Many accountants seem to shy away from social media, perhaps because they prefer to avoid the limelight as a way to protect their clients’ privacy. Increasingly, though, accountants are turning to social media platforms to market their firms, research rivals, and check out prospective hires. A smart social media marketing strategy lets you connect with a greater range of leads and colleagues and helps you grow your business.
Why Should You Focus on Social Media?
Social media platforms provide a level of exposure to the marketplace that goes far beyond the marketing campaigns of the past. They let you connect with current and potential clients in real time, in a very personal way and requires very little financial investment. If the accounting firms in your region have been reluctant to jump onto social media, this gives you an opportunity to surge past the competition. Establishing your own social media presence helps keep your brand in front of customers and can also ground your firm as a thought leader that’s worthy of trust.
Which Social Media Channels Make Sense for Accountants?
Establishing a presence on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter lets prospective clients, future team members and other contacts find you easily. While, of course, you want to maintain your firm’s website in a professional manner, these social media platforms are highly useful at pushing visitors toward your site, and by extension, toward your company. Accountants using social media for business, generally use one or more of the following platforms:
- Google Plus
How to Make a Social Media Marketing Strategy that Works
Are you wondering how to create a social media marketing strategy from scratch? A good first step is to search for your firm’s name online. Did you find any mentions of your firm in blogs, news articles or on any social media channels? If so, you have a starting place to understand where you already have a bit of an online presence. Next, do the same with your competitors to see what online turf they’ve claimed. Join the social media pages where there’s mention of you or your competitors, and follow the blogs and news outlets that are already giving you free publicity. All the information you gain from this exercise helps you start to map out your marketing strategy and figure out how to put your business in front of your targeted clientele.
In the past, you had to hope that clients would spread positive word-of-mouth information about your firm, but with social media, you can show the world a string of good reviews. As part of your social media marketing strategy, ask your top clients to like your social media pages, leave comments and recommendations. This type of informal referral is likely to sway new prospects. In fact, in a world in which diners rush to crowd-sourced review sites before choosing restaurants, many potential clients may want to see this type of social proof before they even consider your firm seriously.
Your social media marketing strategy should dovetail with the rest of your marketing campaigns. As your sales and marketing teams focus on attracting new clients through outreaches, such as seminars and networking events, you can drive prospects to your company via social media platforms.
The Importance of Excellent Content
Creating excellent content for your social media platforms is key to attracting the traffic you want to see. If you have a robust, informative blog on your website, it’s easy to post clips and links on social media to drive visitors toward it. Look for ways in which you can claim a specialized niche to attract targeted visitors and create high customer engagement. For example, if a majority of your clients are small business owners, feature blog posts and links with content that’s of value to that target audience.
Many people on social media use these platforms to stay in touch with what’s going on in their worlds in an up-to-the-minute, ultra-relevant way. In addition, social media algorithms tend to prioritize posts according to relevance to the user. Because of these two factors, your posts are most likely to get widespread interest and followers if you keep them timely and focused, rather than just copying links that have already gone viral. Make sure you comment on any news stories you post to put your own spin on the content. For example, you might comment on new IRS regulations or post infographics on specific tax topics as each tax deadline approaches.
Social Media Apps and Tools
The more you post on your social media platforms, the greater results you’re likely to see in the areas of customer engagement and increased traffic. Failing to post regularly can have negative effects on the perception of your firm, since it sends a message that you’re not that interested in your customers. If updating social media pages with relevant and interesting content feels like a pull on your time, there are several tools to streamline your social media use.
Buffer, a social media management tool designed expressly for businesses, lets you schedule up to 2,000 posts ahead of time and helps you manage up to 25 different social media platforms simultaneously. This easy-to-use tool provides advanced analytics to help you understand how readers receive your posts, so you can continually refine your social media marketing strategy.
Social Oomph provides social media management features specific to Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Plurk. It also integrates your website’s blog automatically with your social media feeds to optimize your content creation across as many platforms as possible.
While these useful tools free up your time, you may want to consider hiring a social media manager. Hiring someone who’s well versed in utilizing social media to grow your brand may help take your company to the next level. If you decide to hire a social media professional, ask for a social media marketing strategy sample prior to implementing changes. This gives you a clear outline of the voice and message that your company’s delivering to clients and potential clients.
Trending Tactics in Social Media for Business
Accountants tend to value privacy highly—after all, it’s part of your duty to your clients—so the personal sharing that occurs on social media may feel uncomfortable, at first. Think of your social media outreach as a way to turn the uptight image of accounting firms on its head (just a little bit, at least).
To this end, consider introducing employees online on a regular basis, detailing their qualifications, their specialties and a few personal details. Once viewers get to know your staff, they’re likely to feel more comfortable contacting your firm. You should also post photos of social events that your firm sponsors, as well as of any involvement with non-profit organizations, such as local kids’ sports teams or civic involvement. Set aside any worries about appearing unprofessional. As long as you’re not posting anything that’s silly or offensive, clients are likely to embrace your efforts to inject a little personality into your social media posts.
While you’re paying attention to social media trends, don’t forget to include videos as a significant part of your content creation. YouTube has an enormous amount of influence. In fact, Cisco predicts that videos will constitute 80 percent of all web traffic by 2020. You can take advantage of this trend by creating and posting how-to videos or explanations of complex accounting concepts on YouTube as a help and gift to your clients. You can use your Facebook and LinkedIn accounts to link to your firm’s YouTube page to reach a larger audience.
As people continue to turn to social media for referrals—even for professional services such as accounting—your accounting firm’s social media presence becomes even more important. Connect with your clients and build your business with a sound social media marketing strategy. Collaborate with clients, stay on track and grow your firm with QuickBooks Online Accountant. Sign up for free.