is like giving something that your audience values to them for free. Being known as an authority in your field is vital for anyone in a service-based business. It’s also increasingly important to executives in other businesses, too. Facebook and other social media platforms are cost-effective ways to help you build thought leadership and establish authority in your field. This will keep followers coming back to your page because they'll begin to see you as a credible source for information that's relevant to them.
Facebook also allows you to connect on a human level. Stodgy, canned status updates don't resonate on Facebook. Always be professional, but don't be afraid to show your personality. Clients who reach out via social media are different in that they are quite relational, so you'll want to engage them by keeping two-way conversations going. You'll also want to be careful not to annoy your followers; you want them to enjoy and recommend your page. Put at least three hours between status updates and keep them concise. Facebook users don't read more than about two sentences in a status update. Pack meaningful information in few words for maximum impact.
Facebook's Partner Categories allow you to get Facebook ads in front of targeted users based on their activity across the web, through desktop and/or mobile, plus their offline purchases and tendencies. There are more than 500 categories, including occupation, lifestyle, purchasing habits, etc., to select from through data provided by market research firms. Chances are that unless you have very deep pockets, you wouldn't have access to this kind of market research information that allows you to target exactly the audience who would be interested in your consultancy.
Another low-cost opportunity to advertise your consultancy on Facebook is through your cover image. This is image is public, so anyone visiting your page will be able to see it. And although your cover image is limited to only 20 percent text, you can use that 20 percent as a way to advertise.
Don't forget to promote your Facebook page by encouraging those in your network to follow you. You can also do this by adding links on your consultancy’s website, business cards, email signature, and in other online marketing material.
News and notes for independent workers and their clients. This is the September 26, 2016 edition.
As an independent consultant it's important to know what exactly soft skills are, why they matter, and how you can improve yours.