It is widely known that professional services firms have been late to integrate effective social media campaigns into their marketing strategies. Evidence from multiple perspectives shows that not only is it beneficial to business development and corporate growth, it may be unavoidable.
The most commonly referenced reason why social media is unavoidable is that generations of people are growing up connected. Your easily located presence on the internet is now expected, and a quality internet presence lends credibility to your business.
Let’s not forget that producing engaging communications is time consuming. Distributing or repurposing content via multiple media outlets encourages more exposure to readers at an exponential level. By sharing relevant content with your established network (i.e. LinkedIn), you increase your chances for additional views with every “share” and/or “like” from your network. Posting your piece in multiple locations ensures that you drive more traffic to your website resulting in more followers and regular visitors– and creating a following is a huge driver of new qualified leads.
Which brings me to business development… Raise your hand if you enjoy tapping people for new business and referrals. Most people prioritize business development as an afterthought to their “day job.” Developing compelling and informative pieces regularly allows clients and potential clients to get to know you better, gives you reasons to reach out to your existing network, and helps qualify the people who you actually end up being in contact with.
Keeping in mind that a hand shake will never entirely be replaced by a “virtual meeting,” social media can help ensure that you are found in the growing sea of what the internet has become. Just like the days of acquiring new business by hanging a shingle outside your office are gone, so are the days of launching a SEO-less virtual brochure website. [*What is SEO?]
SEO ranking is a growing and essential part of website development that really only evolved as a strategy around 2010. So, how do you ensure that your site has strong SEO? As keywords change and website platforms and software put out greater functionality and security improvements, your website needs to be updated. According to one SEO expert, “paying for monthly SEO maintenance is like paying for electricity every month...” Hiring a strategic SEO group to maintain your site is a simple way to make sure that your website, at the very least, ranks at higher levels on an ongoing basis and stays safe from hackers.
So – why social media? Just like you wouldn’t buy a new computer and install software from 1997, you wouldn’t develop a marketing strategy with only direct mailings and newspaper tombstone ads. Social media can not only help you reach the right audience, but used strategically it can raise the chances that the right audience will find you.
*SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Simply put, SEO is a way to improve the chances that you are found when people search for you on the internet. Successful SEO includes content strategy, keyword research and competitor analysis, inbound linking, content publishing tools, building metadata into your website’s architecture, among other things.