Social Media for Coaches
With the revolutionary changes in the way businesses are done in the 21st century, the importance of effective engagement of coaches with people through a wide-web of most popular social media platforms becomes all the more important. The effectiveness and popularity level of a successful coach now depends on how effectively they communicate via popular social media networks such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, MySpace and Tagged (Zarrella, 2010).
Many-a-times business owners approach social media like a checklist. They think that by setting up accounts on various social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Tumblr and the like they have fulfilled their prime responsibility and now they can rightfully expect return on their investment. It is important for coaches to understand that they need to go through a comprehensive learning process in order to rightfully claim returns from the social media platforms. The responses provided by two professional coaches can prove to be a good starting point in this direction:
For anyone joining social media, but especially for coaches, take the approach of endless learning, tinkering & evolving — because social media is an ever changing way to communicate. Before you join though, make a choice if your personal identity or your brand identity will be used — and stick to that, because there is nothing more damaging to credibility than people being confused around what you’re sharing via social. (Rachel O’h-Uiginn)
Coaches need to know that social media is less about selling than about connecting/conversing with others and participating in a community. Also, before you join, decide how you wish to be seen and known, then prepare your bio, background materials, contact information, and so on, before you start opening accounts, so that you can create a consistent, unified identity online. And never never never say or post anything that you don’t want to have broadcast to everyone you know or will know in the future. (Veronika Noize)
After describing the main issues that coaches need to be aware of before joining social media, it is pertinent now to mention independently the importance of various social media tools for the coaching profession. In the ensuing paragraphs some of the most powerful social media marketing tools will be analyzed and described in detail:
The latest rage in the social media marketing community, Twitter is an easy-to-use and low cost marketing tool. The biggest reason for the massive popularity of Twitter is that it provides real-time information about events as and when they are occurring. For a coaching profession Twitter can of extreme importance, the concept of live tweeting in particular can greatly aid a coaching professional (Twitter, 2013). Live-tweeting is the name given to a series of focused tweets across the entire duration of an important event. A coaching professional conducting a workshop can make use of live-tweeting phenomenon to boost number of followers and to get more mentions and retweets. Coaches can also take advantage of the concept of live tweeting and tell their followers what they are up to during a particular coaching activity (Twitter Media, 2013). One of the biggest advantages of live-tweeting is that the particular coach’s followers will learn about the genuineness of the account and will then try their utmost to join the coach in a live-tweeting event the next time it occurs. Another advantage of live-tweeting is that it may also translate into a real-time sales opportunity for a coach as followers may learn that the kind of coaching a professional is giving is what they needs and they would then turn to the coach to seek their support.
Pinterest allows users to create online scrapbooks where they can find and share images which excite them (Carr, 2012). Users can create ‘pin boards’ to organize their Pinterest page by giving labels of their choice to various ‘pin boards’. The website has been fast climbing the popularity ladder in recent months with tenfold increase in the traffic coming to the website over the past six months. Many different businesses are benefitting greatly because of Pinterest’s great ability to convert online traffic into real-time sales. Pinterest can greatly assist coaching professionals in their social media campaign by offering coaching professionals the liberty to ‘pin’ images and videos of their coaching events in order to engage ‘pinners’ from all across the world (Ryan Goodrich, 2013). As more and more people will follow the ‘pinboard’ of a particular coach and take interest in the images and videos pinned by them it is only a matter of time that online traffic starts converting into real-time sales for the coach in the form of people turning over to the coaching professional to seek their support.
Facebook is a highly effective social media tool. The biggest advantage of using Facebook for social media marketing effort is the relative ease with which marketers can get their message across to a broad ranging audience (Stelzner, 2013). Coaching professionals can gain numerous long-term social media followers through Facebook if they consistently keep their audience updated and stay relevant to their main business idea. A life coach, for instance, should provide updates related to issues such as health, relationships, family life etc., whereas an executive coach should provide key updates as to how individuals can succeed in their business endeavors (Pophal, 2010).
LinkedIn offers amazing opportunities for individuals and organizations to promote their particular businesses. LinkedIn gives businesses several leverages, such as providing them with the advantage of showcasing their products and services at low cost, giving the chance to advertise company’s website, in addition to providing the unique opportunity to showcase key product features through videos. Coaches can post status updates of key seminars or coaching events they are conducting in order to keep connected with their followers on LinkedIn (Gold, 2012 ).
YouTube is another very popular social media tool employed by coaching professionals. Coaches can use YouTube to upload latest videos of various coaching seminars which can be used to motivate interested individuals dealing with crisis in life to come forward and seek their help.
Many-a-times coaches are confused when pondering over the possibility of determining one best social media platform for their marketing strategy. It is important for these coaching professionals to understand that the best social media tools for a particular business has a direct co-relation to the nature of the business and the desired target market of the particular business. When asked if there is one best social media platform for the coaching profession, this is what the coaching professionals had to say;
Linked In, Facebook, Twitter are top 3; Pinterest and others depending on where prospects are.(Veronika Noize)
Twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn come to mind — but really, go where your clients are. Most people find me through my writing, so building my website & blog are key to my business’s success. (Rachel O’h-Uiginn)
The best social media option for businesses is LinkedIn. (Marsha Sanders)
Coaches can use social media tools along with traditional marketing tactics; these tools can greatly enhance the worth of a coach’s overall marketing effort. This fact is also supported by the following viewpoints of various coaches;
As a stand-alone strategy for coaches, it is weak, but social media can add significant value to other marketing programs, strategies and tactics. Social media allows for interaction, feedback, and response, creating and looped communication model. Traditional marketing vehicles do not offer the audience a chance to respond or interact, making it more difficult, time-consuming, and expensive to foster real relationships with one’s target market. (Veronika Noize)
Social is my primary source of building my presence, but I also make sure to have business cards, flyers and the most important thing of all — my own one-on-one interaction with people I meet. (Rachel O’h-Uiginn)
The most important factor in online marketing is your website. You can control your content and messages on your website, and you own your website. You don’t own Twitter or Facebook — these services can change at some point in the future, and you cannot control what is posted about you there… there are many online and traditional ways to drive traffic to your site, including social media. One effective strategy is to have a compelling offer on your website and send out an email blast to your list to come to your site and opt-in for the offer. This helps you continue to build your list. A good example of a traditional way to drive traffic to your site is by writing a contributed article with your bio, including your website address. These are a few examples. (Marsha Sanders)
Social media tools can also be used for retaining clients as well as attracting new clients; this fact is supported by the following viewpoints of coaching professionals;
Social media can be used to generate leads; remind the market about programs, offers, and deadlines; get feedback; create buzz and conversation; demonstrate personality, values, and point of view; and attract immediate attention. (Veronika Noize)
All clients I have ever gotten found me through the internet, either by something I wrote, a post I shared or just from them searching. In fact, my longest client found me because in I left my business in my signature when I was posting on a web-forum that didn’t even have anything to do with coaching. Leave your footprint everywhere and people will discover it. (Rachel O’h-Uiginn)
These social media outlets are great for listening and building community, but not for sales pitches. (Marsha Sanders)