When the amazing Will Deyamport, MSEd asked me months ago to write a blog post about using social media for coaching, I wasn't sure I would be the best person to fit the bill. For one thing although I am a business coach, I do not profess to be a social media expert.
I have, however, successfully used social media were getting the word out about my business over the past 3-4 years and it has become an integral part of how I do business.
In this article, I will share with you 3 ways in which I have applied social media to my business practices as a coach with favorable results. Whether you're new to coaching or simply new to doing business online, a few of these best practices may resonate with you.
Market Coaching Services
I use social media to communicate information about upcoming offers as well as to promote events and programs. When I say “promote”, I don’t mean starting out of the gate that I began to blast short ads all over Twitter every 15 minutes. Promotion is done in conjunction with sharing great resources and information that apply to my target audience.
My philosophy is that social media has been a tremendous part of my overall marketing strategy; but it is not the marketing strategy.
One of the biggest mistakes new business professionals tend to make is to assume that social media in itself is the marketing plan, but it’s important to understand social media is simply one of several vehicles in a larger, broader strategy to build and promote your business.
Let me share an example. I recall a client who had about 3 followers on Twitter. When she promoted her brand new, fabulously irresistible coaching group, she tweeted mini-ads about once every couple of days. There were no other promotions, no offline networking, no other advertising means. What do you think happened?
Of course, no one bought into the program and no one saw the tweets.
However, we worked to develop and introduce a four-part, free video series structured around the client’s target audience and their biggest need. She pushed back the start date two months later, and over a period of time she had engaged in ongoing online conversations through forums, blogs, and other media talking about the topic and building her credibility as an expert.
This time when she launched the program, there was a packed group.
Provide Services To Clients
Another way I have used social media is as a platform to provide coaching services and products.
In the past, I created a tab on my Facebook fan page that collected questions for which I could provide answers during my ongoing coaching group each month.
Another idea I have seen implemented is that of coaching over Google + hangouts. As the moderator, you are able to control the privacy of your group and only allow those you specifically invite to the calls to participate over video.
What I like most about this concept is that you not only get to engage your small group in conversation, but they also have the opportunity to interact with you visually. This creates deeper, more authentic relationships and connection – and that works great for a coaching environment.
Find Helpful Resources
Finally a third way in which I have successfully engaged social media is by using it to find helpful resources to maintain my business.
When seeking out specific administrative service providers, I have interacted with my network on Twitter or LinkedIn or Referral Key to find referrals from people I trust. This cansave a considerable amount of time and money for your business. Just like the days before online business became the norm, there is significant value in working with people for which others have had a great experience.
There are coaches who do not yet fully integrate social media into how they operate, but I have found social media to be quite advantageous to my business.
If you do decide to apply social media to your business growth strategies, think smart - evaluate where your market currently spends time online, consider how social media fits into your larger plan, and think about how much time you're willing to invest.
If you'd like more information on how to create a social media strategy that fits your schedule, I've created a workbook to help you map out a plan for when to post, where to post, and more. You will find this guide at http://www.tanyasmithonline.com/social-mediaplanning
About the Author: Tanya Smith is a creative business strategist and coach specializing in showing independent service providers how to do business online. Her company Be Promotable provides fresh actionable strategies and virtual resources to promote business owners as power players in their market. For more information, visit Tanya’s social business card at www.about.me/tanyasmith and get updates on upcoming online business resources at: www.tanyasmithonline.com.