I’m asked a lot of similar questions from virtual assistants about getting clients using social media, whether they’re new or they’ve been at this for a while. It usually goes something like this:
How do I find clients online?
How do I find clients if I have a small marketing budget?
How do I find more of my ideal clients?
How do I find time to market to clients while I’m still working full time?
How do I make connections with people online if I don’t know them at all?
How do I get potential clients to notice me?
What I’m about to tell you in this article answers every single one of those questions.
It’s one of the strategies that I’ve used to successfully build and grow my VA business. (I’ve used it to grow my coaching business, too.)
This strategy is relationship marketing.
It’s about finding and meeting your potential clients where they’re at online, developing a relationship with them and then offering a solution to their problems.
This method works, but it takes time. It takes consistency and you need to be genuine. You are building the know, like and trust factor.
You also don’t need a big marketing budget for this strategy, since you’re connecting with potential clients on free social media platforms.
But if you take consistent action on this plan, you will develop relationships. And those relationships could turn into clients.
Before you start this strategy:
Before you start using social media to develop relationships, you need to have some basic foundational pieces of your business covered.
You need to know what exactly you have to offer (your services) and who you serve (your market).
If you still need to figure out your services, click here.
If you still need to figure out your market, click here.
(If you’ve looked at those resources and you need a bit more help on the foundational pieces, then this is for you.)
Once you’ve finished those pieces, you can move on to the strategy. For our relationship marketing strategy, I like to use the acronym RISR.
What does that stand for?
Research– To find your target market online
Interact and Share- Interact with them, share their posts and share your own
Reach out– Reach out and connect with potential clients via message, and ultimately a phone call
Let’s get into the details of each piece.
You need to do some research and find out where your market hangs out online, and be present there.
When it comes to social media, you don’t need to be everywhere.
Use some keywords to search and see if your audience is hanging out on that platform.
Choose platforms that you enjoy using.
Start with two to reduce overwhelm.
Learn everything you can about using those particular platforms properly.
Then start following those in your target market on the social media platforms you chose. Friend and follow them on Facebook. Add them to a list of potential prospects on Twitter. Connect with them on LinkedIn.
Example: Get specific when doing your searches to decide what social media platforms you’d like to be active on. If you want to work with business coaches, then use the words “business coach” in your search on Twitter to see how many you find on that platform. Scroll through the options to see if they meet your ideal client criteria.
Interact and Share
Start creating your own brief content posts on social media. Create small snippets that help solve a problem that your target market faces. Share a helpful tool or a tip that will save them time or money. The idea here is to start creating a presence for yourself online and establishing that you know your stuff. Use a product like Buffer to schedule your content posts to save yourself some time. (That’s my referral link.)
Then choose some time each day, or three days a week for a half hour, to be active on your chosen social platforms live. Engage, interact and thank people for sharing your info. Share other people’s info.
Join online groups where you find your market, not just groups of other virtual assistants. Yes, you can and should join those groups for networking and getting answers to your own questions—they are very valuable. But then also find groups where your target market shows up. Answer their questions. Be helpful in there.
Subscribe to their blog, podcast, YouTube channel. Share their posts and tag them. Leave insightful comments.
Example: Towards the beginning of my VA career, my target market was business coaches. I was able to join a group online that was specifically for business coaches and those who served that market. Being one of the only VAs in the group, I was able to jump in and answer questions that the coaches had that related to my services. They recognized that I was knowledgeable about these subjects, and ultimately turned to me when they needed a VA because they knew me from the group.
Make the above actions a regular part of your weekly marketing activities. Then, start creating a list of potential clients based on the people that you’re interacting with.
Really do your research to make sure you’d be a good fit for each other. Do you like the way they run their business? Do you have the same values? Do you see how your services would solve a pain point for them?
Then start reaching out individually to the people on that list. Private message them or send them an email. Introduce yourself and explain how you know each other. Perhaps you’re in a LinkedIn group together. Then make a personal connection. Maybe you both love Poodles or you both have kids in third grade. Explain what you do and why you love working with people in their industry. Finally, be clear about what problem you can solve for them and invite them to have a conversation with you to talk more.
That’s my relationship marketing strategy in a nutshell. This is something you can do on a small budget. It’s something you can do on a busy schedule. If you’re short on time, schedule in a half hour per day to perform these activities. Just be consistent about it.
Consistency is really key here. If you continue with this strategy, create that potential client list and consistently reach out to them, you will start forming those relationships.
Did you find this article helpful?
If so, here are two products that can help you further your online marketing efforts: