This article is a guest post by Melanie Deardorff
Sharing a funny cat video on Facebook. Instagramming a restaurant meal (#cheatday). Creating a Pinterest board to collect ideas for a relative’s birthday party. Using social media to keep in touch with family and friends and plan events is fun!
Using it for business can sometimes be fun, but it often feels like work. Sigh. We do it because we have to … because everywhere we turn, we’re told a business must be on Facebook (“Everyone and their mother is on it!”), Pinterest (“It’s the fastest-growing social network!”), Twitter (“It’s a great place to meet influencers!”) and Google+ (“Google favors G+ in search results, so you have to be there!”). And don’t forget we also need a blog (“The best way for you to get found online!”).
It’s enough to wear a person out, especially when we’re not seeing a direct pay-off – i.e., what we really want (leads and business coming in the door).
Even though I value the power of social media marketing for most any business, I worry that health coaches and wellness pros are placing too much emphasis on it to the detriment of other aspects of marketing and promoting their business. And I know of what I speak, because I find myself spending non-productive time on Facebook when I should be working on my business goals. Or updating content on my website to better explain the social media consulting I offer. Or finishing a post I started more than a week ago (like this one).
Advice on how best to use social media is everywhere. But advice from health coaches and wellness pros is harder to come by. That’s where podcasts and online communities can help!
I wanted to find out what strategies people in our industry are using – what’s working for them, how much time they’re spending and are they seeing results. So I reached out to Carolyn Akens, a Natural Foods Chef, Certified Holistic Health Coach and Raw Food Educator based in Atlanta, GA, to get her thoughts on social media marketing. I learned that Carolyn was on all the major social sites (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+) and that she also had a blog. I asked Carolyn how much time she spent on social media marketing (separate from blogging), and she said about 2-3 hours per week using the scheduling tool, Hootsuite. As for time spent blogging, it’s about two hours each week. “I usually create 5-6 posts at a time,” Carolyn told me, “and I set them up so all I have to do is make a post ‘live’ on a particular day.”
I asked Carolyn for advice for achieving social media marketing success, and here’s what she had to say:
We all need to have an online presence with social media marketing – but often, social media marketing has a presence on us! Without realizing it, it’s easy to spend hours marketing on social media and not managing to get other aspects of your business completed. So my suggestions for both social media and traditional marketing success are to:
- Use Hootsuite, which makes it easy to set up your posts to hit all social media sites.
- Hire a virtual assistant with knowledge in social media to create posts and photos that you approve, which frees up time for you to do other things.
- Make sure you focus on both online and offline marketing. For the latter, create strategic alliances with other like-minded individuals; for example, health coaches can partner with chiropractors, acupuncturists, personal trainers, Pilates instructors, personal chefs, etc.
For my efforts, I can attribute some business leads to social media – especially to LinkedIn. And while social media marketing is an excellent tool for me, I don’t want to forget to utilize the tried-and-true … my physical presence.
I also reached out to Claire O’Meara, Nutritionist, Health & Lifestyle Coach and co-owner of The Lifestyle Studios in Shelley, West Yorkshire in the United Kingdom, for her opinion. Claire says that being patient with social media marketing is key. Here’s more from Claire:
I have two lots of social media updates to do – one for our fitness studio and the second for my health coaching business. I’ve chosen three platforms to focus on – Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Now I certainly update Facebook and Instagram daily, but with Twitter I am very hit and miss. And I really need to link Twitter to my blog posts. (With social media, there’s always something else to do or to try.)
Facebook is good for us on a local level in that a lot of our studio’s clients are on it, so it works to keep them updated. And we’ve connected with new clients on Facebook, too. For us, Instagram is mainly all international people following us and not necessarily clients. But it’s a great platform to showcase what we do in pictures. Twitter is great for networking with other businesses. I use it to let people know who we are and what we offer, and I also use it if I am looking for local suppliers or people to work with.
As for my advice, I would say stick with social media and be consistent. Don’t just ask for likes on your page, you want genuine interaction from people who are interested in what you do. We’ve run the odd paid Facebook post targeting our ideal client and in our postcode area. And then for my health coaching because I’m mainly online, I did targeted Facebook ads by country, interests, gender and age.
Social media just does not happen overnight. You see these fab health coaches that have 20,000-30,000 likes, but they have been at it for years. Just know that YOU are fab, too, and success will come if you’re patient and consistent. Also, research your ideal client, find out which social media platforms they hang out on and at what key times. And then make your posts relevant to your ideal client.
Thanks, Carolyn and Claire, for your great advice and for representing our industry so well online!
Melanie Deardorff is a veteran marketer whose focus has been digital and social media marketing since 2009. Based in the U.S. Midwest but transitioning to more of a digital nomad (work from wherever) lifestyle, Melanie partners with companies of all sizes and industries, including nonprofits. A special passion of hers is helping small companies, including health and wellness-focused businesses, stand out and be authentic online.