This is one in a series of marketing articles that will explain
e-marketing in layman’s terms. This
information is provided to help you modify your online presence to get
your practice noticed.
Social Media – the 800-Pound Gorilla
How to Use It to Effectively Market Your Practice
Unless you’ve been in a coma or living in a backwoods cabin for the last 5
years, you’re aware of the growing phenomena labeled collectively as
“social media.” As pervasive as this tool has become, the question that
arises when talking to businesses is how to use it effectively to market
to the business community.
Michele’s Rule # 1:
People do business with people they know or people their friends and
You already know that you are much more likely to get a referral or an
actual mediation from someone who already knows you. In fact you probably
went to your best friends when you first entered the field of mediation
and begged them for business. So how do you expand your circle of
influence and get more people to feel they know you enough to send you
business? Social media, if used correctly, will enable you to grow the
list of people who feel they “know” you enough to send you business by
hundreds – if not thousands – each month.
Michele’s Rule # 2:
Thou Shalt Not “Sell” in Your Social Media Stream
Want to know the fastest way to lose social media “friends” or
“followers?” Stand up in a posting and say, “Hi, I’m a great
mediator…hire me!” That is the ultimate social media faux pas. While
others could point out that they’d found a great mediator, you can’t do it
for yourself. Social media is about sharing information of interest.
Remember when you used to forward articles of interest via e-mail to
friends? Social media accomplishes the same function, but with just a few
keystrokes those articles can now reach countless people all over the
Michele’s Rule # 3:
Know Your Audience
If you are a professional, it is essential that you become a member of
LinkedIn (and possibly Plaxo). This is the social media environment
designed for professionals to use to build networks and refer business to
each other. If you are the type of mediator who deals with parties
directly, then you need to be on Facebook, which has over 600 million
members, compared to LinkedIn, which has over 150 million members. These
are not networking opportunities you can afford to miss – if you’re not
there, your competition will be.
Now that you understand the rules, let’s talk about what you can do to use
these great tools effectively to market your practice.
As I said in the beginning, people do business with people they know or
people their friends and family know. Therefore you want to use social
media to let people get to know you. How do you do that? The process is
Sign up for personal accounts at both LinkedIn and Facebook.
Once you have a personal presence on Facebook, set up a Fan page (not
a group page) with yourself as the administrator. This Fan page is a
presence for your business – not for you personally. Make sure you
restrict access on your personal Facebook account to those
individuals who are really your friends & family – pictures of your
grandchildren aren’t going to get you more mediation business.
Watch the press, and when you see articles of interest involving
mediation (or situations that probably should have gone to mediation)
post them to your news stream.
On LinkedIn, get involved in discussion groups and share your
Not enough time to search for mediation articles of interest? There’s a
simple answer to that problem. We have just established a Facebook page
where we post 3-6 mediation articles from around the world daily. Just
log into Facebook and search for
Georgia Mediators Network.
Once you find it, click the “LIKE” button at the top of the page and as we
post articles you will see them in your news feed.
If you take these articles as they appear in your Facebook news feed and
then click the “share” option, then all of your friends and family will
see them. With any luck some of them will also choose to “share” them.
You’re encouraged to take these links and post them to your Facebook
business page and also to LinkedIn so they get the widest exposure.
What good does this do you? By posting articles on a specific topic you
are showing the readers that you have an interest in and expertise in
mediation. You are building a reputation as a trusted authority in the
area of mediation. In a way, this does what the old phrase “noted author
John Doe” used to do as part of an introduction. Suddenly, people who
read these posts, even though they may not know you, will suddenly feel
that they know you on some level because they have read the article you
posted when your friends and family shared it. You’ll soon find them
“liking” your business page or coming to you with questions about
mediation. From there it is a very short hop to getting people to send
mediation business directly to you.
The viral nature of social media means that your exposure is exponential.
In just the last 3 weeks, over 10,000 people have looked at the articles
Georgia Mediators Network.
Can you afford to miss out on that level of exposure for your practice –
especially when your competitors are already sharing this information?
You’ll notice that I’ve made no mention of Twitter here. I like to tell
people that I look at Twitter the same way I look at marketing at a
cocktail party. It’s an opportunity to put out short bursts of
information, but it’s not an opportunity to talk about your business in
depth. Clearly none of us are going to walk out of a mediation and tweet
about our success! While Twitter may work well for sports or
entertainment, it is hard to position it as an effective component of a
marketing program for your mediation practice.
Talking about social media often raises as many questions as it answers.
Please don’t hesitate to e-mail your questions, and we’ll get answers back
to you as soon as possible.
Coming next month:
eNewsletter 101 – Keeping Your Practice in the Front of Everyone’s Mind
Michele Gibson is a Georgia-registered neutral and a certified
emerging media consultant. She is the president of Digital Smart
Tool, LLC – an e-marketing firm offering website design, SEO,
electronic newsletters, social media coaching, and marketing training
Phone: 404-592-3367 E-mail: