For several years now, anyone who knows anything about doing business online has known that you need good Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in order for your website to get found.
This is changing. Online networking sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook have become an excellent source of new traffic for any web site and especially for coaching websites. In fact, some internet marketing gurus have predicted that Facebook or YouTube could even overtake Google as the world's favorite search engine. (Wow!)
How can this be? Well sheer popularity for one thing. Facebook claims over 200,000,000 members (That's approximately equal to two thirds the population of the US and Facebook is grow a lot faster America!)
[2013 Update: Facebook now has over one billion members, approxiately 1/6 the total human population of Planet Earth.]
Popularity can be measured in more ways than just members. Last I heard, YouTube video viewings of Susan Boyle, the Britain's Got Talent sensation, are over 100,000,000. Imagine one tenth that kind of traffic to your coaching site!
But numbers aren't the whole story. Relationships are the real reason that social sites are a perfect fit for coaches. Any smart marketing guru will tell you that real value or web 2.0 means you can now listen to your potential clients instead of just shouting at them.
In other words, you can have conversations and ask questions before someone even thinks about wanting a coach. Do you know anyone who is good at asking questions and listening?
This is not to say that SEO isn't important anymore. It's simply slipped from the "end all and be all" of internet marketing to simply "extremely important".
Here's one more important online trend in social networking. Social "micro-sites" are picking up where the gargantuan sites leave off. Micro-sites are perfect for "niche networking" and building a small fan base. That's where most coaches will find their ideal clients.
So in 2008, School of Coaching Mastery added Mastery Coach Exchange to its collections of websites. MCX, as we call it, is a social networking "micro-site" where coaching clients can find business and life coaches and communicate with them before they request a complimentary session. It's designed to help you learn the ropes, when it comes to social networking and building relationships with people who may become your clients.
MCX is not just for SCM students. If you're a professional coach or thinking about becoming one, you can join for free.
[May 3, 2013: In the end, Facebook won out. SCM took down its MCX site and now has a Facebook Page, instead. Join us on Facebook for inspiration, freebies and discounts on coach training.]