The process of getting clients for any freelance business is actually quite straight forward, and every virtual assistant should be taking these steps when generating online leads for new client signups.
Identify who your ideal client is
Research them to see what they’re doing and what pain points they might have
Make sure your website, social media and other on-line messages are perfectly aligned to them and their needs
Have testimonial evidence that you’ve helped people like them and that you did a good job
Contact them offering assistance
And here’s how you can use social media to help you do this:
Once you know who you’re targeting you need to ascertain where they hang out. If your ideal client is a Yoga Teacher for instance, they’re much more likely to be on Facebook than LinkedIn, but Consultants and Marketers would use a more professional corporate platform.
Using the search features in Google, LinkedIn and Twitter, search for people with the job title of the person you’re looking for. When you find them, tag/save them to lists and monitor them to see what kind of things they’re doing.
This could be events they’re going to, books they’re writing, clients they’ve just secured and projects they’re working on. Having an idea of what their working life looks like, helps you to see if they might need a hand now or in the future. If they’re manically busy then they may well need you.
How you qualify prospects using the three main social media platforms
Find their profile, add them to a private lists called Prospects then monitor them in a separate column in Tweetdeck or Hootsuite.
Start retweeting some of their more useful posts, commenting on their updates and sharing interesting info with them. You’re looking to become a familiar name as well as monitoring them.
If you’re not used to Twitter then simply create a private account, save the prospect to a private list and just monitor them instead of interacting.
Locate places they might hang out. So if your ideal client is a PR Consultant for example, look for PR conferences and other large events they might be attending then visit the event’s Twitter page and go through their followers. The organisers will also be retweeting anyone mentioning their event so keep an eye on their main feed.
This method is the exactly same.
Find groups your ideal client might be in and go through the members
Follow them and/or monitor them to see if you’re a good fit with one another.
Again, the same as Twitter, but you tag them instead (you can add someone to your contacts without connecting with them). Also take a look at what groups they’re in. If your ideal client is a PR Consultant then they’re likely to be in PR Groups – you then have access to large pool full of your ideal client.
You can also utilise the group and event technique using Google. Go to the PR Conference’s web page and look to see who the guest speakers are because these people are also potential clients. Basically, find out who is speaking to or serving your ideal client and go there to create your prospect list.
Next, you need to make sure you’re aligned to your ideal client.
As soon as you contact a prospect, they’re immediately going to come and check you out. If your social media updates are just full of inspirational quotes they’re not going to hire you.
If your LinkedIn and website doesn’t clearly state what you do and who you do it for, they won’t hire you.
If your website is a dog’s dinner and you don’t have testimonial evidence that you’ve worked with people like them and did a good job… they won’t hire you.
You HAVE to get your online house in order before you contact anyone.
People don’t care about you, they only want to know what’s in it for them, so all your online presence – especially your website – need to be focused on your ideal client, what they need and how you can solve their problems.
Your online presence includes:
Your social media channels
Your email signature
If you know who you’re serving, can see they’re busy, your services would make their lives easier and you have proof you’re good at what you do, then go ahead and contact them offering specific help. It’s highly likely they’ll at least connect with you if not hire you. You then have a warm lead and the opportunity to build an online social relationship with them that will potentially lead to paid work.
This is a basic overview of the process of how to use social media to get clients, I have a guide on my website outlining the entire process step-by-step which comes with screenshots and a customisable email template if you want to see the process in more detail.
This method works so well for me that I don’t use any other way to get clients. In fact I don’t even need to do this anymore because it’s bought in so many clients!
As a Virtual Assistant, or any freelancer, you’re more likely to get well-paid, interesting work by going out and finding your clients rather than accepting random work that comes your way.
How are you using Social Media to bring in clients? I’d love to hear your most successful methods and tricks.