To date, LinkedIn boasts 400 million users! A small minority is doing phenomenally. Social media marketing is the best thing that’s ever happened to them. But, let’s face it, most are standing still, watching the traffic go by. They’re unsure how to proceed and a little worried about making a mistake. They’re trying to figure out if they’ll get anything out of it. Or, if it it's just going to waste their precious time. This observation is especially true of a rather large cross section of lawyers, accountants, architects and other professionals.
So, for all the doubters out there, here’s what the climb looks like and how the right approach can make it possible for you (and your team) to move from stuck to motivated and energized to build the practice.
You’re not on the map. Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, twitter, you’ve heard the names and maybe even seen what they look like. But you’ve never created an account. It feels like another world. You're pretty much disinterested.
You’re online presence is faceless. You’ve just started a profile. No photo. No logo. No activity. You have concerns about the competition and client confidentiality. You’re not convinced it’s worth investing your time or money. But you're quietly beginning to worry that you're missing the boat.
You only have a few connections. People reach out to you. You’re still uncertain but you start saying yes, selectively and hesitantly. However... you still have your doubts.
You’re not responsive. You’re on. But you’re not. People are finding you and you’re not getting back to them. You’re confused about how things work. Or you’ve delegated it all, without a plan. You're feeling disorganized and disconnected.
You’ve improved your profile. You tell the world a bit about yourself and maybe even show your face! You're beginning to show interest.
You’ve added connections. You’re starting to find people you know, independently, and it feels less like... well, climbing a giant oak! You begin to reach out. Your curiosity has been piqued.
You’re mostly self-promotional. Your view changes. You start seeing the site as a way to reach real people and begin using it to broadcast news about your practice. Nobody’s responding. Your curiosity is waning. You're getting frustrated.
You just 'like' stuff. You start noticing what others post and, mostly, do nothing more than throw out the occasional 'like'. Although you have started reading what others post. You don't take any risks and don't get noticed as a result. For the moment, you're a wallflower.
You are proactive. You start joining groups and finding people with common interests and synergies with your practice. It propels you into action. Your experience is starting to be inviting.
Your voice changes. Instead of posting promotional content, you start to use your real voice to share thoughts, ideas and opinions, including some controversial, funny or provocative commentary. Your market (and possibly even a few social media influencers) responds. You feel at ease.
You become consistent. You start looking forward to and, even, craving interaction. You check for notifications on all devices. You’re motivated and committed.
You become strategic. You post what readers are seeking and you respond to their posts. Your network is expanding. Your new connections are aligned with your practice and your goals. You're in the zone.
You go offline. Your online activity transforms into real offline networking. The lines between online and off begin to blur. You’re chomping at the bit to do more because you’ve tasted success. You're connected.
You are generating results. Your online activity supports your practice development goals. Traffic is up. Readership is up. Connections are up. But most importantly, you’re getting regular inquiries and referrals, all from your desired growth market. Your confidence goes deep. It's based being able to count on predictable results.
Social media marketing isn’t sales. It’s networking, with a plan. That’s not a new, untested concept. The better you get at it, the more your circle expands. If you’re doing it strategically (with clarity about who you want to meet and why), it can’t help but be good for your practice.
You’d have to sabotage it, for it not to be.
That said, despite the incredibly high numbers on LinkedIn and other social media sites, most people just get stuck at the wallflower or self-promotional stage. They never see the real potential.
So, ask yourself, do you have any doubts about the effectiveness of business events, when well attended by your market or referral market? If not, then why would you doubt social media marketing? It’s the very same thing.
It’s just online (a boon to introverts everywhere... but that's another article!).
And when it’s really working it doesn't stay online!