A quick search for how accountants should use social media brings up post after post of how accountants should leverage LinkedIn to gain more business.
But what about the other social media platforms?
LinkedIn might be great for leads, but Twitter wins the battle hands-down for social engagement.
And social engagement means increased brand awareness.
1. Define your social media goals
A study by Sprout Social showed that 47 per cent “of social marketers say developing a strategy that supports their organisation’s goals is their biggest challenge.”
The key here is to develop realistic and attainable goals that forward your business’s general aims on social media.
The most popular goal for social media marketers is, by far, to increase brand awareness.
2. Leverage your existing clients
One key goal of social media is to get people talking. Too many people approach this goal thinking they should stand on a soapbox and start blaring into a megaphone.
No one would listen.
When entering a room full of people, it’s easiest to move towards people whom you already know. And, through these people, you can be introduced to other people.
You have clients. If you have served your clients well, they won’t mind talking positively about you on social media if you are present there.
But let’s be realistic. Why would anyone go online and talk about their accountant? Sure, maybe you saved them £1,000 on the last tax return. So you might get one social-share for that.
But how do you get a hundred shares?
What you want to do on social media is to draw attention to your brand and your account. And the easiest people from whom you can draw attention are those who already know you.
So, leverage them.
Give your existing clients an incentive to follow and interact with you on social media. It’s better to have a small core of followers who know and interact with you than a massive army that never sees anything you post.
This small corp of people will reshare your content gladly if they are:
- Pleased with your service
- And they enjoy what you are posting
Which brings us to point #3.
3. Find an angle that sticks in people’s minds
In the article See How Accountants Are Killing It on Social Media Diana Mackie Wertz writes about several accountants who took an entirely new angle and made it big on social media.
From accountant Seth David’s Facebook Group to other accountants that have leveraged YouTube and even Pinterest to get their brand out there, the main takeaway is that each of these accountants found a unique angle for their social media accounts and then went for broke on it.
Your angle could be:
- A Q&A site that helps with some obscure tax issue
- Your magnetic personality
- Whatever you feel you could do well in, that would gain interest
4. Avoid the same ol’, same ol’ content
B2B International, a Gyro Company, starts its article Marketing Strategy: What Makes You Special?with a simple question:
“What makes you different to everyone else?”
A quick glance at the ever-growing social media accounts on LinkedIn and other sites reveals that too many people jump on a social media site only to post the same bland old content as everyone else.
Not only must you find a unique angle to your content, but you must also find high-quality, unique contentin itself.
5. Be social, make it fun/useful
It’s unlikely that you’ll arrive into social media full-armed and commanding a legion of dedicated followers after your first week.
Social media is something that is best built slowly.
Act like the new guy at the party, because you are.
Don’t even post anything for a while. Watch, observe, see what people are talking about. See what works.
If you have something useful to add to a conversation, add it.
Social media is an online gathering. LinkedIn is a business gathering; other sites are more informal.
Either way, all of them are about conversation.
Join the conversation slowly, provide useful tips and information, following a unique angle, and then stop talking once you’ve had your say.
Let other people take the mic for a bit.
Eddy about in that manner for a bit until you garner some engagement and find some people that consider your unique content useful or entertaining.
Keep coming up with great content which has a novel angle, and you’ll eventually build enough of a following to start generating strong interest.
And interest is the first step to obtaining leads.
6. Should I engage with other accountants?
The AICPA’s answer to this is a resounding, “Yes!”
“Gimmicky slogans and cliché promises can now be replaced by developing relationships with others, demonstrating your insight and expertise, and dictating the vision behind your work with a warm, personal touch.”
Keep in mind that the goal of social media is to get people talking. When dealing with people of your profession, find an angle that is non-competitive and attractive to them, but which is also interesting to potential clients.
Indeed, this is the very definition of Content Marketing:
“A type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.”
The key lessons to take away from this are:
- You won’t be a hit overnight, and that’s not the point, anyway.
- You should get people talking as one of your primary goals. (And you should get them talking positively.)
- Leverage your existing clients as an immediate resource to gain followers. Incentivise them, and make your posts useful to them. They’ll be your springboard.
- You must, must, must come up with excellent, original content.
- Know when to stop talking.
- Know when to give the floor to someone else.
- Don’t give up, don’t give up, don’t give up.
Slow and steady is the motto. Build the foundations, learn the ropes, and soon you’ll pick up enough “gut feel” for the medium, to become successful at it.
Oh, and just one last thing: Don’t plug your social media account into some automated system that posts articles from around the web as a substitute for good content. Such postings rarely perform well.