(This is a guest post by Mojca Mars, a speaker at a past Double Your Freelancing Conference.)
“I’m afraid we can no longer keep you on as an employee,” said my boss at the advertising agency I worked at for more than a year. It was a nice way of saying I was … well, fired.
I had no connections, no knowledge of business, I just knew 1 thing – I wanted to create something of my own. I had absolutely no clue how, so I did what I do best – used social media to build a business. And boy, what a wild ride it was.
Slovenia, the country I come from (a very very small country with only 2 million inhabitants, located right here), is not exactly known for many opportunities just waiting for you when you get fired from a job. So I knew that I needed to make something work, as soon as possible.
I tested two approaches to building a business – cold emailing potential clients and a very strategic use of social media, especially Twitter, to generate leads. The results I experienced between the two strategies couldn’t possibly have been more different.
Cold Emailing vs Social Media
Cold emailing was, to me, a no-brainer solution. After all, it’s one of the most common strategies that you see to generate leads for your business.
When I left the agency, I heard about cold emailing being the fastest way to get great clients.
I’d been actively searching on Facebook for companies that had a really bad Facebook presence. My strategy was to tell them how I could help them improve their Facebook presence and the potential return for their business. I figured they’d be quick to accept the opportunity because they really need a social media manager — and I knew I could generate a return for their business with just a few steps.
As far as Twitter, I didn’t have thousands of followers, so leveraging the few hundred followers I had wasn’t an option. I knew that I had to create a different strategy, something that would set me apart from the other people trying to build a business on Twitter.
I wanted to use Twitter to help get people to acknowledge me as a professional in what I do: social media marketing.
I started building my authority on Twitter by searching for people in need of help, engaging these people regularly, and replying to all sorts of tweets.
The Battle Results
I sent out 100 cold emails and I received 5 responses (3 of them were “no thank you” and 2 of them were “sure, let’s get together for a meeting.”) Those 2 were my first clients.
Twitter didn’t bring me clients immediately, but I invested in it to build my personal brand. I focused on building my authority: improving my presence, engaging with new people, and refining my strategies and the specific steps I had in place. I saw Twitter as a long-term investment.
The clients I acquired with cold emailing were ok… for the time.
But I soon noticed a pattern.
I knew that I had to raise my rates if Super Spicy Media was to persevere and grow even bigger with time, but that just couldn’t be done with my cold-emailing clients.
Sure, I brought my clients amazing results (like a 120% increase in Facebook Page Likes, a 200% increase in Facebook Page Engagement, and a 60% increase in sales), but the clients just weren’t feeling it.
Frequently, after a successful engagement, I’d hear: “Mojca, you contacted us, we don’t need your help and we can take it from here”.
This was the direct opposite of my experience using social media to build my business.
The first time I was contacted by a prospect on Twitter in need of social media help, things escalated quickly.
When the prospect contacted me, I knew they needed my help because they were actively searching for it. This put me in a sweet spot — they knew what I could do and they wanted to hire me — and I managed to charge them three times the amount I was charging my previous clients for the same service.
Why? Because the prospect had assigned a higher value for my services because they viewed me as an authority and expert in the industry.
Did the prospect accept the proposal I sent him? Did I win the deal? Yes, I did.
Right then, I knew that there was more to social media for freelancers and agency owners than I thought. I could see that it was an effective channel for building authority and generating leads. And with this lesson in mind, I focused my energy on social media.
After a few years…
I successfully increased my revenue by getting high-value clients from social media, especially Twitter. My company and I were featured in newspapers, online publications, and blogs. I got to work with successful companies and got invited to speak at events, like the Double Your Freelancing Conference.
How did I get here? Rather than being a nice coincidence, everything was a part of my big, goal-oriented strategy. I experimented with different approaches and improved those who generated the best results.
I can have all the knowledge of social media available, but if I don’t communicate that, if I don’t show that to the world and establish my authority, none of the knowledge matters.
When I first started, people weren’t asking for my advice. They didn’t come knocking on my door asking questions about social media (even though I’d love to help) because that would help my positioning. I didn’t wait for people to show up, I started actively searching for them.
Twitter Search was my best friend back then.
I used it every day to search for people who needed social media advice. I found those people by searching for specific phrases like “I need social media help,” “how to Facebook engagement,” and “Facebook ads help.”
I always gave free advice, never linking to my webpage, but that still resulted in signups. How? Because I genuinely wanted to help. Then, once I helped people, they’d check out my Twitter bio, browse through my webpage, and sign up for more.
I hope you enjoyed reading about some of my super spicy strategies and how you can achieve the same amazing results yourself! I mean, if a bold girl from a country called Slovenia can do it, so can you.