Last week I posted about my reluctance to embrace social media. Perhaps I was a bit cynical and overlooked some of the potential benefits. I spoke with an entrepreneur last week and she cited the success her small business has had employing social media to gain a foothold in the ultra competitive restaurant business. She gave me several examples of low cost promotions that the she used to get customers in the door and spend much more than the cost of the promotions. The key for her was that advertising on Facebook, Twitter, or Foursquare were free for her, and connected her business to thousands of people.

            The ability to connect with people and get more people in the door of a practice are the primary reasons to engage in social media. If I can get one person to ‘like’ my practice, then that person’s friends will see that and perhaps connect to my practice thereby increasing my audience in an exponential fashion. Another great use for Facebook is staying in contact with performers and or coaches I meet at a competition who I have a casual conversation with. I more fully understand the advantages of social media, and am still aware of the disadvantages, which will serve me well.

            Digital social media also will allow me to reach clients via different methods of communication. I could directly message clients and keep correspondence on an individual basis, I could repost articles and blogs from colleagues that my audience would finding interesting, I could write my own blogs as I am doing now, and I can also develop video blogs and post on Youtube for clients that may have a preference for a visual presentation rather than reading something. Also I could develop audio podcasts that clients could listen to in the car while commuting.

            I always felt time that it takes to focus on social media would detract from the establishment of my practice, but after last week I realized it does not take as much as my cynical self thought it would. Posting information to a Facebook page is all that I would need to do, if athletes and coaches want to view it and find more about my practice it would be up to the individual. In the past week I have followed up with divers and coaches I had talks with at a competition, posted video of an athlete, and reposted some articles sent to me. The final critical piece is to make sure I follow up with someone, especially if I tell them I am going to do something I need to always do it. This will help my professional reputation and help bring in potential clients.