Solopreneurs sometimes wish that they didn’t have to do marketing, and people would just discover them and inquire about their services.
For a lucky few, that non-strategy might work.
For the rest of us? We have to learn how to do good marketing…
Yet, maybe you’ve tried posting about your services on social media, and got discouraged about receiving little engagement. Maybe you get far fewer likes and comments about your business, compared to your other social media posts, such as when you post a cute pet photo!
That’s actually the common experience for everyone – myself included. Different categories of posts naturally have different engagement levels. It’s not fair to compare how many likes you get by posting a selfie, for example, versus when trying to sell your service. It’s important to compare similar posts to each other.
Friends, not yet clients
Your friends and colleagues relate to your personal updates more easily than to your business postings. They respond more when you post about a recent life experience, or when you share an interesting article. Yet, when you post about your services or next workshop, they’re mostly silent.
Why? Because most of them are not your ideal clients. Most of them don’t have the problems that your service solves. Or even if they do, they don’t see you as the expert in that issue yet. This is why I always encourage you to post content, generously, to share your expertise… not just to sell.
Still, it’s a good idea to post about your product/service occasionally. Each time, a few friends will remember it, and might refer your offer to someone else.
80/20 Rule for Content/Offers
Iin 80% of your posts, don't sell. Aim to educate, inspire, uplift, only connect. Don’t offer any “calls to action”. Let it be simply authentic content, shared from your generous heart.
Yet in 20% of your posts, do sell or talk about your services, with the realistic expectation that it’s not going to get as much engagement as your other content, but it’s still important to continue reminding your audience about your offerings.
You can, of course, tweak the ratio depending on how warm your audience is.
The warmer your audience, the more they’re open to having you sell things.
The cooler an audience, the more they need you to first educate, inspire, uplift, connect… through your content.
How not to feel salesy when posting about your business?
When you sound salesy when posting about your services on social media, you've forgotten that you're talking to your friends. (Authentic marketing is growing new friendships at scale.)
How would you talk to your friends honestly… even if excitedly?
Here’s a suggested template (not a word-for-word script) –
1. I'm happy to announce my new service/program/product, because I have a passion for this (and a compassion for the type of person this helps) and/or I’ve been working on this for a long time…
2. I’d love your help to share my offer, if it feels appropriate for you to do so.
3. Alternatively, I’d love some honest feedback about how to improve or clarify this descriptio so that it’s easier for you to share this forward, if you can think of others who could benefit from this.
When posting about your product/service to social media or your newsletter, don't sound like a commercial.
Write as if to a friend who will be forwarding to their friends. Write without coercion.
Sincere excitement doesn't ever have to sound like hype.
Also, just because selfie photos get more engagement on social media doesn't mean you should use selfies when promoting your services. In fact, it can feel like a bait and switch.
Again, be transparent about your promotions. “Sell” like you would to a friend: just announce it honestly (or remind them gently) with the expectation that they might know someone who could benefit from your services.
Consistent content creates credibility
The more you have posted content on a particular topic, the more your audience will be open to seeing your offer (service or product) about it.
Consistently posting content is the most natural way to gain referrals.
Don't expect to just post to social media and start getting clients. Why would people hire you if they don't trust your expertise and caring yet? Apply the 80/20 ratio of content versus offers to your social media presence.
1. Grow a loyal audience by being consistently generous on social media. It grows you personally & professionally, and this earns you a true fan base that’s built on your integrity and authentic sharing.
2. Grow a client base by occasionally (and consistently) posting about your services too, in the ways that feel authentic to you.
Keep doing these two things and you’ll naturally grow your authentic business.
George Kao is a Marketing Coach for small business owners, especially solopreneurs such as Coaches and Mentors. He focuses on ethical & effective ways to grow one's platform and build true livelihood.
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