As coaches, we’re experts in teaching and encouraging others to live healthy lives. We know how to guide people through incredible transformation. We understand how to help others envision and achieve a state of true thriving. To offer our service to others, however, we must reach them first, let them hear our message. This is where the power of social media can support our mission. What platforms should we use? How should we engage our audiences? How can our posts move people toward our services? In what ways can we balance the “sell” with education and maybe even fun?
Understanding the Sales Funnel
In marketing, the point is to continually move potential or existing customers toward investing in new or additional products and services. Social media supports the sales funnel first by gathering and engaging followers. Once people are connected to your business profile, they’ll potentially see updates, articles and offers you post to your page. The more engagement you get with your page (likes/loves, shares and comments), the more often those active followers will see your postings.
In terms of the sales funnel, however, the real benefits of social media are two-fold. When followers share your posts, you’re increasing your reach without any effort or investment on your part. As a result, you’ll have a potentially expanding contact base.
What you do with that base, however, is what matters. It’s important to move people toward your business—toward engaging with it, toward identifying with it, toward accessing it.
When we use social media to encourage followers to sign up for our newsletter (more on that topic in future articles), we’re moving them closer—further down the funnel. We now have a direct link to them, and we’re no longer at the mercy of social media algorithms, which may bury our posts.
We can certainly promote our services directly in our social media postings, hoping followers will call us. The key of funnel marketing (and the more likely business scenario), however, is to appeal well enough to potential clients that they want to receive more information from your business and offer their contact info, which means you can send them communication, education opportunities, invitations and special offers that will motivate them to make an investment in your services.
For our returning clients, we can use contact opportunities to deepen their investment in health by offering specially-priced session bundles, add-on services, or other products.
Building Your Brand on Social Media
Social media is an excellent place to develop your brand over time. The two key elements to establish within your social media presence are story and value.
Use these platforms to tell your professional story and to share your personal enthusiasm for health. Build trust by talking about the events and influences behind your career choice and lifestyle commitment. Whether you lost significant weight or were moved by the illness or death of a family member, your story can move others more than science ever could. People identify with others’ challenges and will have more faith in your ability to support them through the emotional experience of physical transformation.
Second, prioritize value. A reader/viewer should learn (e.g. knowledge, strategies) or receive (e.g. motivation, understanding) something substantive from your social media posts. Contrary to what some people might tell you, you don’t need a hard selling style. Let value and character sell your brand.
Consider what you want to share. What do you want to convey about your health philosophy and coaching personality to prospective clients? What kinds photos, articles, tips, anecdotes, explanations and (carefully considered) humor would help compose the brand story you want to craft and assist existing/prospective clients the same way you would if they were in the room with you?
Don’t feel limited to text and photos. Video and podcast in many cases offer distinct advantages. Potential clients get a much better sense of your style when they can hear you and see you in action. To market your business, don’t shy away from promoting yourself. You are the face and heart of your brand.
Expanding Your Business with Social Media
Social media can also allow you to network with others in your field, which can open up opportunities for productive and profitable collaboration. Leverage social media to help establish your presence in the local wellness community. Follow other professionals, and invite them to follow you. See which organizations many in the area belong to or what career related events they attend, and check them out. Look for opportunities to convert virtual connections to real-life professional relationships. You might be able to mutually refer clients to one another for specialized services, or you might design joint workshops together.
You might also develop educational and community opportunities associated with your social media presence. Secret Facebook groups, for instance, are often used for paid subscriber memberships that include other benefits like exclusive weekly podcasts that live behind member-only firewalls. You can also target particular audiences with certain social media platforms, such as advertising employee wellness e-courses and coaching on LinkedIn.
Creating a Social Media Marketing Plan
As you build a social media plan, consider what kind of time investment you’re realistically able to make. If you have the money to hire a part-time social media specialist, you’ll have more flexibility. Even then, however, you don’t need to be on every social media platform. It’s much better to build a solid presence with 1-2 accounts, posting at least weekly, than to be on more platforms but post infrequently.
Facebook has the largest number of users (1.5 billion monthly) and allows you to post a variety of content, including text, video, photos, questions and polls. Instagram is a quickly growing platform with approximately 400 million monthly users. The average user age is slightly less than Facebook (18-24) and is designed for visual content (photos and video). LinkedIn users (100 million monthly) are older, and the platform emphasizes professional rather than social networking. Pinterest is another visual platform with 50 million monthly users, mostly women with children.
Select the platforms you’ll invest in by discerning which work best for your target audiences. Because Facebook is the largest and most flexible platform, it will be a good standard choice for most health coaches. That said, don’t feel limited to the giant.
If part of your earning involves working with businesses, for example, you’ll want to have a business page on LinkedIn. Be sure to set up a company page separate from your personal professional page. A company page offers space to highlight products and services and to offer discounts and reviews. You can also take advantage of a rotating banner. Finally, you can customize campaigns to target certain industries, locations and employee titles.
If your niche involves on women with children (e.g. pregnancy and postpartum), you may be able to build a good following on Pinterest, particularly if you can create appealing visual list and photo posts. If your target audience is younger and you’re willing to post regular video and photos, Instagram might be a good option.
Regardless of which platform(s) you use, be sure to post regularly wit has much original content (as opposed to shares) as possible. Offer your followers special updates and deals to maintain their interest in the social connection. Highlight an action to take with at least half your posts (even if you include it at the end of a longer text post)—to sign up for your newsletter, to contact you directly for more information about upcoming programming, etc.
Finally, be sure to take full advantage of the company “about” section and service description of the main page associated with your account. These very well may be the first sections potential clients see who are checking out your business through social media sites.
When it comes to social media, a little regular investment can build a solid network and, over time, a profitable result.
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