This post is the next in our series of articles showing how SMEs - in this case Management Consultancy businesses - are able to get tangible business results from implementing the right social media marketing strategies. This is a particularly profitable activity in the management consultancy sector, because the value of a lead that converts is so great...
If you're in consulting, you'll know that historically consulting firms have paid handsomely for "Rainmakers" to join the business and fuel their drive for further new client wins. This has meant that consulting businesses have to date been reliant on the performance of just a few key business winners in the firm, which comes both at a high cost and at a high risk (what if that top business winner leaves or sees a dip in their performance?)
Given we work with a range of management consulting clients, in this post we’ll be looking to reveal one way your firm can generate tremendous ROI from a modest investment in social media marketing. My hope is that by sharing this with you, together with the other case studies in this series, we can inspire you to see how your business could transform its lead generation activities by following a similar strategy yourselves.
What you'll quickly notice in all of our case studies is that our team always focus on impacting two key metrics to ensure we get quick and tangible results for any business we’re working with - be that a management consultancy firm or any other B2B company. Firstly we want to ensure that we quickly increase the reach that the consulting firm has to its target client audience on social media. If your prospects aren't seeing your updates and connected with either your consulting business or its Partners on social media, then the chances of turning this into a significant lead stream for the consultancy are minimal.
But reach without conversion is just brand visibility and that doesn't typically pay the bills for a consultancy practice. What we want to focus on, to embed social media marketing as a key business activity for the consultancy to invest in, is ways of turning that reach into a regular flow of new client prospects coming into the consulting business.
That's where conversion is key, having an end goal that you want social media to deliver for the consulting firm and then refining everything you do around ensuring that that end goal is fulfilled. We have a range of consulting firms as clients and they will tend to have approaches that have worked well for winning new business previously - be that inviting prospects to attend a business breakfast, free leadership course, sporting event or perhaps inviting them onto an exploratory consultation call.
More often than not, their target demographics are senior executives within large corporates - people with the decision-making authority to spend hundreds of thousands, if not millions, on commissioning a consulting project.
What's particularly interesting in the management consulting sector is that many people will wrongly assume that such executives simply aren't on social media and therefore can't be engaged via that medium. If you take one thing from us sharing these insights, I hope it will be that that opinion is ill-informed and is depriving your consultancy of a flow of warm leads into the practice!
As with all our B2B engagements, our first challenge was to research this particular target demographic and establish what kind of content, video interviews, reports and data have been generating the most interest amongst each consulting firm's target audience. In order to quickly build the audience that each of our clients had engaged us to reach, we wanted to turn their social media profiles into magnets for these sorts of people. If one of their ideal prospects were to land on one of their social media profiles, we needed those senior executives to feel like it was a valuable resource - and one that they would want to connect to or follow.
There's a far more detailed explanation of this and how we would do this in our regular webinar session. Details of the next sessions you'll find at the bottom of this post. But for the purposes of this article, suffice it to say that for each consulting firm we researched what type of content was generating the most interest in their niche - as well as who the influencers were in that space and what kind of updates they were sharing. This gave us a good basis for building profiles that the data showed were likely to work in each consulting firms' niche sector.
Having done this, we then created and refined a series of consistent company profiles across Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+. We also worked on the individual profiles of several key members of the team. We then set about running and growing the audience of ideal prospects that were following or connected to these accounts, both corporate and individual accounts.
Across these consulting clients we were able to consistently add several hundred new targeted prospects to each client's account month-by-month, meaning we were hitting our goal in terms of increasing each consulting firm’s reach in their target market. But with additional reach being achieved, what about conversion?
What we have found works best in the consulting industry is to set about gradually interacting with and inviting this new network of connections to come along to a business breakfast, industry networking evening, white paper launch or the like. This allows each firm to consistently convert a portion of their new social media audience into people they are meeting in person (or on a call) and having the chance to win them over with their consulting expertise.
We're regularly hearing from consulting clients - and I'm thinking especially of sub-50 person firms - that social media has become one of their most important sources of new client leads. What's exciting is that this lead generation is scalable and reasonably predictable, plus doesn't leave the consulting firm as dependent on the performance of a few key individuals when looking to win that next consulting contract.
What I hope you will take away from us sharing this approach is firstly that the business results enjoyed by these management consultancies could never have been achieved without us having a systematic approach to researching and attracting each firm’s ideal prospects to engage with the consultancy on social media in the first place. Furthermore, that alone wouldn't have produced results: we had to also have a conversion mechanism in place that would allow us to take people we were now in conversation with and convert them into people we now had a face to face meeting with (or some other form of engagement that moves them properly into your sales funnel). What exactly this will be will depend on the nature of your consulting business - and what has historically worked well for your firm in progressing leads you've generated via other channels. But give yourself the necessary time to learn how to build reach and conversion and you'll have embedded a strategy that can help ensure the next 12 months of your consulting firm's growth are impressive!
I hope this has been helpful and if you would like to gain a deeper understanding of how consulting firms can generate leads in this way, you're very welcome to join our free webinars on this topic, timings and registration for which you can find via our social media lead generation webinar page.
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