Best Practices For Promoting Your Coaching Business on Social Media
“We don’t have a choice whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it.” - Erik Qualman, author of Socialnomics
Social media has become a major part of our lives, with the number of monthly Facebook users hitting 1.59 billion in January, and has proven to be a wonderful (and affordable) tool to promote individuals and businesses. And contrary to its name, social media is more than just a place to just socialize.
In the past, many start-up companies and entrepreneurs have had to spend a fortune on marketing campaigns to get their name out there, whereas the evolution of the internet has now made it possible to take matters into our own hands.
So, how does one go about effectively promoting themselves and their coaching business on social media? While there is no perfect formula to success, here are some guidelines to follow that will steer you in the right direction.
If you are just getting started with setting up a Facebook or Twitter account for your business, there are guidelines available to help you out. It’s important to keep in mind that every aspect of your profile, such as the photo, banner and description, will reflect your business, so make sure you take the time to figure out what you’d like to portray. Noomii offers a step-by-step guide for setting up your online coaching profile, which includes easy-to-follow videos and if you want to get one-on-one help, Noomii also offers personalized profile reviews.
To start, ensure your username is memorable and represents your business. It’s also important to have a clear and concise bio that describes your business and the services you provide. This can be tricky to do on social media sites like Twitter, as you are only allotted 160 characters, so it may take some time to get it right.
Maintain professionalism while showing your personality
Much like your profile itself, what you post on your social media pages reflects your business. It is important to maintain a level of professionalism in your posts and your responses. On that note, it is also beneficial to include some of your personality in your posts and sharing your thoughts on topics related to your field of work. By including snippets of yourself, you ensure followers that you aren’t a robot. So be yourself, it will help create the meaningful connections that translate to leads. Take time away from regular scheduled posts related to your business and field of expertise to celebrate holidays and to share news about local events. On the same note, when catastrophic disasters and tragedies take place, refrain from your usual marketing posts as they will be seen as insensitive.
Find a balance between engaging and promoting
One of the most important things to remember is you cannot simply use social media to constantly promote your business with advertisment-style posts. In fact, it’s often recommended that businesses follow the one-in-seven rule, which means for every promotional post you must have six that are useful, relevant or amusing to your followers.
While promotional posts that request a call to action, such as “Click here for a free consultation” or “Read my latest blog post here,” are important, finding a balance between engaging and promoting is essential, as few people enjoy constantly being sold on goods and services.
Another way to engage your audience is by asking them questions. We all like to give our two cents on topics that interest us, so why not give your followers a chance to chime in? This type of interaction can also be beneficial for your business, as a properly poised question can offer insight into their thoughts and interests and can translate into leads. Both Facebook and Twitter allow you to create polls, which is another great way to engage your audience and better understand them. Remember, people create relationships with other people, not soulless brands they don’t feel connected to.
Once you create relationships with your followers through engagement, you can turn these relationships into sales and even personalize your promotional offers to individuals.
Quality versus quantity: How often should you post?
As with all social interactions, being present and active in conversation is important and the same goes for social media. Being present and checking in often is the key to keeping your followers interested. If you only engage or post sporadically, they will be less likely to stay connected with you. So answer questions, ask some of your own and respond to comments.
In terms of how often to post, again, there is no magical number. But it is safe to say that anyone using Twitter or Facebook has a ton of content populating their feed constantly, meaning the lifespan of your tweet will likely be very short. While it is good to keep that in mind, it doesn’t mean you should update constantly, unless, of course, you have a constant flow of useful, interesting content to post. Essentially, opt for quality over quantity.
Another question often asked is "When is the best time of day to post?" According to Moz.com, there is no right or wrong answer to this and they suggest that it is really dependent on your audience, your appetite and what you have to say. Having said that, Buffer.com put together a scientific guide for the best times to send tweets, post on Facebook and even when to send emails, for those that desire a more methodical approach.
Connect with others in your field
Creating connections and networking with professionals in your field is just as important as engaging with potential clients. Why? Because building a professional network gives you insight into what others in the coaching world are buzzing about. This is especially true if you are just starting out your coaching business. Getting out there and connecting with more seasoned coaches can offer invaluable insight into the industry and connect you with others who can eventually refer clients to you. Deanna Brown’s Teleclass “5 Steps to Unlimited Referral Clients” offers more insight into this topic.
On that note, while it may be tempting to go out and add anyone with the words “life coach” in their profile, taking a more cautious approach is the way to go. Contrary to popular belief, quantity doesn’t beat quality when it comes to building your professional network. Be selective.
Stay focused on the desired outcome
While the social aspect of your coaching business can be a lot of fun, it's important to keep your focus on your desired outcome: more clients. It is far too easy to get wrapped up in social media and waste away hours and hours online with no return in sight. Monitoring and measuring your progress as you go is necessary in keeping your eyes on the prize. The basic building blocks of a social media campaign - the attention grabber, the content, the call to action and the sale - are great tools to help you move from one stage of your campaign to the next without using up too much time.
You will likely have to put in some extra hours initially until you get the hang of it, but this shouldn't be ongoing. Don't feel like you need to be constantly plugged in. Instead, set up a schedule for posting, as well as checking and responding to messages. There are platforms like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck that allow you to schedule your tweets and Facebook posts so you can choose optimal times for them to reach your audience without having to stress. Many blog platforms, such as Wordpress, also offer the scheduling feature for posts.