In the A-Z of Marketing, S is for Social Media and Why You Don’t Need it!
“Do I really have to spend time on social media to promote my business?” she asked me. “Should I have a business Facebook page? What about Twitter?”
These are questions that I am asked on a regular basis by my clients – three times in the last week, in fact. Most of my clients are coaches, consultants or trainers. Most of them have been in business for quite some time (at least five years) and they all have really good reputations. They are great at what they do and the majority of their new clients are either referred to them by happy customers, have met them at networking meetings or have heard them speak at conferences and events.
My first answer to their questions is usually along the lines of “No, you don’t need to worry too much about social media. If you never post again on LinkedIn, the steady flow of referrals you receive will take a year or so to dry up. If you never tweet in your life, no one will miss you. You could even shut down your website and your business would not suffer for quite some time!”
If by now you’re screaming at your screen and wondering if I’ve gone completely mad, let me explain why I say this to my clients and what I recommend you do with social media, if you’re a coach, consultant or trainer. When you run this sort of business, you’re delivering a service, not a product. This means that people aren’t buying a ‘something’ from you – they are buying your time, expertise and experience. You can’t show them the thing that you’re selling them so that they can compare it to someone else’s thing. You can only do this if you’re selling a product or a widget, which can be compared on size, colour and other features. This means that potential clients have to trust you before they spend their money with you; and trust takes time to build up.
Would you part with hundreds or even thousands of pounds after just reading a few tweets or LinkedIn updates? Would you take on a coach or consultant based purely on what their website says? Or would you rather get a recommendation from someone else, meet the coach or consultant in person, or hear them speak?
I’m not saying that social media doesn’t have a part to play in your marketing if you provide a service. It does, but you should regard it as back-up for the rest of your marketing and your credibility. If I recommend you to one of my contacts, they will look for you online, to make sure that what I say about you is true. They need to find a professionally designed, up to date website. They want to read some of your well written, carefully thought out blogs and LinkedIn updates, which demonstrate your expertise. They might even look for a few tweets that share your knowledge in a generous way. If this backs up what I’ve told them about you, they’ll be more likely to pick up the phone and call you. If they can’t find you online, they might wonder why I’ve recommended you, but they might still ask me for your phone number, if you’re lucky.
What doesn’t happen, when you’re selling coaching, consulting or training services, is for a prospect to call you just because they’ve read a few of your tweets, seen your latest post on Facebook or spotted your favourite image on Instagram. This means that when you run a service business, you don’t need to worry about spending hours generating content for social media. Have a modern looking website that works quickly, where you can share your knowledge through useful blogs and newsletters. Put those blogs onto LinkedIn and tell people about them in LinkedIn updates. If you’re feeling really brave, put out a few tweets or Facebook updates full of tips and links to your useful blogs and newsletters. And then get back to building relationships with the people who are going to recommend you to potential clients!
If you need any tips or advice on how generate really useful content that you can share with prospects, give me a call on 01635 578 500 or click here to email me.