School of Coaching Mastery

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How to Kill Your Coaching Business with Social Media

Posted by Julia Stewart

Find us on FacebookI love social media for my coaching business.

 

I've been attracting coaching clients and students with online social tools for the past five years. Some of my favorite clients, ever, have come from web 2.0. Many of my Coach 100 students have had extraordinary success building their businesses with online tools. School of Coaching Mastery has had a strong social presence since its launch in 2007. Heck, we even have our own social networking site!

So I'm not the coach you'd expect to say that social media could kill your business. And no, I don't mean that your Facebook addiction might keep you from working on your business as you should (although it could). And I don't mean that you should be out shaking hands at live networking events instead of using online social networking (although some coaches really should be networking live instead of online).

I mean that the actual tools of social networking, if used poorly, can cost you coaching clients. And given how time consuming a good marketing plan can be to implement, tools that actually work against you can indeed kill your business.

What kinds of social networking tools could hurt a coaching business? Anything (and I mean anything) that annoys people. And let's face it, that covers a lot of territory.

Most new (and some veteran) business and life coaches have poor marketing and sales skills to begin with, so opportunities to do it poorly are abundant. But if you screw up your elevator speech at a live networking event, you only risk annoying a few people (and if you can laugh at yourself, you'll probably make a few friends, instead). But tools that allow you to contact everybody in your network in ways or at times that they don't want, can help you annoy thousands of people with one innocent little click. Ouch!

Repeat that innocent action again and again and your coaching business will be dead in the water before you know it.

Why is annoying people such a big deal when it comes to marketing your coaching business? Well, remember that cliche: 'Long after people have forgotten what you said, they'll remember how you made them feel'? You don't want to be remembered as the annoying coach.

Question: If you were looking to hire a business or life coach and you had narrowed it down to two coaches who both seemed to meet your criteria perfectly, would you hire the one who annoyed you are the one who didn't?

Sales decisions come down to subtleties. Sometimes a client doesn't even know why they chose to hire one coach over another. You don't have to annoy someone very much to tip the scales away from you.

What do you need to avoid in order to not kill your business with social networking tools? 

Well here are a few items that will help you to not annoy me. But get feedback from your own networks to find out what really bugs them.

1. Social SPAM. Any social app that's designed to spread itself automatically at the expense of annoying your network is social SPAM. The inspiration for this post is an innocuous little tool called, Boxbe, that's spreading around School of Coaching Mastery. Everytime someone I know joins it, I automatically get an invitation to join, too. I don't want to join. And I don't want to get email invitations to it several times per day. It's social SPAM and it's annoying. Plaxo is also annoying. Some poorly designed Twitter apps do this sort of thing. (And don't get me started on SpamArrest. I consider SpamArrest SPAM.)

2. Social Temptation. How often do you get invitations from Facebook or any social networking site to invite or notify everyone in your Outlook,Yahoo, Google, or other address book? How often do you do it? In my book, you get to do it once. One time. Resist the temptation to tell everybody you know about something unless they followed you or joined your group or fan page. Otherwise social temptation becomes social SPAM.

3. Social Scams.  @UnMarketing just posted a link on Twitter to this blog post about scam apps on Facebook. It's easy to get tricked by these because they look like so many other apps on Facebook. Maybe you should avoid temptation and not allow every app out there to connect to your account. (While I was researching this, I came accross Scott Stratten's - A.K.A. UnMarketing - blog post on how to lose friends and tick people off on Facebook.)

4. Social Abbrev. There's nothing wrong with LOL, WTF, Ouch! and KEWL unless you use them constantly. Remember you annoying uncle, cousin, spouse who said the same things over and over until you wanted to stuff mashed potatoes in your ears? Don't be that coach.

5. Social Games. As well as gifts, etc., ad nauseum. You can have fun at work but please stay focused so the rest of us can. Sorority Life, Mafia Games, Farmville, etc., I tolerate these from my relatives (barely), but not from you (unless you find a way to combine all three, which might be interesting). Don't you feel silly posting your latest livestock aquisition on Facebook? I don't think this would persuade even Old MacDonald to hire you to be his coach.

