Update! Speakers, Coaches and Business Consultants Who Get Great Results From Social Media Do These Three Things
Of course, it’s important to first define ‘great results’ – the assumption being that Social Media is always a marketing activity designed to attract new clients.
“Why else would you use Social Media then?” asked one attendee at a recent workshop. It’s a fair question, so here are the best results that Speakers, Coaches and Consultants tend to see from their use of Social Media:
1. They get many more visits to their website
2. They are able to improve their search engine rankings
3. Prospects can build a better picture of a consultant by seeing beyond just what he or she put on their website
4. They are able to reinforce themselves as authoritative and credible in (say) leadership, customer service, creativity – whatever their area of expertise
5. They strengthen their reputation for trustworthiness
6. They have a great way to engage with advocates, their network and centres of influence
7. They raise their profile in their local community
8. Press and media come to them for expert opinion, which gives them additional visibility online and which enhances the perception of them as having expertise
9. They are able to engage with clients beyond meetings, newsletters and reviews – including being able to cement recently made relationships with new clients
10. They are first to spot opportunities to help individuals and companies that need their help
11. They are quick to discover local events where they can raise their profile
12. They find new opportunities to network with other people
13. They are able to improve their knowledge by listening to other experts and thought leaders
14. They are able to learn best practice from other consultants and coaches around the world
15. They are able to get new ideas and make improvements to their business by listening to business development experts
16. They are able to give their business a human face online - beyond traditional face-to-face relationships
17. They are able to add another level of ‘wow’ to their customer service proposition
18. They are able to build Community around their clients
19. They are able to educate people on their area of expertise
20. They are able to attract people to join their newsletter list
21. They are able to decrease their marketing costs
22. They are able to promote specific initiatives that go beyond their ‘day job’ – e.g. education, local sponsorship, book writing etc.
23. They are able to humanise their area of expertise through case studies and human interest stories
24. They are able to build ‘buzz’ around their business
25. They improve brand equity
26. They are able to significantly expand the reach of their promotions when hosting seminars and events
27. They are able to give clients another way to talk to them
28. They attract Internet-savvy staff to their practice
29. They improve staff motivation and engagement
30. They enrich their client experiences
31. They gain greater insights into the things clients care about – beyond what they’ve been told in a fact find meeting
32. They are able to observe their competitors
33. They look busy, vibrant and active
34. They are able to reinforce the ‘tone of voice’ of their business – e.g. fun, serious, professional etc.
35. They are able to find and listen to niche markets where they have expertise
36. People who are referred to a speaker, consultant or coach by an existing client have another way to ‘check you out’
37. They add a new service and communication methodology to their proposition
38. They attract new clients
Now, to the sceptic consultant or coach, if I was getting even five or six of these results I would be thinking that Social Media is time well spent. But I hope you noticed that I left until last the result which the overwhelming majority of people think is the real reason for using Social Media – to attract new clients.
In reality, most consultants and coaches will only attract a small number of new clients directly from their Social Media activities, though there are exceptions. One financial planning consultant told me that in 2015 he attracted clients that paid him £100,000 in fees purely through his use of LinkedIn. Others have told me that they attracted new clients through LinkedIn the very first time they used online networking techniques which I teach.
In both these examples, the consultant concerned followed a process and a routine which I explain at my workshops and in consulting sessions.
The truth about Social Media for speakers, coaches and consultants is that it is a tool to support your business processes – to do some things more efficiently, some things much faster, to complement other activities and to do some things with greater efficiency and adeptness. In short, it helps you to do many of the things you do in your business – better.
For that reason, speakers, coaches and consultants should look at their Social Media profiles as assets of their business – particularly LinkedIn. And like any asset or tool that you use in your business, when you learn how to use it properly, only then will you see real benefits. For example, providers of back office or CRM systems will tell you that proper training is essential if you are to get the best out of the systems. Sounds like common-sense, but the same goes for using LinkedIn – take some time to get properly trained, and when you do you will see the site in a completely different light.
So we’ve defined ‘great results’ and what’s noticeable about those who succeed with Social Media is that they have a clear sense of what they want to achieve with it and then focus on that. In other words they have a plan.
Over the last six months we’ve asked hundreds of consultants if they have a documented Social Media plan and to our amazement not one single one of them had.
However when you find consultants that are using Social Media and seeing success with it, the majority have a plan – or at the very least a clear view of what they want to achieve by using it. And “Attract new clients” is almost never the primary goal.
“Doing what they already do, but better” is a key goal of the most successful speakers, coaches and consultancy firms around the world and Social Media is just one tool which helps them to be better. And when people and businesses invest in themselves, they invariable attract more clients – and better ones at that.
So the first thing they have in common is:
They want to be better at what they do as consultants – greater professionalism, more robust processes, better customer service and so on.
