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What do you seek? Social Media Guide

“If you want to build a presence in the social media platform, then you need to be present.� Source: @unmarketing


Defining Social Media Social media is user-generated content (words, videos, photos, etc.) on the Internet. It’s created with free or inexpensive technology, is easy to update, and can reach a niche audience of millions. And, perhaps most important of all, it is fueled by interactivity. When social media channels first emerged on the scene in the early 2000s, they were perceived by many as a fad that would stick around only long enough for the next big thing to appear. But today, with more than one billion users across numerous platforms (TechCrunch, 2012), they are very clearly here to stay. In fact, social media has become an indispensable tool for communicating, sharing content, and building relationships. The emergence of new technologies makes social media ever-changing—what works today might not work a year from now. At ICF Global, we seek to remain on the forefront of exploring new ways to keep our social media channels fresh, informational, and conductive to continual dialogue. We embrace our social media-driven world and the vast networking opportunities it offers the coaching community. ICF Global will vigilantly utilize social media as a communication tool to reach our members, potential members, and those interested in the coaching profession (including but certainly not limited to clients, potential clients, the media, etc.). Therefore, the aim of this guide is twofold: 1. To help you leverage social media for business opportunities. 2. To show you how you can get plugged into the online ICF Global community for networking and inspiration. We encourage you to join us in exploring the potential for social media for your business and hope this resource offers you clear guidance and insight on the opportunities available to you.


Our Vision ICF Global will engage social media to the extent that it promotes and facilitates the accomplishment of the ICF vision and core purpose:

In service of humanity flourishing, we choose to lead global advancement of the coaching profession.

ICF Social Media Goals • Build awareness of professional coaching. • Distribute relevant content to serve coaches and advance the profession. • Continually connect and have a pulse on the individual voices in this community. • Be the voice of professional coaching. • Create global strategic alliances. • Grow the ICF brand. • Strengthen relationships with ICF Members, ICF Chapters, Regional Service Centres, coach training schools, and the media. • Better understand the ICF audience, including coaches and purchasers of coaching.


ICF on Social Media The social media platforms discussed in this guide are where ICF has a presence—all content is generated and maintained by the Marketing Department at ICF Global. Through our social media platforms, the ICF strives to engage our audience in such a way that inspires them to share our message and mission within their own networks. It is imperative that our messaging is compelling and consistent across all platforms, ensuring our audience is guaranteed the same level of quality no matter which platform they access.

This guide highlights five specific social media platforms: Blog, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.


“Game changing innovations ... are usually simple concepts to describe but when they arrive it takes time to fully realize their importance and impact. Television was a game–changer, mobile phones were a game–changer, and blogging is also one.” Source: Collis Ta’eed, Founder of Envato


Sharing Inspiring Ideas If done well, your blog can be a powerful tool to promote your business/services; boost additional traffic to your website; and connect with potential clients. Blogging is basic content marketing. Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating valuable content to attract and engage a target audience with the goal of driving profitable customer action. It’s the art of communicating with your prospective customers without selling in order to build thought leadership, and trust among your audience. The idea is that when you provide valuable information (without strings attached) to buyers, they will reward you with their business and loyalty. Content marking is being used successfully across the world by organizations such as P&G, Microsoft, Cisco Systems and John Deere. Seventy percent of consumers prefer getting to know a company via articles rather than ads (Content Plus). Concerned with content? The growth of coaching in recent years has been phenomenal—and people are constantly searching for more information about it. In addition to writing about your coaching business, talk in broader terms about the profession. Answer those frequently asked questions you have heard over the years. Offer insight into what coaching is and what it isn’t. Talk about the coaching process and how people can determine if it will work for them. And remember, frequency is key! Sixty percent of businesses have a business or company blog—of these, only 35 percent actively blog at least once a month (Blogging. org, 2012). To keep people coming back, add new content as often as possible. Depending on your available time and how you want your blog to grow, you will want to blog anywhere from daily to once a week. Find what works for you and run with it!

Blogging 101: If you don’t have a blog in place right now, that’s OK! You can start small by simply reading coaching blogs, like the official ICF Blog. Offer feedback or questions on posts you read—you can do this with very little upfront commitment. Bottom line: Blogs are educational and they allow the opportunity to interact and share inspiring ideas. This collaborative interaction and growth of knowledge is at the core of ICF social media—where you take it is entirely up to you. 7

8 Blogging tip from ICFHQ: Sharing your blog post across other social media channels is a great way to get exposure to your post and to your blog. One entry on your blog can result in numerous posts across a number of channels and bring waves of new readers to your blog. Think outside the box—do not simply post a link to your blog post and a headline. Pull a quote from your blog post or ask your followers a question that ties into your content—just don’t forget to include the link back to your blog post!

