If you are a financial advisor, CPA, lawyer, insurance agent, business consultant, or anyone in the business of selling services to clients, your social media foundation should be built upon the elements that are most relevant to growing your practice.

As a business professional, you don't necessarily need a large number of fans and followers to find success with social media. Simply developing some key relationships and attracting a handful of high quality clients or customers each year can significantly increase your bottom line.

Below, I've outlined 7 themes for professional practitioners to focus on when creating and implementing a digital strategy.

7 important themes that matter most for professional practitioners when crafting a digital strategy:

1. Manage your online reputation

Credibility, authority, and trust in the digital age are critical.  Your online brand has already been defined, and you can see what shows up for you if you Google your own name.  Taking control of your personal brand and managing your online reputation on an ongoing basis will drive the growth of your influence in your target markets. Your reputation is your lifeline!

2. Develop your unique thought leadership theme

You have a message and a story to tell, so how will you get your message out and make it stand out?  To differentiate yourself in today's world, you need to start publishing.  With blogging, social media, and digital tools that are accessible and affordable, it is easier than ever to build your own platform! Addressing the concerns of your target market while highlighting your unique expertise and experiences through online publishing will help you attract the right clients in the age of social media.

3. Focus on introductions and referrals

With professional practitioners, referrals are essential to growing your practice. Focus on gaining new introductions (as opposed to asking for referrals) through your existing personal and professional connections who are more likely to connect you with like-minded people.  Every new connection online is an opportunity to gain visibility in other peoples' networks. Strive to be consistently visible and valuable with your network, and forget about trying to prospect the masses through social media.  We are a nation of niches!

4. Take care of existing clients and customers

Social media and blogging are communications tools.  Placing a renewed focus on client education, communication, and service using these tools can help you increase client retention and create advocates out of your existing client-base. Your clients want you to meet their expectations and experiences on their terms. You must be visible in the places where they spend their time.

5. Location, location, location

Chances are that the bulk of your business is based on where you currently live and work.  Although you may have national reach, building your foundation around your current location and optimizing your online presence accordingly will enable you to be discovered by target clients in your local market. Start with the low hanging fruit.

6. Capture and cultivate qualified leads

At the end of the day, a successful digital marketing strategy is measured in many ways, but one of the most important results to achieve is generating qualified leads for your business.  If you don't have a laser-focused strategy that will systematically lead potential clients to select you as the obvious choice, you will waste significant time. Your social media strategy should consist of a systematic approach for generating leads, referrals, and more business from existing clients.

7. Get to the business conversation

Getting that first appointment or phone meeting with a new prospect is still the most effective way to capture a new client.  Your digital strategy efforts should ultimately lead a prospect to a phone call, face to face, or even a virtual face to face meeting with you. Through effective digital marketing, a prospective client will already know a lot about you and have some level of trust with you before you ever speak. This gives you an incredible opportunity to take the relationship to the next level.

To build your business and win new clients in the age of social media, 3 things count:  high trust, high tech, and high touch

Generic social media strategies are not effective for individual professionals.  If you are a professional practitioner, your digital strategy should be consistent with the characteristics that encompass your expertise, client-base, geographical location, and your industry.