A few short years ago, social media seemed to be a fad, but it is clear today that social media tools are growing in significance, especially for business use. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, blogs and many other channels of social media are changing the way we communicate and certainly have changed the way business communicates with customers, opening the door to more engaged dialogue between customers and businesses. For coaches, social media has expanded how we can relate with our clients and our potential clients and many coaches have jumped in with both feet
and leveraged social media to expand their businesses, while others have held back.
When you consider the statistics, it seems worthwhile to consider adding a well thought out social media strategy to your marketing mix.
Facebook: 727 million daily active users on average in September 2013. 23% of Facebook users check their account more than 5 times per day; 80% of social media users prefer to connect with brands through Facebook; 77% of B2C companies and 43% of B2B companies acquired customers from Facebook (2012).
LinkedIn: 259 million users as at October: 92 million in the U.S. and 8 million in Canada.
Pinterest: more than 25 million members, over half a million business accounts and gets 2.5 billion page views per month and ‘pins’ and ‘pin-boards’ have a longer shelf life than posts on Facebook or Twitter. Young, well-educated women with disposable incomes make up 82% of active users on Pinterest.
You Tube: 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month.
Twitter: 500 million tweets sent everyday and 75% access via a mobile device. In 2012, one million accounts were added to Twitter every day. 230 million monthly active users and 100 million daily active users as at October 2013. Estimate daily active users in 22.9 million US and 2.8 million in Canada.
In this interview with JUHLi SELBy, Social Media consultant and trainer, we explore a few of the top questions coaches have about social media in anticipation of JUHLi’s VI Coaches workshop in Victoria on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 where she will provide an in-depth overview of how coaches can leverage social media.
Delaney: Many coaches are independent small business owners. With all the choices of social media channels, what advice do you have for coaches on choosing the most appropriate media to leverage social media to their advantage?
JUHli: If you don’t have the budget to hire someone to manage your social media marketing for you, when you are doing it yourself, you need to choose wisely where you are going to spend your time. You need to consider several factors: Where you are comfortable, what social media you already use, where your target market is spending time, how much time you have available in your schedule to manage your social media strategy, and what your talents and resources are (e.g. writing articles and producing videos). Considering these factors will help determine what the best fit is for you and your business. The answer to your question is really a different answer for each person and their business.
DT: A common complaint is, “I don’t have the time”. Launching and managing a social media strategy can be overwhelming at first. What advice to you have as a getting started strategy for coaches?
JS: A big tip is to make sure you are creating the right channels for you and your talents which includes getting good advice and making sure your audience is there.
Another tip is to consider time management and setting up the tools to support your time management. For example, I use a reader (such as Feedly which works great on most devices and most browsers) to help me find and create good content to share. I also designate a specific time for my social media management.
I log into my reader, look at the dashboard with my flow of content and then I curate content to share across social channels staggering the time it goes out using a scheduling tool, such as Hootsuite, Buffer, Tweetdeck or Social Oomph, which allows you to include several
different media and cross post to them all.
Two other time management tips:
Manage the email notifications – anytime you sign up for a social media, you will get email notifications so it is wise to change the settings so that your inbox doesn’t bog down.
Organize by list or by folder where possible. – Facebook and Twitter allow you to organize by lists, so you can make a custom newsfeed.
Take some time to map it out and set up the tools and it doesn’t have to be this big overwhelming thing.
DT: What’s possible in terms of ROI with a well-managed social media strategy?
JS: What is possible with social media? It is a wonderful way to remain top of mind with contacts and it is a wonderful way to strengthen relationships with potential customers, strategic alliances, the press. An example of the benefit of developing relationships is that you could then create opportunities to write an article that a strategic alliance would post, thereby expanding your reach.
Social media can also be used to create increased awareness of your business, it can complement your email marketing, but unlike with email marketing, you can leverage your contacts’ networks through social media – your content can go forward into the newsfeeds of their contacts.
Social media can provide a good way to get referral business through the building of relationships in many ways. It does bring in leads and sales, but it really is about building relationships, which then can lead to increased leads and sales. It is two-way marketing, which takes a bit of work, so strategically you want to look at who you want to build relationship with, be it journalists, possible clients, or strategic alliances.
This is just a taste of the knowledge JUHLi SELBy has on creating a social media strategy. Learn more about how to put a social media strategy to work for your coaching business at the VI Coaches social media workshop featuring JUHLi SELBy on Tuesday, November 12th, 2013. Registration and course outline can be found here.
For more on leveraging social media tools visit these articles from the ICF Blog:
Or read the entire Leveraging Technology issue in the ICF’s Coaching World.