Client Relations through Social Networking

It’s incredible how quickly social networking has become so integrated in our lives, but a majority of people do not use it to its full potential.  Using social networking to help grow your business and allow you to be successful is pretty simple and inexpensive compared to other forms of reaching out and advertising.

There are many benefits to using social networking to reach out to current and potential clients.  Since computers and automated systems have taken over a majority of the customer service process within companies, it’s a major benefit to show that you are still a REAL PERSON working with your customers.  Social networking is a superb way to let your clients know that you are a real person and to interact with them.

Interacting with clients through social networking allows them to feel that they are getting quality one-on-one attention.  Psychologically, people want to feel that their needs are being met and they are valued by others around them.  With social networking, you can build those relationships with your clients and are able to show that they are worth your time and energy.

Many people are on Facebook and Twitter (and other social networking sites), so take advantage of that.  Don’t rebuild the wheel; use the networks that already exist.  Inserting your name and your business into a network that already exists and functions successfully will save you a lot of frustration and energy.

Another major advantage is that you are able to just post a status (or even a tweet, which is 160 characters) to reach out to your entire network at once.  A lot of people even have their social networks connected on their phones, so you will be able to reach them at any moment in time, no matter where they are.  With a website, you will have to have someone who understands HTML coding/Wordpress (or something similar) and it takes a lot of time to update every time there is a change.  It doesn’t take much time at all to write a sentence or two and send it to your entire network at once.

There are so many types of social networking and so many ways to use them.  I have already talked about Facebook and Twitter, which are the more popular forms of social networking.  Another way to incorporate social networking is to make a blog page.  You can write articles relating to your business and/or industry that would be beneficial to your potential and current customers.  It is a great way to show up in search engines and spread your name to more people.

You can also link your different social networking outlets to each other, so people are able to just click on a link and go from your Twitter account to your Facebook to your blog to your website, etc.  A blog is a great way to compliment your website.  Websites tend to stay the same because it takes a lot of time and effort to change them.  It is not cost-effective to be changing it on a daily or weekly basis.  Having a blog gives you the opportunity to give a current update on different things you are doing or share your thoughts on particular issues relating to your business/industry.

Since so many people already use social networking, use it to your advantage!  Take the time to initially set up your different outlets and to update them regularly.  Putting in that little extra effort will help to set you apart and allow you to stand out to potential clients.

Lead Generation: 7 easy and inexpensive tactics for passionate service providers to connect with more prospects

Listed below are 7 easy and inexpensive ways for you to generate leads.

1. Social Media

Social Media is not just a way to stay connected with your clients, but it’s also a great way to attract new clients as well.

Cost: Social Networks have no charge to join, the only “cost” is the time you have to put in to build relationships with your former and potential clients.

2. Network

Networking is such an important part of any business, and even more so to service providers. Network as much as you can with whoever you can – you never know who may know somebody in need of your services! Quick tip: Always carry business cards on you!

Cost: Free – Making friends doesn’t cost a dime, although it’s a good idea to invest in quality business cards that spread your message.

3. SEO ( search engine optimization)

Use SEO for your website or blog to increase traffic,  instead of online advertising.   SEO can be done in a number of inexpensive ways, and if done right can dramatically increase  your blog and website traffic.

Cost: Free to Inexpensive to Expensive, depending on how you go about it. Hiring someone or to improve your SEO can get spendy, so get recommendations from someone who has seen an actual increase in their search engine rankings from hiring someone.

4. Ask for referrals & testimonials

This one is simple – ask clients to refer you to their friends! Word of mouth is a powerful thing. In addition, ask for testimonials or success stories. Use these to talk to potential clients about your results.

Cost: Again, Free!

5.Cold Call

Cold Calling is about as old school as it gets, but hey – it works! It’s an easy way to get the word out about your gifts and talk with potential clients face to face about what their problems are and what kinds of solutions you have to help them.

Not everyone is comfortable with cold calling, which is fine. An alternativefor doing it yourself is hiring students in need of cash to generate leads by cold calling for you. Just pick personable people, provide them with a good script and pay them for every lead they generate.

Cost: Free – $5/per lead. The avg. price for paying someone to do your cold calling for you is about $5/per lead.

6. Contact Forms

Include contact forms on your website and blog. This way potential clients have an    easy way to submit all their information at once. Clients are more likely to fill out a contact form right then in the moment that they are reading about you, than to take down your information and call you later.

Cost: Free – many websites offer contact form applications or plug ins for no cost.

7. Online and offline PR (public relations)

Build hype and interest in your business through a good public relations strategy.Social media campaigns are an extremely popular PR tactic.

Cost: Free – Expensive        If you do it yourself, free.

Going through an established PR firm is effective, but can be very expensive. One way to decrease some of the costs, if you feel you can’t do it yourself, is to contact your local college or university – many of them have public relations students that would love to get their hands on your PR, and they often will offer to do pro bono work for you, just to give their students experience!