An enormous number of people use various social networks on a daily basis and it is therefore no surprise that companies (accounting practices included) are using social media for various purposes.
One of the more important things to remember is that working social networks to enhance your accounting business requires a bit more than just being present. Today, we will be looking at the different ways you can use social media to boost your practice and provide a few tips on how to do it the right way.
Reaching more people
Perhaps the most obvious and straightforward way to use social media for your accounting practice is to get it in front of a large number of people. It really boils down to the very basics of marketing – get your product or service in front of more people and more people will become customers/clients.
Getting exposure will, logically, require you to promote your social accounts in the right way, so that as many people as possible follow your account and start inquiring about your services.
Growing a social following is an art in itself and it will take you a while to accomplish it. For one, you will need to choose a couple of social networks that actually make sense for an accounting practice.
For example, Twitter makes sense because you can get involved in the latest news from the industry and talk to your clients and potential clients in a direct way. Facebook is also a useful tool, since it is the largest social network and it provides the opportunity to purchase old-fashioned ads. LinkedIn is also very useful for accounting practices as professionals use it and it has a certain air of reputability.
One social media channel that is often forgotten is YouTube, which can actually be a fantastic place to share insights into the industry and display your expertise. We will talk more about this later.
Of course, in order to actually inspire people to follow you, you will have to offer something – talk shop, share your expertise, comment on current events, offer discounts, educate, interact. It doesn’t have to be incessant ‘round the clock activity. An hour a day will do.
Becoming an expert
The subheading above can be a bit misleading; this is not saying that you are not an expert already. This is only saying that people need to be made aware of this and that is where social media can be a great ally.
People want trustworthy accountants who know what they are doing and, through social media, you can show them that you are just such an accounting practice.
If you run a company blog, you will do well to pack it with industry insights and solutions to problems that you will then share on social media. These do not have to be 100-page white papers. A timely (tax season) bit of advice can explode on social media and turn you into the person to ask. Just look at the example of Accountant Online, and how they are running their blog.
Thanks to the fact that modern phones can shoot high quality video, you can also start a YouTube channel where you will do short how-to videos. People love video content and many people learn easier when they are being shown. Learn the basics of making decent videos and start sharing your insights.
You should also stay on top of the biggest news from the industry and get into conversations that happen all the time on Facebook and especially Twitter. Find out what is trending and become an insightful part of the conversation.
Another great way to show off your knowledge and skills is to host Q&A sessions on Facebook or Twitter, where you will invite your followers to ask you questions that they have concerning their books. You will provide them with solutions and show everyone that you are a problem-solver and a practice worth doing business with.
A few tips
In order for your social media efforts to be successful, you will need to have a strategy and clearly defined goals. Sure, you can spend a half hour here and there just being present, but if you want to see the benefits of being on social media, you will want to set goals.
For example, you can set a goal of getting a hundred visitors to your website from social media in the next three months. Or, you can gauge the effectiveness of your special deals that you shared on social media. Perhaps you can simply look at the number of new clients that you got from the moment of starting social media activity seriously.
You should also try and analyze your social media strategy from time to time, see what works and what doesn’t. Tweaking even a minor detail can have a huge effect on the bottom line.
Another thing to remember is that social media is about interaction and that you should never spam people with nothing but promotional messages. Sure, pepper them from time to time, but don’t make your social media presence all about business promotion. Social media is supposed to be about people and conversations with people.
You should also remember that doing social media requires a steady, continuous approach with regular posting and constant action on your behalf. Tweeting once every two weeks or letting your YouTube channel die out after three videos will get you nowhere. It takes time to build a following and to start seeing the results of your social media efforts.
Last but not least, you should definitely consider using a tool or two that will help you stay on top of things. Once you start posting regularly on a few social networks, it will become easy to lose track of what you are doing and when. HootSuite, Buffer, HubSpot and Sprout Social are just some of the heavy hitters of the industry that are worth checking out.
In the end, it all comes down to common sense. If you were in the market for an accounting practice, what kind of a social media presence would pique your interest? What would make you think that these are the people to run your books?