Additional resources: The Ultimate Guide to Blogging (Content Marketing Institute); How to Write an Insanely Popular Blog (Inc.)

Official ICF Blog The ICF Blog shares inspiring ideas every week, covering such themes as: marketing (social media, branding, public relations, technology); business (management, leadership); research (case studies, success stories, ROI); resources; training (education, credentialing, accreditation); and ethics.

How can the ICF Blog provide business opportunities for you? If you have something you want to share with the greater coaching community, consider submitting a guest blog post to the ICF. The ICF accepts guest blog posts from coaches (members and topical experts) who wish to share best practices and explore new ideas. Review current guest blogger guidelines. To submit a post for possible inclusion on the ICF Blog, simply contact the ICF Blog Editor, at The simplest way to interact on the ICF Blog is to leave comments on the posts. Subscribe to the blog, read new posts, ask questions, and share your insights! And don’t forget to share the posts you enjoy across other social media platforms.  


“By giving people the power to share, we’re making the world more transparent.” Source: Mark Zuckerberg


Connect with Potential Clients If you aren’t on Facebook, you should be. This social media powerhouse has more than one billion monthly active users—81 percent of whom live outside North America (Facebook, 2012). With so many active users, many of your past, current, and potential colleagues and clients are bound to be there already. Use Facebook to connect with others and grow the awareness of coaching—post content, including videos and photos, to tell your story!

Gain loyal followers: You do this by providing quality content on a regular basis. What can you offer that provides value? It is important to post content beyond your business—entice people by posting about coaching, your community and more. Daily, consistent updates keep fans engaged and interested in what you have to offer. There is no magic number when it comes to how many posts you should put out there in a given day or week. Test different strategies to see what works for you. Engage people in conversation by asking questions and always responding to comments and questions on your page. The expanse of Facebook: Twenty-three percent of Facebook users check their account five times daily! Some 80 percent of social media users prefer to connect with brands through Facebook AND a whopping 77 percent of Business-to-Consumer companies and 43 percent of Business-to-Business companies have acquired customers from Facebook (Huffington Post, 2012). Facebook accounts for one in every seven minutes spent online (comScore, Inc.).

Tip from ICFHQ: Make your page interesting by sharing a variety of media, including text, photos and video. And ask questions to get people talking!

Additional resources: How to Get More Facebook Shares [Infographic] (Marketing Profs); Increase the Value of Your Facebook Community (Marketing Profs); 6 Tips For a Perfectly Timed Facebook Post (Inc.)



Official ICF Facebook Page Strategy ICF Global uses Facebook as a means of engagement and encourages interaction within the coaching community. We strive to post on Facebook at least once daily during the workweek. Posts vary by topic, but always include a question or other means to encourage interaction (through response, a share, or a like). The ICF Facebook page also serves as a point of contact for members and ICF Credential applicants with the questions they have.

Sample ICF Global Facebook posts: We are thinking of our friends in Boston today during this time of grief following the Boston Marathon bombing. ICF Member Tuncel Gulsoy, PCC, offers a reminder of the power of coaching during this troubling time. As Tuncel says, “we [coaches] are touching people in a world where we have almost forgotten to touch hearts …” Watch the full video and leave words of encouragement below for our ICF New England Chartered Chapter: Fill in the blank: I am an ICF member because ... If you are a current Facebook member and would like to receive updates from the ICF’s Facebook page, opt in by clicking “Like” on the ICF Facebook page. Be sure to also check “Receive Notifications” and “Show in News Feed” to ensure information will be fed to your Facebook feed automatically.

Broaden your reach in the coaching community by joining the conversation ICF Global has a community of about 20,000 coaches on Facebook. Get connected and interact on our page! You can comment on or like the posts made by ICF Global, or share the posts on your own group or personal pages. These things are as easy as a click of a button. If you have a question, you can write on the page wall or send a message through Facebook messaging.


“Focus on how to be social, not on how to do social.” Source: Jay Baer


Networking Opportunities LinkedIn is frequently touted as a powerful social networking tool for professionals and is a great way to connect with past/current/future colleagues and clients. It is the largest professional network on the Internet. In addition to networking, LinkedIn assists in the exchange of knowledge, ideas, and opportunities with a broad network of professionals. Sixty-one percent of LinkedIn users use it as their primary professional networking site (Lab42). Whether you want to connect with peers, search for employment, or learn something new, LinkedIn provides you just what you need.

