Obviously, social media has gotten a lot of buzz-particularly for consultants, experts and advisors who are looking to attract more new clients. However, the results most people experience are disappointing, so let’s take a look at a strategy that works very well and best of all…doesn’t require an outlay of cash.
The first question is where on the social media landscape do you want to focus? If you’re targeting C-Suite executives, affluent clients, or B2B executives, I’d focus on LinkedIn. Facebook is attractive in many ways, and it’s growing in the business niches, but the wealth of prospects right now is definitely on LinkedIn.
Personally, I wouldn’t do advertising on LinkedIn. We’ve done campaigns for Gentle Rain as well as for a number of clients, and the results have been disappointing. Since the cost per click is quite high, I wouldn’t invest in advertising unless 1) your fees for a new client are very high and 2) you have your marketing funnel completely built out so that you can capitalize on every lead you get. For some consulting firms, advertising on LinkedIn may make sense but I’d focus on these other strategies first.
The first step is to create a corporate page that succinctly but persuasively explains the benefits you offer. One feature on your LinkedIn page, that many companies overlook, is the video section. This enables you to engage prospects beyond just the standard information. Either talking-head or narrated power point presentations are highly effective.
However, keep in mind that the goal is to migrate people from LinkedIn to your website so that you can put them into your client-conversion funnels.
So, how do we get prospects to connect with us on LinkedIn?
The best opportunity at LinkedIn is with the groups. You can join up to 50 of them. Think about which groups your prospects are most likely to be connected with. Those are the groups that you want to join. Joining groups that revolve around your specific area of expertise can be beneficial for staying abreast of trends in your industry, but won’t really help much in terms of lead generation.
There are two strategies for how you interact with groups. Especially when you are a new member, posting comments on other people’s posts helps with your credibility. You don’t need to do this extensively, but it’s important to be viewed as a viable member of the communities that you join. This can also be a subtle method of mentioning your particular areas of knowledge. “We recently had a client who faced similar issue you mentioned and found that…”
Where you’ll get your greatest response from groups is by posting teaser copy with a link to an article on your blog. It shouldn’t need saying that these articles need to be content rich, and not just be an advertisement for your services. Group managers are quite strict about this, and won’t hesitate to kick anyone off who is simply there to sell stuff.
The teaser copy should lead to your blog which needs to be set up so that your lead magnets appear as thumbnails along the side. You’ll notice on this blog page that there is an opt-in for one of our lead magnets, as well as to learn more about my latest book. The strategy is that if readers find your content to be valuable, they’ll want to engage with you to learn more about what you offer.
Additionally, at the bottom of the blog post, you will want to include a direct call to action-which is usually an opportunity to speak with you personally (if they meet certain criteria). The model for the page offering your free consultation can be found here.
While joining groups is highly beneficial, I’d also encourage you to reach out directly to those you want as clients. LinkedIn has an advanced search button at the top of the page that allows you to compile lists by an extensive list of criteria. Set as a goal sending out 4-6 messages a day. It’s very important that you do not send just the stock “I’d like to connect with you” message that LinkedIn uses as it’s default template. Customize it so that it communicates why you feel there is a fit between the two of you. We’ve been doing a lot of research about best practices in your field and thought that it would sense for us to connect. Thanks
Another great way to use LinkedIn is when you see someone quoted, or appearing in the press or even in a video on YouTube. I recently was watching some videos done by one of the worlds largest consulting firms and sent the Managing Partner a short note via LinkedIn. The subject line was I don’t usually send messages like this (which is true) and went on to say how impressed I was with his comments in the video. I also mentioned that we did a lot of work with consulting firms, and would naturally welcome a chance to talk further. He wrote back saying “Thanks” and over time I was able to build the relationship to the point where they became a valued client.
You’ll also get notices of job changes, promotions and work anniversaries for those you’re connected with. Resist the temptation to send the stock email of congratulations. It’s far better to send fewer messages that are personally crafted than it is to send out blanket responses. I found this out the hard way.
At the time that I’m writing this, LinkedIn is where I’d focus my energies in terms of social media. The people you want as clients are there and perhaps best of all, once doesn’t necessarily need to have a large advertising budget in order to get great results.
Let me know if I can be of help. Thanks
Mark Satterfield, Gentle Rain Marketing — Author , Marketing Consulting Expert, Lead Generation, Business Development, Marketing Strategy, Get More Clients, Increase Revenue — Click here for his Facebook Twitter LinkedIn YouTube