Word of mouth has traditionally been the way countless small businesses earn their bread and butter. It’s a tried and true method that many still swear by to one degree or another. Have no doubt that client acquisition through word of mouth continues strong in the era of social media. But you can’t be passive and expect results. Here are 10 ways you can use social media to increase your client base:
1. Use your personal profiles to promote yourself
There’s mixed feelings about this idea. Some folks believe work and private lives should be kept separate and that this logic extends to social media. But if you’re proud of the work you do and are determined to grow your business through any available avenue, this is a no brainer. Your network of followers and friends are genuinely interested in you and, should they ever need the kind of services you provide, they’ll come to you first because of that connection. But only if they know about what you have to offer!
2. Grow your network of friends and followers
It’s the new Rolodex. Swapping business cards is great, but so is swapping social media details. In fact, the new wave of business cards includes social media contact details because that’s just where we’re naturally heading in our business dealings. So if you meet someone you have even the slightest of inklings could be a client, get their social media details.
3. Cultivate relationships with contacts that don’t mind sharing
You know what goes farther than promoting yourself? Having someone vouch for you on his or her social media accounts. When someone who has nothing to gain from doing so stamps you as “worthy”, people listen up. You come across as competent, respectable and trustworthy. The other clear benefit is that your name is suddenly on the radar of people who may never have heard of you before.
4. Follow your feed closely for potential leads
So now that you’ve drastically grown your network of followers and friends you’re going to ignore them? Of course not! Stay on top of your feed. There’s a good chance that people in your network may share the fact that they require exactly the kind of services you can provide. Hey, sometimes people draw a blank and forget what your specialty is. Don’t hold it against them. Seize the opportunity.
5. Use a social media monitoring tool
Some of us have hundreds, if not thousands, of friends and followers. In that case, it’s not realistic to “stay on top of your feed.” Fair enough. But there are tools that can do it for you. If you have the budget for it, companies like Leadsift can be useful in this regard. For the small business market there’s a company like needls.com, which scours Twitter and Facebook for relevant posts and delivers its users real time sales leads. In the case of needls.com, not only are your friends and followers posts filtered through, but also any post that is public. Monitoring tools are a must if you truly intend to harness the power of client acquisition via social media.
6. Join groups that are relevant to the services you offer
Facebook has tons of profession-related groups. And it’s not just your peers who are a part of them. It makes absolute sense that someone would do a bit of research before committing to one company or professional. These people often look for groups that offer the insights they’re looking for and post questions. Watch out for these individuals and make sure to reach out in any way you can.
7. Become a regular poster on industry pages and groups
Stand out. You know your stuff, so make it known that you know your stuff. You should post relevant material regularly on industry pages and groups. You should also be the usual suspect when it comes to answering questions. Potential clients visiting these groups and pages will notice that you seem to know more than anyone else. If they reach out to anyone, it’ll likely be you.
8. Find and join relevant events
There’s bound to be at least a few publicized events that relate to services you offer. You should consider attending, or at the very least get a sense of who is attending and offer them your services.
9. Paying to advertise on social media channels
Here’s the obvious one – ads. It’s costly, but you can’t deny it has its pluses. Nothing is more in your face than an ad when you’re looking through your feed or visiting a page. You can’t ignore it and even if you resent it in the moment, it’s still stuck in your head. We live in the age of targeted advertising and to not give it due consideration would be foolish.
10. Stay up-to-date with new social media channels and trends
How many social media channels exist today? Probably more than we need, and more are coming. Still, in their own ways they all have their benefits. Don’t miss out on existing trends that may be of use to you. By that same line of reasoning, don’t be shy to jump aboard new social media channels. If you want to win with social media, you must keep abreast of social media.
In summary, you have to be an active participant in the world of social media to reap the rewards it has to offer. You don’t have to spend much to come out a winner. Just be willing to put your best self out there, be attentive to the possibilities and network, network, network.