This is a guest post from Archie Ward, a business consultant and social media strategist. Archie splits his time each year between Asia and Australia. While he is hard at work helping other people make their businesses successful, he hopes to launch his own by year end.
Consultants rely on image as much as they do with any other form of credibility, and one of the avenues technology has provided for consultants to easily differentiate themselves from others in their field is through the use of social media.
There are several different platforms that consultants can use to develop their image and stand out from the competition, and utilising social media is a great first step. Self promotion is something that the most successful consultants all do.
Improving personal branding through social media is an obvious first step for anyone looking to be a consultant. A consultant’s brand name is perhaps their most valuable asset, and building a blog with lots of great free content is a smart and scalable way to start building that brand.
Blogs are nothing new, but are one of the best ways for social media and personal branding to coexist.
If a consultant has a great online platform through a blog, then their work can be show cased to the world and potential customers will be able to view their knowledge of the industry as well as see the consultant’s work over time. Whenever a potential customer Googles the consultant’s name, it helps to have a well maintained website show up with all of the consultant’s past work.
Once you are ranking for your own name within Google, then you know that you can attract repeat visits from people you have met briefly at conferences or other functions. People tend to lose business cards, but if you make a real impression on someone, they will Google you, and you do want them to be able to find you with one click.
Another great social media resource that consultants must use to brand themselves is LinkedIn.
Known as the largest network for professionals available today, LinkedIn has a lot of features that allow a person to show case their work in electronic form.
There are areas on a LinkedIn profile where a consultant can upload work from past projects. In addition, if a client is satisfied with the work completed by a consultant then there is an area where they can leave a recommendation. Having the ability to display real reviews from satisfied customers is a great way to improve the credibility and brand recognition of a consultant. In addition, there are also options to display different skills through the LinkedIn profile and have connections and former clients endorse for those skills. This is important because if a consultant is in the health care field, for example, and a potential client sees recommendations and endorsed skills in that area, then that will go a long way towards landing that client.
It all comes back to having a blog. Once you make that new post go live, you want to post it to LinkedIn, and make sure it’s posted to the types of groups that are able to find it useful. If you can have it read by just one influential person, and they feel compelled to share it, your social reach could explode over night.
Investing Time and Money
One thing that many consultants may notice at the beginning of their journey of using social media to brand themselves is that a significant amount of time and money are needed in order to get started. A social media strategy should be a well thought out plan that allows for the time and money investment required.
There are many different ways in which a consultant could wisely spend money and time on developing their social media strategy and building their platform. This might include taking classes on how to build a web site, on SEO techniques, understanding your Klout score, determining if it’s a worthwhile investment to get into Facebook advertising or re-marketing. Building an email list can become essential at one point, once you have a core group of followers.