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June 1, 2009

Stretching the Marketing Budget: Social Networking

Warp speed marketing. It may not be of Star Trek impact but there’s been a shift occurring in consumer behaviour that has been driven by the massive adoption of broadband over the past three years. We’re an “always on” consumer society a fact which has, in turn, dramatically increased the presence and use of social networks.

No coach, therapist or consultant would be unaware of the degree to which social network have completely changed the way people communicate and keep in touch. It would be natural therefore to make them part of their professional lives. Indeed there is a good case for using social networks pro actively as a means of enhancing business. They can be a valuable marketing tool as marketing budgets come under pressure due to weak economic conditions.

This “always on” capacity means that existing and prospective clients are using the internet today as their preferred research and information sourcing tool – and for social networking.

Check your own behaviour: what is the first thing you do when someone tells you about a new show that’s coming to town? Want to go and see Leonard Cohen in concert: Google “Leonard Cohen in New York”? It’s that simple and it’s that obvious. And if you went to the concert and enjoyed it, you’re going to tell your social networks about it.

If you are not moving toward a more transparent relationship with clients, and a more outward marketing focus then you are not changing with the times and will be left behind.

In the personal development industry, more and more professionals today are making at least token efforts, adopting the latest in Social Networks in order to be seen to be a contemporary, relevant and a vital resource.

Stretching the marketing budget

Due to the current economy, there are clear restraints on marketing budgets, so free social marketing is a great alternative. Coaches, therapists, consultants are presented with a strong case to get involved in social sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube.

This should not be a knee-jerk reaction – “I must get into social networking! What do you want to get out of these efforts? Set specific goals and strategize. Is it to increase business by a specific number of clients? Increase visibility? Sell more products or services?

  1. A professional should at least be involved in the largest social networks, belong to forums and have at least one blog. Each of these internet strategies is a way of positioning yourself and your business to the world. For the strident, innovative marketer there is the opportunity to create a video, or indeed multiple videos that are subject matter driven. The social network site should also respond to questions or problems or start a discussion.
  2. You also need a profile page on Facebook. It will tell readers about your business, the people and its product and services. If people join your Facebook group, there should be an expectation that they will spread the word virally through that person’s newsfeed.

Your website is a brochure to the world; this is an expansion of it. The principles are the same: people Google for information or people log on to your website. The Facebook network is another network, more social in origin but, increasingly an important business communications medium.

The time challenge

“It’s not easy being popular,” said one GenY fashion designer referring to the 300-plus names he has listed as ‘friends’ on FaceBook. For a professional; it can be just another item on the ‘to do’ list. You put all those (social network) icons on your email, your website, displaying; advertising the fact that you’re a member and inviting a click or two. But here’s the challenge: readers have a high expectation that sites will be refreshed and updated often and on a regular basis.

Some professionals simply will not have time for this, yet the responsibility is overwhelming, so someone needs to do this. Answer? Delegate or get a VA (virtual assistant) the newest ‘resource’ for busy professionals. This employee needs to be a content producer, presenting current data, information, or video for weekly visitors to the site. There needs to be meaningful content put forward.

And here’s why it matters:

  • MySpace has over 185 million users, split evenly between men and women 14 to 34 years old. Twenty-five percent of them are in the U.S.
  • FaceBook has over 110 million readers, more women than men. The majority of these users–80 percent–are under 30 years old and half of all FaceBookers are located in the U.S., Great Britain and Canada.

LinkedIn users have an average age of 41, and 26 million readers. Men make up 64 percent of the audience. Their average household income is $109,000. Twitter has 3 million readers, two-thirds of whom are men 18 to 34 years old.

Anton Pearce is know online as ‘The Profit Mentor’. If you’re a coach, therapist or personal growth professional, Anton can help you grow your business online, turn your expertise into profitable new income streams and help more people – without working longer hours. All using marketing & social media strategies that protect and enhance your reputation. Visit for more free resources.