So you think you're ready?
Taking the next step up to larger clients in your Social Media Management and Consulting business can be extremely intimidating. Some SM managers and consultants are content with their client base of small- to medium-sized businesses -- and don't get me wrong, being the "local" Social Media Manager will make you a great income.
How do we get to that next level? How do we get that first big client that we can use to grow our businesses and get other big clients? From my experience, the best method of opening the door to the "Big Contracts" is using LinkedIn.
Here are some tips and strategies that I have found worked for me in my Social Media Management & Consultancy business.
1. Expert Status.
How are you perceived online? If I was the marketing director/manager of a huge company what would i discover if i Googled you or searched on LinkedIn? First thing is first. Make sure your LinkedIn Profile is absolutely second to none. LinkedIn is going to be the best tool in your tool box when it come to finding big clients so your profile must be the profile of a Social Media Expert.
Another tip to be seen as the expert is to be active in the correct groups on LinkedIn. For example if you are targeting Retail businesses for a month you must join the retail groups in LinkedIn such as "Retail Industry professionals group" (109,000 members). Once you have joined these groups, your discussion topics and acivity must be that of a Social Media expert in the retail field.
Write simple topics that make it easy for people to comment. The more people comment, the more popular your discussion will become, and the more chance you have of becoming a group "influencer" or even being named as the "Manager's Choice." Looking like an expert now, right?
Make sure you have your website/blog looking slick and functional. Have some content on there to show you know what your talking about. For example, if you are going after retail businesses make sure your most recent blog post is something like for example Social Media Success in retail. You can then share this in the LinkedIn Groups (or even better, use the Wordpress LinkedIn plugin so all your profile visitors see it).
2. Spearfish your Dream Contacts
Don't be afraid of going after the decision makers in a company individually. If you want to do buisness with a big company, and you think you have something to offer them, go for it. Quick Story: I got a great deal with Everton Football Club thanks to being bold on LinkedIn. I had wanted to do business with them not only because they were such a big business and thought it would be worth a lot of money to me, but also because it would open the door to other enormous sports clubs.
I searched for the company on LinkedIn, found the employee that I needed (in this case the marketing controller) and then did three things to get her attention:
1. Sent her and "Inmail" explaining what a fan i was and how keen i was to work with them on their Social Media.
2. Found out what groups she was in from her profile, joined them, commented on her activity in the group and requested a connection with the "follow group member" title.
3. Connected with the other people in her department and asked THEM if they could ask the marketing controller to allow me to see them.
Using these tactics in LinkedIn, I got a message back from the EFC marketing controller complementing me on my boldness for getting in touch and asking me what she could do with her LinkedIn Profile to make it look like mine! I suggested I come in for a chat and show her what to do. That meeting ended in me being asked to train their corporate sales staff on LinkedIn and also being asked to propose a 12-month Social Media Management package.
So, if you want to make more money and take the next step as a Social Media Manager & Consultant, think BIG and use LinkedIn to get to your dream clients!