In the United States, it’s estimated that about 7 out of 10 people use social media, for both personal and professional purposes. That number includes your friends and acquaintances, your family members, past school mates, industry contacts and even your consulting clientele.
And, while many of us mainly use social media to keep up with old friends and watch funny cat videos, it can also be used to help your consulting business grow and flourish. Social media offers an opportunity to not only reach your clientele, but to engage and interact with them. Whether you’re an IT consultant, financial consultant, HR consultant, or have any other consulting business, social media is without a doubt a marketing channel worth utilizing.
With a little knowledge on your side, you can maximize each of your social sites to achieve your marketing goals, including lead generation, increasing your website traffic, and educating your clientele. Here are a few tips and best practices to follow when it comes to social media marketing for your consulting business:
1.) Link to Your Consulting Business Website Often
Like all of your other consultant marketing efforts, social media, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, should help you generate website traffic and new leads. You can do these two things by directing organic traffic from social media back to your website.
Offer your audience frequent opportunities to visit your consulting website through inbound links to your contact forms, ‘about’ section, and services page. This will help new visitors learn more about your services, and give them a chance to sign up for marketing emails or request more information if they so choose.
Your social sites will also help boost your business’ search engine optimization (SEO). Because search engines include social media pages in their search results, if someone were to search online for your business or for consulting services like yours in the area, your social pages are likely to show on the results pages. These individuals may also search for your business within the social platform itself. If you make a point of linking to your website often, this organic traffic from searches will end up on your website.
2.) Link to Your Email Sign-Up List
Frequently post links to your email marketing sign up form so that you can continuously grow your email list. The key is to offer something in your emails that they wouldn’t otherwise get, like valuable content and insights, videos, and other downloadable information – which brings us to the next point.
3.) Offer Valuable Content
By offering valuable content to your audience, you’ll not only position yourself as an expert in your field, but you’ll also gain the necessary trust of your customers to succeed in the world of consulting. Develop valuable, downloadable information like guides, eBooks, and white papers that you can offer to your audiences for nothing in return. By doing so, you’ll be seen as a resource for your customers who will continuously turn to you to solve their business problems.
You can also use these pieces of content as lead generation tools by offering them in return for a low barrier call to action, such as an email gate. Your audience likely won’t hand over their valuable information for nothing in return, so give them a reason to engage. Once they’re willing to share their email address, you can also use it for social media advertising and remarketing purposes as well.
4.) Highlight Your Blog and Consultant Case Studies
Use your social media sites to highlight your advanced knowledge in your field by sharing links to your blog posts and case studies – the stories of your success. It will give a little bit of insight into your personality, experiences, and results. It’s also another opportunity to link visitors back to your website, if that is where your blog and case studies are hosted.
5.) Post Multimedia Content
To succeed in social media marketing for your consulting business, you will need to incorporate multimedia content into your posts such as videos and graphics. Video is increasingly becoming the preferred package for social media users to consume content. In fact, it’s estimated that by the end of 2017, video will account for nearly 80% of all internet traffic. Your audience is more likely to watch a video than read plain text, and even more likely to tune in if you’re streaming live video.
Consider hosting live video events through your Facebook page, or posting short clips. You can answer questions from viewers in real-time or post a pre-recorded video of answers to frequently asked questions. However, streaming live video is often more engaging, and the video is saved for others to go back and watch later.
6.) Clear Calls-to-Action
No matter what you post, be sure that there is a strong call to action attached, whether it’s implied or explicitly stated. Don’t let the limited screen time your audience gives you go to waste.
7.) Encourage and Monitor Online Reviews
Just about everyone reads online reviews when they’re shopping – even for consultants. Online reviews are typically seen as a non-biased, external source that is more reliable than anything you have to say about yourself. It would indirectly serve you to encourage positive reviews on your social media sites, like Facebook, from your current and past clients. A steady stream of positive online reviews helps boost your SEO, buries any possibly negative reviews, and proves to your potential clients that you are the best person to solve their business needs.
If you happen to have old, existing, or new negative reviews, don’t be discouraged from responding to them. Negative reviews are an opportunity to showcase your expertise and customer focus. While you can’t possible make everyone happy, let an unhappy reviewer know that their client experiences are important to you, and aim to take the conversation offline by inviting them to get in touch with you personally and directly. Your response will act as an example and set the expectation for the level of service that you provide.
8.) Invest a little, and go a long way
With Facebook advertising, it’s easier than ever to target your potential clients. Organic traffic certainly has its place in consultant marketing, but to take it to the next level, consider investing in the promotion of the valuable content you’ve created for your audience. Boosting posts will put your content in front of more eyes, and Facebook ads will help more people learn about your business.
The great thing about Facebook advertising and post boosts is that you can spend as much or as little money as you want, while targeting exactly who you want. It truly can accommodate any budget.
9.) Join in the Conversation
As a consultant, you’re more than likely already staying up to date on industry trends and news. Take the opportunity to join in on the conversation and offer your expertise using social media as your platform. Offer your opinion on trending topics, and predict where you see the industry moving in the future.
Social media is also a great platform for finding related online communities and groups. Join in these conversations as well, and give an expert perspective.
Don’t see a community you want to join? Start one yourself and bring the conversation to you! An industry page or group on Facebook or LinkedIn would be a great place to encourage convergence between industry experts, current clients, potential clients, and even students who are looking to learn.
10.) Get Personal
Gone are the days of relationships relying on face time. Building relationships online with clientele, potential clients and current connections can be just as important in your consulting business. Invite people to connect with you personally on social sites like LinkedIn and Twitter through your emails. You can even use social tags in your email footer that link directly to your social sites. Social media is a great way to begin, build and nurture relationships without face-to-face interaction.
11.) Analyze Your Results and Engagement
Facebook makes it easy to see how many people are looking at what, and when. Use this information to your advantage in order to fine-tune the content you’re posting. Take a look at what types of posts are the most popular by looking at engagement and reach. What is your audience engaging with? What incentives are they downloading, reading, or watching the most? Are they visiting your website or signing up to receive your emails? By analyzing your results, you will be able to follow up on your successes and prevent future failures.
By following these few tips, you’ll be able to educate your clientele not only on your industry, but about your services too – all while generating leads and engaging with your potential and current clients. Social media is quickly becoming one of the best ways to start conversations with other business owners and to help your own business grow –no cat videos required.
Looking to have some help with your social media? New North can help. Let’s have a quick, no pressure conversation about your marketing and how to overcome your challenges.