6. Social Pics and Tags. Not all of them. Most are great. You probably don't need me to tell you not to post the pics of you throwing up at that college binge party (the real sorority life). If not, stop reading this post and get thee to a 12-step program, fast. But consider your headshot. If you coach kids, then a shot of you with your kids is appropriate, but if you coach Fortune 100 execs, maybe not. And if somebody else posts or tags you in an unflattering shot, quietly request that they take it down. If you haven't annoyed them, they probably will. If not, be prepared for radical transparency. You have no more secrets.

7. Social Compulsion. Please don't fill people's Twitter streams with constant inane tweets. They will unfollow you. Direct messages are even worse. And you're not kidding anybody by tweeting nothing but Twitter names in the hope of getting noticed. Don't tweet or post unless you have something to say and definitely don't tweet constantly.

Well that's it for now. I could annoy you with a bunch of links to friend/join/follow us, like the 'Find us on Facebook' link above, but probably more valuable to you will be for you to get some training on how to attract clients effectively, which we do in our Coach 100 classes. They start again in February and they teach what actually works.

WARNING: You'll have less time for social networking when your coaching practice is full.

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 Check out Coach 100 classes here.

Topics: business coach, Coaching, School of Coaching Mastery, coaching clients, Facebook, Life Coaches, twitter, social networking, marketing, web 2.0

Dear Coach: Are You an Online Social Butterfly?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Online Social ButterflyRemember the proverb about the butterfly that flapped its wings and caused a hurricane halfway around the world?

It's been attributed to many sources (An old Chinese proverb, maybe?), but this story often gets quoted as a simple way to explain Systems Theory.

In short, systems theory tells us that large systems (like planet Earth) appear chaotic to the human eye, but actually are mathematically perfect. They are just so complex, that we can't always see the patterns that are at play within them. Everything works together and because it all works together, sometimes tiny actions can catalyze exponential outcomes, like a butterfly's wings causing a hurricane thousands of miles a way.

Of course, a butterly can't actually cause a hurricane, all by itself. There's a huge differential in the amount of energy required, but tiny actions at the right time and place can be leveraged to create incredible outcomes. That's one of the great lessons of systems theory and every great coach has seen it happen again and again.

Computers have made it possible for humans to comprehend complex systems and how mysterious events actually occur. Before computers, systems theory was pretty much just a theory. It was difficult to measure the evidence.

So it is, that especially online, where a seemingly infinite amount of data can be tracked and measured, tiny actions can have been shown to create incredible outcomes, and things as silly as a social networks, like Twitter or Facebook, can be used to fight runaway forest fires or influence the outcome of a Presidential election.

 The Online Social Butterfly has been born and she is powerful, exponentially powerful.

Remember Susan Boyle, of Britain's Got Talent fame, and how she rocketed to stardom for hundreds of millions of YouTube visitors? Even compared to television, the internet is extraordinarily influential. Tiny events can be leveraged to incredible outcomes.

Coaches are in the business of leveraging 'flutterby' activities (a.k.a. baby steps) toward great successes, beautiful lives and even huge fortunes for our clients. And the business of coaching often turns on the tiniest of butterfly activities, like posting a comment on a blog, or tweeting about an event.

Add to that the permanent quality of the internet, which creates a public record of you and your activities for a lifetime and you can see how those activities create your identity, brand and reputation in ways that nothing else can. And it just keeps creating more and more momentum for you.

Your online 'reach' or following makes a difference, of course. But knowing what, where and when to leverage is even more influential. That's what distinguishes true Online Social Butterflies from everyone else. OSB Connector Badge

Are you a true Online Social Butterfly? Or would you like to become one? At School  of Coaching Mastery, we have an actual job description for Online Social Butterflies. Currently, it is a volunteer position for coaches who want to learn how to leverage their actions and monitor their effects, so that they create an impact of tsunami proportions.

AsteriskIf you are interested, go here to apply for the Online Social Butterfly position and learn how to create small actions that change everything.

 

 

Topics: Coaching, blog, School of Coaching Mastery, Coaches, Facebook, coach, twitter, play

Coaching Blogs: Why You Need to Be Both Reading and Writing Them

Posted by Julia Stewart

Coaching BlogThe internet is a wonderful tool for helping coaches and clients connect.

And although professional coaches spend part of every work day online, most aren't using the net efficiently.

Gone are the days when having an online brochure (a.k.a. website) was enough. The internet is built for interconnectivity and if you're using it for one-way communication only, you're misusing it. 

