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.

Check out coaching classes

 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

Find a Coach 2.0

Posted by Julia Stewart

Mastery Coach Exchange

 Mastery Coach Exchange (MCX) is School of Coaching Mastery's own find-a-coach/social networking site.

MCX is designed to give professional coaches and the people who want to hire them, a chance to interact before money exchanges hands. It's also a great place for people who are thinking about becoming coaches to interact with coaches who are already doing it. In other words, MCX is an interactive coach directory. 

Many of my first clients came to me through coach directories that I participated in. The process was frustrating though, because directories are/were completely passive. All you could do was list yourself and then pray that potential clients would see your listing and call you.

Web 2.0 rewards coaches for doing what they do best: communicating and relating. Trouble is, most folks on Facebook and elsewhere are there to socialize, so you need to market delicately, if at all. Otherwise, your marketing message will be about as well received as that FBI warning on your favorite DVD. Market poorly online and you risk turning off the very people you'd like to attract.

MCX is clearly designed for professional coaches and those who want to hire them and/or learn more about them. Potential clients want to hear your marketing message. In fact, they want to get to know you. What better place than in a safe online community?

Best of all, you can add your profile to MCX for free. However, to be approved for membership, you must add a head shot of yourself, your first and last name, and at least one website or blog  address and/or social networking profile, so we can determine if you are who you say you are.

MCX is undergoing some upgrades right now to make it even more effective. Adding social share app's will help to spread your message across the web. We're also adding a monthly newsletter, to keep you updated on what's happening and you'll receive cool opportunities and discounts on School of Coaching Mastery programs.

Join

 

Join MCX Here. 

Topics: Coaching, Coaches, Free, coach, social networking, Mastery Coach Exchange, clients, web 2.0, FIND A COACH

Do Your Coaching Clients Find You Via Google or Facebook?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Find us on FacebookFor 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.]

Topics: coaching clients, Google, Mastery Coach Exchange, LinkedIn, SEO, web 2.0

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