Ever find the thing you are looking for everywhere right under your nose? That is how I feel about having Candace Smyth as the subject for my June online presence deep dive. I see Candace often because we network in the same circles (yes, she is another Her Corner person) but I hadn’t thought of her for this feature. Then I realized just how perfect she was to talk about. As a family and partnership mediator, her job is a tricky one. Her clients only need her during a certain window of time, typically at times of divorce. She has to create the right voice (very tricky with her client base) and get the right information out to support and educate. She does all of this perfectly!
Tell me about your web strategy?
Well, I have a blog based web presence. I started the site when I started my business and I actually had an intention of having more of an online presence. It is changed. As I have learned that I really love working with people, my business has morphed into a more person-based mediation practice. Much of my online effort is geared toward finding my local clients.
I also have online programs, and my goal is to one day have a real presence nationally and internationally. I want to be a part of the change in how women and men go through divorce. I want people to go through the process with a sort of spiritual infusion and without hurting their children.
I also do a lot of social media. I also use my web presence for the conversation I am trying to have nationally about what I don’t like about the divorce system and process in the US and how I want it to change. I use twitter, Facebook, Linked In. I put out a blog once a week called Monday Morning Light. I also do an audio series that I try to do weekly. I tweet it, put it out on Facebook and have the interviewee do the same…I interview professionals and healers who have something to share about divorce. It is combining the holistic with the practical, which is the conversation I really want to get out there.
Your audience is tough because there is a wrinkle of time for their interest and you have to get them in that period of time. How do you work around that?
People are only going to jump on your list when they are going through divorce or something related to co-parenting. So, people do not need to be on my list forever and I can market my product now. Of course, I still need to work on building my list. I market products and my free online offer using Facebook and Google ads. I also talk to groups and ask them if they want to signup to receive my free offer.
How do you carve out your day to provide time for clients and continue to promote your own business?
I have struggled with this a lot! So much of the day I am running around—DC-MD-VA, it takes a chunk out of the day. I limit mediation sessions to three days a week for client work, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, although sometimes there are exceptions. I am going to implement a business development day to work on products, online content, and my online program. I usually do three networking events a week to get the word out about my business and meet people. The mastery is creating a plan and sticking to that plan.
I know that you are very active in social media. What are you trying to accomplish and what is your strategy? What have you found that works?
I am trying to build my community of like-minded professionals so that I can get my word out and grow my list. I really love writing and speaking, and my vision is to do more of that and to change how divorce is done in our country, and around the world. I use social media to grow that. I have only been doing this for two years, but it is growing.
I love twitter. It is my favorite. The energy is easy, free, low stress. I share quotes sometimes that will link back to my website, I connect with other like-minded professionals, whether it is other mediators, holistic and spiritual coaches who are putting out great content. I connect with other women business owners that I meet at conferences. For me, twitter is the easiest way to connect without getting into a huge conversation because I don’t have a lot of time for that, but twitter creates a connection and we can help support each other very quickly.
On Facebook, I put out whatever I am feeling to help support those that are there. I also post my blog and the interviews I do.
Linked In is sort of new for me. I realize now, as a professional, it is the way to really connect with other professionals. It is just a different community. I found a lot of my referral network is on Linked In, not Facebook locally.
So in your social media activity, you find that you connect more with referral sources than the actual end client?
Yes and no. I am talking to more possible referral sources, but sometimes those sources are people going through divorce and they become clients. These are not necessarily my local clients; these are my clients for the online products, coaching or workshops. I have found that I am not connecting with local clients as much on social media.
I work with some lawyers and accounts. They frequently express concern about participating online because of privacy or legal concerns. As an attorney, is that something that concerns you? How do you work around that?
I have been concerned about that. I am very much a part of the movement away from the traditional rules that keep attorneys from reaching more people. I am a rebel by nature, so I really love the new law movement. I love that anyone can find real answers by using Google. (Of course not everything out there is true and accurate but what a great thing to have easy options.) I think it is great and opening up our world.
I am out there because I believe people need information. That said, I am putting out a lot of spiritual content, which is different than providing detailed legal advice. There are ways to help and provide valuable content without providing legal advice.
What do you find the most challenging about social media?
Time! It is so easy to get sucked in and spend more time than I planned. I dread going on Facebook because I feel like I get sucked in. I also start to compare myself with other businesses, which brings up the “negative Nellies.” I need to find the place or the time to do Facebook work or just go to places where I feel supported and can give to my clients and then get off. I feel freedom on twitter, maybe because it is such an in and out process.
Have you ever done anything on social media that makes you cringe to think about?
I hired a virtual assistant recently and wanted to give her some tasks on social media. I asked her to post an upcoming event or program I had going on, and she posted in ALL of my Facebook groups, including my daughter’s school page. I had to go in and delete everything. You really need to manage it yourself, unless your VA really gets what you want.