So many of us have such a distaste for social media these days that it can be hard to hold our noses and bring ourselves to make use of it as part of a business marketing plan. But the reality is that there are few other FREE efforts you can make to reach as wide an audience for your services than what is offered to you by Facebook and LinkedIn.
As a background context for what I'm about to say, let me first be clear that I'm talking my clients, who are solopreneurs in the healing and helping arts for the most part, with a few non-profits and other small businesses sprinkled in. There perspectives aren't suited for retail business, nor for larger corporations.
Helpful Resource as Brand Promotion on Facebook
A Facebook business page is an essential platform for business to potential client contact. But this needs to be done in a somewhat subtle way. Aggressive advertising doesn't work here for service businesses, and Facebook itself is moving more towards forcing businesses to buy ads instead of advertising outright for free.
So before anything else, get in the mindset of being a helpful resource who plants seeds that may not bear the fruit of new clients for a season or two. Having the unrealistic idea that a Facebook post today will result in 3 new clients this week is a prescription for disappointment and failure.
But a Facebook business page can be a productive tool, and has the advantage of being seen by a different audience than LinkedIn, or even Google search results. If you have the luxury of being able to work with people at a distance rather than being restricted to a small geographic location and in-person clients, Facebook is the place to be.
Deah's View of the Benefit of LinkedIn
LinkedIn is primarily a platform for business to business connections. This is where you want to be visible to other professionals in your industry or in allied fields who could be sources of referrals for you.
This is a place for promoting your blog posts and thereby building your professional brand or reputation as a knowledgeable source. Every blog post your promote in the LinkedIn feed reminds allied professionals that you are out there offering a unique service or working with a specialize niche. This helps you create "top of mind" position in reader's memory when they want to refer someone to a service like yours.
How to Promote by Posting a Link to Your Blog
First, obviously, make sure your blog posts contain practical bits of information that are easily applied. Make sure you have described the process clearly enough that a 10 year old as well as a 70 year old under stress could follow it. Anticipate common questions and answer them. That what it means to be a helpful resource.
And by the way, this approach to marketing also helps you create the know you / like you / trust you factors that motivate potential clients to hire you when they need your services. It's worth its weight in gold, especially when just starting out in business. But be sure to hold good boundaries so that you don't give away too much for free!
Next, when you are done writing your blog post, copy the page url for that specific post. Be sure you have copied it from the public view of your blog, and not from the editor's preview version. Paste that page url into the LinkedIn feed or onto your Facebook business page. Pasting will automatically generate a link readers will use to come back to your website to read the blog.
By posting this url, you have created a "backlink". Google likes backlinks. This helps your SEO, so it's never a waste of time.
Now, it's internet etiquette to add a comment that relates to why you are posting the link. The trick is to make the comment relevant and meaningful to a particular audience. Tell them why reading the post will be interesting or helpful. Tell then how it answers a burning question, or a problem they didn't even know they could have. Make the comment motivational, as if not clicking your link will be against their best interests, and is worth their time.
This kind of commenting is what is meant by "promoting your blog post" on social media.
What about other Social Media Platforms?
Lots of people rave about Twitter. Others are abandoning Facebook for Instagram. Those whose services lend particularly well to visual images are using Pinterest. Some are becoming video-savvy and developing a YouTube channel, which is now considered a social media platform and is owned by Google, which loves to see video on your website. Your blog is the best place for short videos, and that will also help build your SEO juice.
Here's why none of these are my first line recommendation for clinicians, coaches, authors, attorneys, etc.
Twitter is not considered a serious medium for business -- even though some esoteric readers and small retailers are making good use of it.
Instagram ... well frankly, I haven't gotten the hang of Instagram yet. And the last statistics I saw showed that Facebook was still preferred by all but the youngest consumers.
Pinterest can be useful if you have a knack for graphics and don't forget to connect images to a backlink for your website. But be careful not to be too self-promotional there, as that is not the purpose of that platform and you could get banned.
YouTube is a jungle, but more and more useful for those who aren't camera shy, and those who want to learn the skills of creating "explainers" or videos on a series of related topics. Check out PowToons.com as a free tool for creating short videos with a somewhat cartoonish -- meaning, light hearted -- tone.
Here's a PowToons example without sound done for a clinician and posted both on YouTube and on her website. And here's a client of mine who is posting short videos onto her Facebook page. A quick Google search will provide other resources for creating quick videos, too.
The whole point of doing social media as part of a daily or weekly marketing plan, is to drive more traffic to your website, and increase your authority and relevance signals to Google. Each time someone clicks your link on your Facebook page or their LinkedIn feed that takes them back to your website, Google's algorithm notices. The more often this happens, the more Google sees that you are connecting with the public, so the more traffic it sends you. This is the SEO "game".
Using social media for business has a split focus -- you are writing to increase your credibility with potential clients, AND you are sending optimization signals to the search engines. This is why you need to make it a prominent part of your daily or weekly marketing tasks to post on at least one of these two platforms.
Want more ideas about client attraction marketing? I highly recommend CJ Hayden's Get Clients Now system. Discover that here.