This article is part of the Side Hustle Stories.
Social media, social media, social media.
The world has been buzzing about social media for a few years now.
As Facebook, Twitter, and company have become more widely accepted this buzz has turned into a lot of action … and wherever there is a lot of action, there is always a business opportunity.
Natalie Sisson has capitalized on that business opportunity by using her social media consulting services to travel the world as an entrepreneur.
In this article, you’ll find some brilliant tips from Natalie on how to build a network that generates referrals (even if you don’t get paying clients) as well as how to set up your own social media consulting services.
Take it away, Natalie.
What she does
I’m a Suitcase Entrepreneur. Simply put that means I travel the world, living out of my suitcase and running my business.
My mission is to show entrepreneurs creative ways to run their business from anywhere using online tools, social media and outsourcing.
Thanks to my love of social media and success in applying it to my own business, I’ve managed to build a revenue stream as a social media consultant as well.
I see social media as the most cost effective marketing and sales department yet and I couldn’t figure out why so many businesses were slow to use it.
I also have 10 years experience in brand and product management, marketing and communications so I love being the ideas person who comes up with the strategic campaigns for my clients.
What she gets paid
I charge $75 per half hour as I want to make it affordable for those that want rapid fire results on a budget. I also sell it in a package, so three 1–on–1 sessions for $195.
The process of securing clients
I enjoy the 1–on–1 training with clients, via Skype or in person, the most.
In terms of the 1–on–1 coaching, I am lucky in that I have established credibility and social proof as a result of using social media tools effectively myself — especially my blog.
Going from stranger to client to referral
The relationships I have made through networking with readers and previous clients have proved invaluable for gaining referrals. I usually follow a five step process throughout the relationship.
1. When I meet people for the first time I gauge what needs they have and then talk about my social media consulting in a way that relates to solving their specific problem. I also make sure to get their business card.
2. I usually follow up with a call or Skype chat and offer a free consultation for around 20 to 40 minutes that gives them several ideas to take away. I also point them to my free ebook, The Entrepreneur’s Social Media Workout.
3. I aim to gain their trust and showcase my knowledge by providing a lot of value up front. Of course, they can choose to simply use that consult and not purchase the coaching. When this happens, I ask them if they would consider referring me to three other people and they are usually happy to do so. With this setup, even if it was a free session, that time could turn into a paying client from a referral.
4. If they are interested in coaching, I usually sell them on the benefits and the results they can achieve. I am very upfront that social media results can take a long time, and while there are many metrics to track, much of it is intangible at first. This warning usually gets them to upgrade to three sessions since they know we can get a lot more done over several weeks with some check-ins.
I usually offer 30 minute sessions as I find any more than that and my clients receive information overload with all the ideas and tactics I give them to start using.
5. Following the initial coaching session I will follow up with an email with action points that sum up what we discussed. If they are finished after that one session, then I will also ask for a testimonial.
Getting detailed testimonials
I try to be specific when I ask for testimonials.
I usually tack the information onto the end of an email by saying this:
Also, I would love the opportunity to get a testimonial from you based on the work we’ve done together if you’re open to it.
It gives me an opportunity to also promote you on my blog and link back to your business.
What I’d like most is a short paragraph that answers these questions:
- Why you chose me as your social media coach
- What specific need you were wanting solved
- What you got out of our session, why it helped
- What outcomes have you achieved as a direct result
How to get started as a social media consultant
I see so many social media “gurus” out there who do not practice what they preach or even have a social media following themselves. That to me straight away says they have no idea in what they’re doing.
If you do have a solid knowledge of social media, then I would recommend running a one hour webinar where you can showcase your knowledge for free.
Make the headline of the event compelling enough that people register to attend and then wow them with what you have to say, share your experiences and teach them. At the end of that hour you can pitch your services. Even if you get only 20 people on a call and a have 5% conversion rate then you have one person paying for your services.
If you treat that first client like gold, then they will shout your praises, give you a testimonial and recommend you to other clients. One step at a time is all I say.
I ran my first ever webinar using GoToMeeting when I launched my online bootcamp and received fantastic feedback. From that one webinar I received at least five clients for the bootcamp, which didn’t even start until weeks later.
Ready to learn more?
Thanks for all the tips, Natalie!
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