Who is on LinkedIn? More than 2.6 million companies have LinkedIn Company pages (LinkedIn Press Center, 2012). It is the online place to be for professionals. Tips for making the most of your profile: Have a complete profile page—you want to build trust from the very beginning. Provide enough information so people feel comfortable reaching out to you. Tell your story: Why should people care about you/your business? Don’t leave fields blank (this includes all possible contact information you can list)! Add a real photo of yourself—people like to see the person behind the profile.

Be active: Once your account is set up, you will want to begin networking. There is a plethora of active coaching groups on LinkedIn where you can join in on numerous discussions. Likewise, if leads are what you seek, they can be found on LinkedIn—you just have to ask! Anytime you make a new connection, don’t be afraid to let them know you are searching for a lead.

Tip from ICFHQ: Generally, consider LinkedIn a better tool for networking and learning, not promoting. If you do want to promote an upcoming call or session, post it in the appropriate place on your group pages (promotions tab) to ensure you are not hindering the conversations taking place on the discussions tab.

Additional resources: Join the LinkedIn Party: Five Tips for Using LinkedIn Groups Effectively (Marketing Profs); Learning LinkedIn From the Experts: How to Build a Powerful Business Presence on LinkedIn (Hubspot); Coaching World: Get LinkedIn (Donna Schilder) 15


Official ICF LinkedIn Page Strategy LinkedIn is the ICF’s largest social media presence and continues to grow every day. ICF Global uses LinkedIn as an open forum for ICF Members and non-members to connect, seek advice, ask questions, network, gather leads, find professional development opportunities, and share best practices. As we encourage peer-to-peer interaction in our ICF LinkedIn group, ICF Global refrains from posting too often in this space in order to let the community guide the discussion. However, discussions, promotions, and jobs are monitored regularly to ensure that people are using this outlet appropriately and adding to (not taking away) from conversations. By visiting the International Coach Federation group page, you can request to become a member to join the conversation and begin sharing with other ICF group members. As a member of the ICF community on LinkedIn, you are exposed to many conversations and ideas that are shared across our group on a daily basis.

Leverage LinkedIn opportunities If you have a question a fellow coach can answer, post it as a discussion. If you want to be able to share your knowledge or opinions, peruse the discussion tab for other ongoing discussions you might be able to join. If you have a promotional event or information to share with the coaching community, post it as a promotion. If you want to find potential events or other promotional opportunities, peruse the promotion tab. If you have a job you would like to post for the coaching community, post it as a job. If you are seeking a job, peruse the job tab.  


“You are what you tweet.” Source: Alex Tew


Generating Leads Twitter is rapidly growing as a social media mainstay. Since the dawn of Twitter, there have been a total of 163 billion tweets. In 2012, one million accounts were added to Twitter every day (Huffington Post, 2012). The trick is to sell yourself in 140 characters or less (less is more!). You want to send out multiple tweets in a day, but too many—or too salesy—tweets will cause followers to stop following. Space out your tweets (you can even schedule tweets through a program like Hootsuite) to keep content moving steadily.

Getting started in Twitter: Seek out colleagues and friends to follow on Twitter. The people you follow will prove to be a constant source of inspiration—it is through them that you will be able to retweet (share) content and you’ll glean ideas for future messaging.

Post and share content that matters: By consistently providing valuable content in your areas of expertise, people will turn to you as source. Thirty-four percent of marketers have generated leads from Twitter (Digital Buzz Blog). Balance out your messaging with retweets of others’ content. Pose questions, post quotations, and share articles/blog posts that speak to you. Include hashtags in your tweets (special keyword tags that include a # symbol preceding a word or phrase)—but not too many! These hashtags are searchable across the entire Twitter network. The Twitter feed moves quickly. The nature of Twitter allows you to repurpose your messages and share more than once—this is especially important if your followers are spread across multiple time zones. Be an active part of the conversation. Retweet and reply to others’ posts. If people engage with you, interact: An unfortunate 56 percent of customer tweets to companies are being ignored (Huffington Post, 2012). You don’t want that to be you!

Expand your tweets: Twitter connects with other social media platforms, like Facebook, and can be fed into existing websites or blogs, allowing others to see your tweets even if they are not Twitter members themselves. See an example on the footer of the ICF Blog. 19

Tip from ICFHQ: Use a link shortening website (like to shorten links that appear in your posts so you can maximize your message within the character count limit.

