How to promote your office hours availability


So, you signed up as an Officehours advisor, but you haven’t received many requests for sessions. Want to change that? Here are a handful of tips for getting yourself out there.

Tweet your sessions

One of the easiest ways to activate your network, is to let people know you’re available. Twitter is a great place to do this. For example, Thomas Jockin tweets frequently about his availability—and what he can help with. As a result, his typically book up fast.

Update your email signature

I bet that a lot of the people you know would love to ask a few questions—they just didn’t want to bother you. So, why not invite them to ask? A simple addition of something like this, “I hold Officehours: [URL]”, to your email signature might be enough.

Link from blog posts

Many learners aren’t quite sure what to ask about. That’s part of why people are stuck: they don’t know where to start. You can minimize this barrier by starting the discussion. For example, end your blog posts with an offer. Perhaps, “Want to know more about this? Ask me on Officehours: {URL}.” David Airey even wrote a post that introduced the service and invited readers to talk to him.

Direct requests to your Officehours page

Sometimes I get phone/email requests for help that feel unwieldy—or, perhaps dubious. I’ve learned that instead of saying “no,” it’s best to send such people to my Officehours page. If they are legit, they’ll request a session. Those who aren’t, tend to go away. Plus, the 10 minute time limit means that I can deal with requests quickly.

Link from your website

You already have social buttons on your website, linking to Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google+. Let’s be honest—no one’s clicking that Google+ button. So, ditch the G+, and add a link to your Officehours page. Here’s a version of the logo you can use. Download it, and place this logo/link somewhere on your site. (It’s a great way for learners to have a brief chat with you, and perhaps even a potential client or employer.)

Leverage scarcity

Some advisors open up a large number of spaces. Although this is a nice gesture, it sometimes backfires. This seems to relate to supply and demand. Specifically: if you’re always available, your time seems less valuable. So, perhaps limit yourself to just a few sessions a week. This reminds others you have a lot on the go—and makes the limited number of spaces you have available seem even more special.

The question you’re likely asking is, “I’m already volunteering my time—why do I need to promote myself too?” Well, help is easier to offer than ask for. You might be surprised to learn that many don’t know what to ask, or are intimidated by you. So, if you really want to lend a hand, you need to make doing so as easy as possible.

Got other ideas on how to promote sessions? Talk to me about them.