Social media is the beating heart of our interconnected global community. Nearly 3 billion people worldwide are using at least one social platform, and most of us are active across several. This is the new Main Street for online entrepreneurs, and coaches who have the edge know how to attract prospective clients to their virtual storefronts.
If you want to build a successful life coaching business, you need street smarts. But with ever-changing algorithms and new platforms coming out all the time, how do you leg up in today’s market and get noticed?
We’ve taken a look at what some of JRNI’s most successful coaches are doing, and found some common themes. You may be surprised by how simple this can be. It all comes down to creating authentic relationships. Here’s how:
Gab with Your Audience
We all know there’s a huge difference between someone who is talking TO you and when they’re talking AT you. Nevertheless, this is the #1 rookie mistake many of us make when we’re starting out. Producing great content is unlikely to build a following if there’s no engagement. In this common scenario, you're creating posts and sharing them, maybe even studying the analytics to ensure you’re hitting at peak hours. So far, so good. But if you're not providing an opening for conversation, you’re just talking at people.
Think about what comes across your own feed. What’s most likely to make you pause? And of content you stop to look at, what typically draws you in enough to actually make a comment? Here's a real world example: Don’t stop at sharing that you recently got a new credential or certification. Instead, offer something you learned from the training that relates to what your audience cares about, and follow it with a provocative question. Craft posts that intrigue, stimulate, and draw people in.
Engage, respond, communicate.
Comments, likes, and shares drive additional participation, increase your ratings, and ensure your material is seen by a wider audience. It also signals to your followers that you’re interested in what they think and how they feel, which is the first step to building a REAL relationship. Remember: rapport is what moves people from passively following your content, to booking a session.
Mug for the Camera
We get it. Many of us are camera shy. However, there's no denying that YouTube videos and social media Live sessions remain some of the most popular content for coaches. Why? It captures attention. If you produce snappy, interesting videos people are likely to stay and watch until the end. There are certain things that are just easier to share in a video than with a still image or text. Think about health coaches demonstrating how to prepare a quick and healthy recipe, or a self-love coach sharing a guided visualization technique.
But what if you just can’t stomach being in front of the camera?
This is where creativity comes in. There’s video editing software that allows you to do multiple takes and edit your video so you don’t need to “go live”. You can splice in animation, pictures, and text. You can film on a walk, or outside where your own face doesn’t need to be front and center the entire time. Think outside the box to develop video content that’s interesting, insightful, and effective at improving audience engagement. The easiest way is to start with a sidekick. Who doesn’t love a short film that introduces your plant menagerie or office dog?
Stop With the Selling Already
OK. We don’t literally mean that you should never sell. What we are suggesting is to monitor the frequency. What’s your current ratio of content that SERVES versus content that SELLS?
When it comes to social media, growing your audience is the primary goal. It all comes down to the numbers. Only a certain percentage of your followers will convert to paying clients. If that percentage is a generous 5%... well, you do the math. The name of the game is relevancy. You want to put out high quality content that actually serves people.
Prospective clients expect value before they choose to pay to work with a coach one on one. So go ahead, give away some of your good stuff. Show your followers the person behind the brand. When you shift the focus from promoting your offers to sharing your services, your audience grows.
Get Comfortable with Influencers
Endorsements matter. When your content is reposted by people with larger followings, your own reach expands. Developing rapport with coaches and industry leaders that you admire and whose niches align with yours can pay big dividends over time.
Consider using your social platforms to connect with influencers you think might value your voice and perspective. Begin by following them, and commenting on their posts. Some may follow you back in return. Make it natural and organic. If you are putting out smart, engaging content that really captures something important, you could just get picked up and shared. Influencers have a content machine to feed too, and often repost material that they themselves found valuable. Let that “someone” be you!
Make “Strategic” Your New Middle Name
One of the most effective ways to make the most of social media is to map out your content in advance. Having a strategic marketing plan is essential, but it’s also a step that is overlooked by many aspiring coaches.
What does this mean in practice? It means having themes laid out days, weeks, and sometimes months in advance. It requires knowing the pain points of your audience, and how you want to address those. It also entails writing in bulk, editing photos in bundles, and sitting at your screen for long hours to schedule and curate your posts.
This may sound tedious, but it will save you a lot of time in the long run. Having core messaging worked in advance also spares you from the constant pressure of having to dream up new things to talk about on the fly. This in turn gives you more time to spend on engagement once your scheduled posts hit the feed.
Be A Good Neighbor
We’ve already talked about the importance of connecting with your followers, and building relationships through stimulating a back and forth conversation in the comments. Take it a step farther now, and reach out by DM when someone has been engaging with your content for a while. Let them know you’ve noticed their participation in your community. Ask them a question about themselves, draw them in deeper so you can learn more about this person in particular, and your audience more broadly.
Don’t just stay within the borders of your own business - venture out into the world yourself! Follow the pages of others in your field. Join professional networking groups and communities. Connect with like-minded people. Networking is engagement. If you are consistent with it, you’re developing a presence in the field, and improving the visibility of your own business. As you offer help to others, ask good questions, and bring value to the groups you are participating in… don’t be surprised when you pick up new followers and clients!
Let Your Freak Flag Fly
In many businesses, there’s honest debate around whether it’s appropriate to bridge the personal and professional. Can showing diverse aspects of who you are be bad for business? Maybe in some industries, but when it comes to coaching people are selecting a person, not a product. That means your prospective clients want to know the real you. They need to be able to relate to you. Most of all, they want to see a bit of their own story reflected in yours. To know that you’ve been where they are and understand the challenges they are facing.
This last bit requires vulnerability. It also demands good judgement. You need to be clear about when a “personal share” will best serve the needs and interests of your audience. Know the difference between transparency and TMI in coaching. Is your business page the place to let it all hang out? That’s a Hard No! But it is a platform to show who you authentically are. It's where you can offer bits of your own backstory, hobbies, values, and beliefs. You can't crank out generic content and expect much of a following in return. Friends and family might give it some love, but the circle is unlikely to grow much wider. If you are hilarious in real life, but reserved and professional on your coaching page… that’s discordant. To really draw in an audience, you’ll need to tap into what makes you distinct, and then show that face to your followers.