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March 29, 2009

Social Media and The Consultant

Is your business online? Do you sell books, eBooks and audio downloads? Or maybe you run some form of subscription or remote mentoring service. If you do then social media is a great tool for you.

You can leverage Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Adwords to drive traffic to your site, build your trust based assets and then convert these into sales. Lot of tricks and techniques out there on how to do this effectively.

But if your business involves real world connections. Like say... a consulting firm, then social media is only ever going to be a complimentary marketing medium for you.

Or in other words, you use it to build the network, and then you need to take offline action.

Use LinkedIn to create connections, contact them, and then meet with them.

Use your blog to create the base of raving fans, contact them, and then meet with them.

Use Twitter to drive traffic to your blog, and to interact with a large group of people, and then contact and meet with them.

Too many of us seem to think that joining LinkedIn (say) is magically going to convert into sales for you and your services. Nothing could be further from the truth!!

I have had a few opportunities float across my Inbox simply by being on LinkedIn... but if I relied on those to pay the rent I would be living in a cardboard box.

The world is changing, technology is moving forward at a dramatic pace - but some things remain the same.

Business development is always going to be the same. Meeting and interacting with people is always going to be a stronger way to generate a trust based relationship than sending a few emails.

I recall a few years ago I was working in Saudi. I had some great ideas for setting up an engineering firm and I was shopping these around to a few VC types I knew.

But at the end of the day I was still a guy on the end of a keyboard in the Middle East asking for $2 million. Today when I go and see these same contacts the decisions are faster, the conversation is more multi dimensional, and the possibility of success is far greater.

Marketing by walk about is still the greatest form of selling consulting services in my book.