Internet = Interactive = interconnectivity = Intercommunication

Having a coaching blog can increase your online attractiveness exponentially, but most coaches blunder into the blogosphere with no plan or strategy and frequently, no clue! If you're a coach who has a blog, but isn't sure how it can attract clients to you, here is a major step that you may have missed:

Success in  the blogosphere begins with other people's blogs, not your own. 

broadcast advertisingIf you were born before the year 2000, then you grew up in an age where business success was built on advertising and promotion that was one-way. To get the word out, you broadcast your message by interrupting people who were pretty much your captive audience. Think: TV commercials and subway ads. 

Rarely is that the case, anymore. Today, people record TV and fast forward through the ads and they read blog posts on their iPhones, while taking mass transit.

If you're still trying to broadcast your message, nobody is listening.

Maybe it's just me, but I think business and life coaches break this rule almost more than anyone else on the net. Are you one of those coaches? If you are using your blog or Twitter or Facebook or Mastery Coach Exchange as a broadcast-only tool, you're missing both the point and the value.

Every good blogging strategy starts with reading a lot of blogs and subscribing to the ones that really speak to you. This not only keeps you well informed, it gives you a change to absorb what really works in blogging.

You may want to comment on some posts. This is your first step toward "intercommunication".

Once you're a bono fide member of the blogosphere, you're ready to start blogging and attracting, yourself. We teach this topic in far more depth in the new Coach 100 Business Success Program at SCM, but if you're not ready to jump right into coaching success, then at least take a baby step toward it by subscribing to this blog.

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Topics: blogs, blogging, blogosphere, coaching blog, Facebook, twitter, Attraction Principles, clients, internet

How To Get Me To Follow You on Twitter

Posted by Julia Stewart

 

Twitter LogoEveryone's well, you know, all a twitter about Twitter these days.
 
Definitely it's the hottest social media for 2008. Why? Because it's quick and easy to participate in this massive online cocktail party, especially if you like accessing social media via you smart phone. Twitter works with SMS (text) in a way that email and Facebook just don't. It's a very very cool way to connect with your peeps, er Tweeps!
 
Sorry, Twitter engenders lots of word play!
 
And it's public, so the conversations have Rapid Ripple Effects that can boost your popularity and your business.
 
Want to join the mix? The name of the game with Twitter is to follow others and have them follow you. And it works a lot like it would at a party, but some folks have a hard time getting that, so here are a few tips IMHO.
 
I. How to Get My Follow
 
1. Be a friend of a friend of mine
2. Be somebody famous who I'm interested in
3. Say something interesting about something I'm curious about
4. Be an interesting blogger who I want more connection with
5. Be a coach (I follow lots of coaches)
 
Getting a lot of follows is great, but it takes much more to keep those follows and if there are winners and losers with Twitter, then the winners are those who not only attract follows, but keep them.
 
There are a lot of Twitterers that I scan, only a few that I really pay attention to - and fewer still that I follow on my iPhone with "device updates". Those are the ones that make it onto the coveted SMS platform that makes Twitter so valuable.
 
II. How to Keep My Follow
 
1. Post daily, but not constantly,
2. Have something to say ("Woo Hoo" doesn't count)
3. Share a great resource (Use tinyurl or similar service to shorten the URL)
4. Retweet (RT) great stuff that somebody you follow has posted (Your followers may not have seen it)
5. Quote something interesting from the day's news (Or just share a great quote)
6. Be funny
7. Don't fill my homepage with "Thanks for the follow" messages to other people
8. Avoid long text conversations on Twitter (The rest of us aren't really that interested)
9. Help me solve a problem
10. Direct me to a great site
 
Well that's 10. Probably there are more. You'll discover them once you get going on Twitter, yourself. The easiest way to start is to have someone on Twitter invite you to follow them, so here's my invitation:
 
Go to http://twitter.com/MasteryCoach and click on "Follow". Fill out your profile and follow some of my friends. Pretty soon, folks will follow you, too and you'll be part of the party.
 
III. How to send "Device Updates" to my iPhone
 
1. Become my Best Friend Tweep (BFT)
 
There you have it!
 
Copyright, Julia Stewart, 2008
All rights reserved.

Topics: Coaches, Facebook, iPhone, How to, twitter

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