Additional resources: 40 Twitter Power Tips That Turn Newbies Into Students, Experts Into Pros (Media Bistro); How to Write the Perfect Tweet (Media Bistro); Twitter Guide Book —How to, Tips, and Instructions (Mashable)

Official ICF Twitter Page Strategy ICF Global uses Twitter as a communication channel to share ICF and industry news, videos, ICF Blog posts, and infographics, as well as a means to re-share articles, blog posts, and other content from those entities ICF Global follows on Twitter. It also serves as a platform to respond to the needs and concerns of followers in a timely manner. Messages are tweeted daily from ICF Global, with anywhere from two to 20 tweets and retweets a day. Hashtags are often used to differentiate messages (examples: #CoachingWorld, #icf, #icw2013). ICF Global will retweet messages that are pertinent to our followers.

Sample ICF Global Tweets: See what is on the calendar at ICF Headquarters this week in the ICF Event Calendar: Fun conference fact: Of the 70 catalysts joining us in London for #icfglobal, 44 are ICF Credential holders. Really cool video that shows snippets from the 2012 ICF Global Coaching makes research fun!

Sample ICF Global Retweeted Posts: There is more opportunity in leaving people wanting more than giving them so much they wish they had less. (@simonsinek) Do you belong to any coaching circles? How does it benefit your business? (@iPEC_Coaching) 20

“One key to successful #leadership is continuous personal #change. PC is a reflection of our inner growth and #empowerment.� R. Quinn (@giodalessio)

Connect to the coaching community on Twitter By visiting the ICF Twitter page, you can choose to follow the ICF. As a follower of ICF on Twitter, you will be exposed to a stream of messages posted daily by ICF Global. Once following ICF on Twitter, you can very simply retweet, favorite, or respond to content posted by ICF Global.


“While face-to-face is just as important as it ever was, now that we’ve got all kinds of new tools, let us tighten the bonds in between those in-person moments.� Source: @chrisbrogan


Building Your Personal Brand There are 800 million unique visitors to YouTube each month (YouTube, 2012). If you create videos, a branded YouTube channel is a perfect way to house your collection (think: unlimited storage). Your own channel allows viewers to subscribe to your content (and be immediately notified of any new videos you post). Once your videos are housed on YouTube, they can be viewed over and over from all parts of the world. Let potential clients get to know you through video. It’s a great tool to build your personal brand and gain trust from viewers. No videos? That’s okay! Start by sharing ICF Global–produced videos—be it on your website or blog, or in your Chapter membership communications, or at in-person events. You do not have to make videos to enjoy the benefit they bring.

Tip from ICFHQ: Subscribe to the ICF YouTube channel for the first look at any newly added video to our channel!

Additional resources: Grow Your Business with YouTube (YouTube); Coaching World: Give Your Coaching Website a Video Makeover (Kristen White)



Official ICF YouTube Page Strategy ICF Global uses YouTube as means of housing and sharing all ICF Global–produced videos on a variety of topics, from research findings and ICF membership, to how to become a professional coach or choose a professional coach. The ICF YouTube channel puts a face on the ICF brand. These videos are targeted for numerous audiences— from coaches (ICF and non-member) to potential coaches and clients. New videos are constantly being created and will always be shared through other social media platforms, including the ICF Blog, Facebook, and Twitter. By visiting the ICF YouTube channel, you can choose to subscribe to the ICF channel. As a subscriber, you will have first access to all new videos posted by ICF Global.

How should I interact with ICF Global on YouTube? Look for videos from ICF Global that advocate for coaching and embed them on your website or blog.



Tying It All Together Social media is a new media. It is ever-changing … it is fueled by interactivity … it is an indispensable tool for communicating, sharing content, and building relationships. Today’s successful methods may prove unsuccessful tomorrow. Social media platforms cannot all be approached in the same way. You must find what works for you and do it. Additional resources: How to Monitor Social Media in 10 Minutes a Day (Hubspot); Photos Are Social Media Gold (Inc.); Coaching World: Leveraging Technology for Your Coaching Career (ICF).

Did you know? The fastest growing age group on social media is 45+! Source: The Social Habit 2012, by Edison Research

The age range of most professional coaches is 46-66. Source: 2012 ICF Global Coaching Study


Connect with the ICF’s vibrant online community today!

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ICF Social Media Guide