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Remain Authentic While Using Social Media to Market Your Services

Marketing can sound like a dirty word. Put the words “Social Media” in front of it and you’ve got a million messy, fake-feeling emotions. I picture a bunch of people sipping their $20 lattés, sitting around a gigantic conference table talking about the psychology behind what will make someone “need” to buy a new _(insert literally anything… jeans, car, video game)__.

I spoke to a marketer extraordinaire a couple years back at a previous company. He was always full of enthusiasm and positivity for his job. I asked him about his mindset around marketing and loved his answer. He told me he knows he has a product that will make life better for his customers, so he wants to let them know about it. It’s up to them if they want it, but he at least needs to tell them about it. In our case, as CAIs, you KNOW there are so many people and families out there that desperately need to know about you and what you do so they can get help.

Here are 6 tips to help you reach those families when they’re online.

1. First of all, you don’t need to be on every social media platform. Consider your target demographic, then research what platform is most used by that demographic. If your specialty is executives, then you might reach more people on LinkedIn and Twitter. If you specialize in women, where do they spend more of their time? How old are they? Maybe you try Instagram and Facebook. If you’re working with youth, maybe give TikTok a shot, just remember you’ll also be targeting their parents, so you’ll want to try whatever platform the parents use most often. Social media marketing is all about experimenting. If you’re just getting started you can always try out different platforms and see which ones work best for you.

2. Be authentic. I don’t care who you’re trying to reach, no one wants to be given a stale pitch. And they don’t want to be reading the same exact message over and over again. We want to get to know YOU. Now more than ever, we’re craving authenticity. Look at social media accounts you really like to follow. I’m sure you will find that one of the things that draw you to them is that their posts feel like an extension of them. They feel genuine like they’re hanging out with you in your living room.

3. Get social. It’s important to post on your social media channels consistently, but it’s equally important to comment on other’s posts. Social media is about being social. Whether you have 30 minutes a day or 30 minutes a week, spend some time commenting on other people’s posts and build your online community. That doesn’t mean you just write “great picture” or a thumbs-up emoji under a post, but write something that’s YOU.

4. Your profile picture. Put a picture of yourself in there. Not the logo for your business, we want to see a picture of you. We want to know who we’re going to be working with. Make sure it’s a picture that has you in good lighting. We want to see your eyes. If you don’t have a professional headshot, it’s a good idea to get one. They don’t have to cost an arm and a leg. I’ve found photographers on NextDoor and Craigslist before to take headshots at great prices. Or ask a friend who has a good eye for photos. You have lots of options, just make sure we can see your beautiful mug!

5. #Hashtags. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, they help people find you. There are tons of websites and apps out there to help you think of relevant hashtags if you want some help in that department. One quick search brought up quite a few. Here’s one I found. https://www.all-hashtag.com

6. Learn about your chosen platforms. Once you pick the platforms you want to use, dive in. Watch some online videos to get the most out of the platform.

On our next marketing blog post, we’ll dive into one of my favorites, Instagram. What are your favorite social media marketing tips and strategies? Share them below!

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How to create your own website for your practice

Help families and communities find you when they’re looking for help online.

We receive lots of questions during our workshops and internships about marketing. For those who are just getting started and work for themselves or starting a small company, marketing tends to rest in the same hands as the person who handles clients, finances, operations, administration… in short, it rests in your hands.

We know you don’t have tons of time to spend on marketing, but we all know it’s necessary. You need people to know what you do, so they can find you when they need help.

To create a simple website you don’t need anything fancy.

Here are the main things you need no matter what website builder you decide to go with:

  1. High resolution, high-quality pictures
    1. Make sure your photos look good. If you’re using your own photos, make sure the lighting is good and the images are clear.
    2. If you use stock images, make sure you either use them from royalty-free stock image sites or pay for them. It’s illegal to use photos without permission and you will get in trouble for it.
    3. Get yourself a nice headshot for the “About Me” page on your site. They don’t have to cost a lot of money, but if you can afford it, it’s nice to have a professional headshot. I’ve seen lots of advertisements for around $125. If you want to do it yourself, make sure to have a background that’s not too busy and the light should be behind the camera facing you so your eyes are lit and you don’t have heavy shadows on your face. Taking it by a window is nice. Practice with angles. A quick search on google will turn up tons of tutorials on getting a good shot.
  2. Attention-grabbing copy.
    1. Be yourself, but be the best version of yourself. When people read it, they should get a feel for who they’ll be working with and that they’re in good hands.
    2. Keep it short and clear.
    3. Look at other companies that do what you do and take note of what you like and don’t like about what they’ve written on their website.
    4. Ask friends and colleagues for their notes before hitting publish.
  3. Blogs!
    1. Google likes it when there is new content on your website, so blogging is a good way to let search engines know that you’re staying current and up to date. Plus it’s a great way to build a following and stay connected.

Recommended Website Builders for Beginners

The website builders that I’ve personally tried and recommend are:

  1. Wix: Often rated as the easiest to use with good customer support and lots of good templates.
  2. Weebly: Has a free option and easy to use.
  3. Squarespace: They have a lot of great designs and flexibility. I use this company a lot when I’m building sites for people who want to have control of their website once I’ve finished building it. It was one of the first website builders I ever used.

Each of these websites has “how-to” videos for you to watch if you need help and of course, there’s always YouTube. The main thing is to not let yourself get overwhelmed. If you have little to no website knowledge, I would recommend picking a template you like and just replacing the images and words with your own. Don’t worry about making design changes.

Take your time with what you’re trying to say and speak from your heart and then edit, edit, edit. Think about how you can get across what you need to say in as few words as possible. Don’t dance around what you do, write it clearly on your site. Think about what people would be searching for in Google when they’re trying to look for what your company has to offer.

Which website builder is your favorite to use? Let us know in the comments.

Our next marketing post will cover the basics of social media marketing. Please feel free to leave a comment with other marketing topics you’d be interested in us covering. We love hearing from you!

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