The second thing is that they know why they are using Social Media, and they have a clear plan for how they will use it. For most consultants, Social Media will be one of the most powerful tools they will ever find to attract more website visits. One consultancy firm I work with saw website visits increase by 2,400% in just seven days – with ‘increasing website visits’ being at the centre of their plan.
The third thing they have in common, is that having committed to using Social Media as a tool within their business, they use it a lot. In fact they use it a lot more than advisory businesses that are less successful.
Let’s look at some numbers from the US for financial planning consultants. This is a good example to use because traditionally it has been felt that Social Media and financial advice/consultancy just don’t mix. Someone once said to me“If you can get Social Media to work for financial consultants, you can get it to work for anyone!”
According to a 2015 survey in the United States by WealthVest, advisers generating in excess of $1m in annual revenue use Social Media Marketing over 40% more than their lower performing peers.
It’s worth adding quickly that these figures come from the US, where the financial consulting industry has been considerably more cautious about Social Media – far more so than in the UK.
The report goes on to say that among advisers who characterised their use of Social Media as ‘extensive’, more than 70% reported an increase in assets under management or revenue due to Social Media Marketing. Even among the ‘dabblers’, 40% reported an increase due to Social Media.
The story was similar when advisers were asked about the impact of Social Media on their ability to attract clients. Overall about two out of ten financial professionals reported that Social Media had helped expand their client base by 10% or more during 2014. Whilst amongst ‘extensive’ users, six in ten reported a similar increase in clients.
When engaging clients through Social Media, 66% of high-income earning advisers said their primary goals were to improve their professional brands, while 53% said they wanted to share relevant news and content with clients. Forty-seven percent said Social Media also helped them generate new prospects and leads, while 44% said it helped them network with professional peers. Forty-four percent also said it helps them access expert commentary and news, while 16% said it helps them to reduce marketing expenses.
So to sum up those outcomes:
- Increase the size of their client base
- Increase in the amount of business they write
- Improve their professional brands
- Share relevant news and content with clients
- Generate new prospects and leads
- Network with professional peers
- Access expert commentary and news
- Reduce marketing expenses
At any level, these are extremely positive outcomes, and can in themselves form the basis of a compelling Social Media strategy for speakers, coaches and consultants in both amongst large and small firms. Whilst good results were seen across all consultants in the example above, what’s interesting to note is that the best results were achieved by:
- Advisers/consultants generating in excess of $1m in annual revenue
- Advisers/consultants who described their use of Social Media as ‘extensive’
‘Immediate’ results within the first twelve months
Almost one-third of million-dollar advisers saw results immediately after engaging clients and prospects via Social Media, and 56% realised benefits within the first 12 months. That’s a significantly better result than experienced by the group as a whole, where just 20% of all financial representatives who participated in the survey reported immediate results - although 58% realised positive outcomes within the first year.
In summary, the study suggests that the more active a consultant is with Social Media, the greater the benefit is to his or her practice in terms of attracting new clients and improving revenue streams.
Not surprisingly, the majority (70%) of high-income earners participating in the survey intend to further increase their Social Media activity in the future.
‘Success’ with Social Media is how you the speaker, consultant or coach defines it; what I’ve done is to highlight that ‘attracting new clients’ is a by-product of working to make your business better for you and for your existing clients. Social Media merely helps support those business development initiatives.
I’ve talked about the importance of you having a clear plan, and that hardly any consultants actually have one. Unfortunately, of those that know they need to have one, most don’t know where to start.
So we decided to take the bull by the horns.
Since 2004 I’ve been working with a wide range of businesses to help them make better use of Social Media within their businesses. And after spending time with many hundreds of advisers and consultants in person and at workshops, I’ve identified several key themes (nineteen altogether) which are holding them back from seeing greater returns from their use of Social Media. The top six are these:
1. Not having a clear understanding of what they could achieve with Social Media, and consequently...
2. ...Not having a clear plan
3. Not knowing what to post about on Social Media
4. Not having sufficient time to do it justice
5. Concern that their reputation might suffer if they do something wrong
So we’ve developed a unique Social Media Strategy Planning Tool for speakers, coaches, advisers and consultants to use which will help them to:
- Kickstart their Social Media strategy
- Identify key goals within their business which can be supported by using Social Media
- Identify the Social Media tools and techniques which are right for your business
- Identify the right type of content to reach the right type of clients
- Identify when and how often to post on Social Media
- And much more
Our planning tool is new, exciting and revolutionary amongst the consulting and coaching community and will literally kickstart Social Media Best Practice within your business.
It also removes the fear, anxiety and overwhelm that we all experience when considering how to use Social Media in our businesses.
Social Media is not something 'extra' that you do
in your business because someone told you it could attract new clients.
If you want a better business with happier clients, you should look at your
Social Media profiles as part of your business assets, and you should look at
the use of Social Media as part of what you do to create and build a better
You should download your Social Media Strategy Planner now: