Getting social media right for your consulting business is a bit like driving a stick shift—you have to find the right balance of clutch and gas or you’ll stall out.
Too social and you run the risk of looking like a dilettante. Not enough and you look robotic or deeply dull.
I just finished a deep dive into a Twitter page to give some feedback to its owner who was disappointed with the lack of engagement.
She has over 20,000 followers, solid, brand-consistent content, even compelling images. And yet her page sat there like a rock—a few likes and a retweet here and there but nothing on a scale to warrant the investment she’d made in the platform.
The problem? There wasn’t any “social” in her social. It was more of a rolling billboard of content, with an echo chamber of retweeting her own pieces. Her social feeds didn’t share the work of others in her space or attempt to engage directly with members of her tribe.
And because she’d gotten a tad lazy (haven’t we all at some point with social?), she’d stopped really looking for new people to connect with.
Luckily, the Rx was simple, if not exactly what she wanted to hear: put more social in your social media.
The key to being the right amount of social—not too much and not too little—is to be unfailingly strategic in your choices.
You’re on social media to grow your influence: to build awareness and connect to and engage with your future clients, buyers and centers of influence. To sell your services and products, grow your firm and spread your big idea.
You’re building your revenue and fueling your growth.
So it pays to have a clear—and consistent—social strategy.
Start with a close look at each of what I call the Big Six for consultants and advisors: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest.
You won’t want to be on all of them for business—maybe only one or two—so pick the platforms that resonate with how you operate at your best.
Don’t just cross any off your list without a little study (remember, if it’s mission critical but not suited to your natural style, you can hire yourself a social VA to help you).
Instagram isn’t just for cute puppies, gorgeous food and arty designers. Used well, it can be pivotal for say a financial advisor, a coach or even a technology consultant.
And laugh all you like about Twitter’s occasional insanity, but it is THE platform for connecting with journalists, media and the pundits in your field. Not to mention a potentially deep source of clients if you can make it work for you.
Do your homework—whether you ultimately handle your own social or fork it over to someone else, you need to make the strategic decisions around your investment.
Related: Why You Need A More Powerful Brand
As you consider each social platform, ask yourself these 10 questions before finalizing your social strategy:
- What is your goal with this social platform—how will it contribute to your brand, your selling and marketing?
- Over what time frame can you expect to see results and how will you measure success?
- Are your sweet-spot clients and buyers well represented on this platform?
- Are your competitors here?
- How about the media you most want to connect with?
- What can you do to differentiate yourself on this platform—and how does that bring you closer to the tribe you’re building?
- Does this fit with your natural personality? And if it doesn’t but is essential to your business, what support do you need to master it?
- Are you REALLY ready to do what it takes to be successful on this site? If you choose Instagram, are you prepared to produce and curate high quality images on a regular basis? On Twitter are you willing to track down your ideal audience and share and engage?
- What results can you reasonably expect in three months? Six months? A year? How does this platform fit with your client/buyer development efforts?
- What’s the cost/benefit of your time spent (or hiring this out) over your expected recoup period?
Like with regular media—and frankly any marketing exercise—it’s better to start small and FOCUS. So maybe you decide to devote a couple hours a week to mastering Twitter. Or building out a Facebook page. Or distributing your content with images on Instagram.
The key is to stick with your strategy for at least six months while continuing to tweak tactics as you see what works—and what doesn’t.
Yes, social can feel agonizingly slow when you’re getting the hang of it. But if you do your homework and allow yourself to be the right amount of social, it will take off geometrically when you hit the right inflection point.
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