If you’re a consultant, trainer or speaker you’ve probably been told over and over again that to be successful you need to be very active on social media.
On the surface it sounds like good advice and social media can be an important part of your marketing strategy. It can certainly help you reach more people and get your message out to audiences who may never have heard of you. But let me be perfectly clear – you can build a business without constantly feeding an Instagram account with selfies.
Social media marketing is not a one-size fits all panacea for business success. But that’s the way it’s pitched to a lot of business owners.
Here’s what generally happens. A small business owner attends a conference or a seminar on social media and the speaker runs through a list of all the top sites and all the billions of people who are using them.
So you leave either inspired or frightened. Inspired about what social media can do to help you grow your brand or frightened by the amount of work it’s going to take to get you a million followers.
I’m here to confirm what your gut is already telling you. That’s a load of crap.
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A lot of business owners are wasting their time on social media. Instead of concentrating on creating great content for the platforms where they’re most likely to connect with clients, they end up filling a Hootsuite queue with quotes and inane pictures that have nothing to do with their business and will never resonate with their prospects.With great content and a sellable message you should be booking conferences, not posting pictures. Click To Tweet
I recently had a client who was signed up for everything by her social media consultant; Pinterest, Instagram, Tumbler, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. So instead of working on growing her speaking business, she was spending all her time trying to grow her social media followers.
If you have great content and a sellable message you should be booking conferences, not posting pictures.
That’s not to say social media in itself is a waste. But you do have to focus on the channels that are most likely to get you in front of the folks who are likely to write you checks for $10,000 or more.
And those folks are probably not on Instagram.
What about Facebook?
Yes, Facebook is huge and your clients are probably on it. But are the on it to be sold on your services or are they on it to keep connected to friends and family? I use Facebook as a hub for some content marketing. I have my blog and my social recycling plugins tied to it to distribute content automatically. I don’t pay too much attention to it. But it at least looks very active if a prospective client drops by when researching my credentials. I also use it for targeted advertising.
There was once a time when a Facebook business page could drive a lot of organic traffic back to your website – as all your followers would be likely to see your posts in their feed. But that changed with an algorithm update that deprecated business content distribution.
Now, if you want to get a piece of content noticed, you need to boost the post with an ad targeting your ideal client profile. That is the trend as social media companies increasingly monetize their data. It’s a pay to play world. So just get used to it.
What I tell my clients – who are primarily consultants, speakers, and sales trainers – is that they should play in the same social media sandbox their clients are playing in. And for the most part that means LinkedIn and Twitter.
I’m not saying that all the other social media are a waste of time. But it’s very easy to make your time on them very unproductive. Tackle social media with a strategy geared toward results and the time you save – not posting quotes – can be spent following up on real leads for proper jobs.