Social Media Tips for Accountants
Over the last decade, social media has become one of the primary ways that business leaders market their service, and while it may have the reputation of being a bit chaotic, there’s no denying that it’s one of the best ways to get the attention of a wide variety of audiences. While accountants are generally somewhat skeptical of using social media to market their services, it’s becoming more and more important for them to have a social media presence and to develop effective social media strategies to help market their service offerings, draw in new leads, and share industry news. Additionally, most activities on social media are free of cost, making them an attractive option for a company on a small business budget.
However, creating a social media strategy can be overwhelming, and it’s not helped by the fact that the platforms themselves are so different and the algorithms are constantly changing. That’s why we’re offering social media marketing tips for accountants, as well as some examples of industry leaders who are demonstrating a killer social media strategy for accountants.
THE FAB FOUR
Facebook: The Social Media Champion
When it comes to social media marketing, Facebook remains the undefeated champion. A recent study done by Social Media Examiner showed that a whopping 97% of business-to-consumer marketers and 91% of business-to-business marketers advertise their services on Facebook. On a platform like Facebook, there are a variety of ways to market one’s services, ranging from creating and sharing content, purchasing ads, and simply engaging with existing clients or new leads in the comments.. While social media should never be considered the sole medium for communicating with your client base, it is a great place to announce new offerings and company updates. Additionally, asking your clients to leave favorable reviews on your Facebook company page is essentially free advertising for your services, and can almost serve as a referral platform.
Need some ideas? Check out TaxBuzz’s list of the top 15 Facebook Groups for Accounting and Tax Professionals to get ideas of how accountants are making the most of Facebook’s network.
LinkedIn: Market Like Professional
While it may seem strange that someone might turn to social media for accounting advice, there is a surprising audience out there looking for useful accounting information on social media platforms. According to a recent analysis, approximately 80% of business-to-business marketers use LinkedIn to promote their services to others. Additionally, the crowds that flock to LinkedIn are generally more business-minded and may be looking for more educational articles specific to industry news, so try to taper your posts to meet those inquiries.
A great example of a successful social media strategy for accountants is RSM US LLP, an Audit, Tax and Consulting firm, who has mastered the art of posting helpful, engaging information on their LinkedIn for their audiences to follow, alternating from short videos with company updates to insightful research about the industries they serve.
Instagram: The Rising Star
Marketing 101: Imagery tends to get more attention than a long block of text. Posting bright and attractive photographs and infographics to your social media pages will undoubtedly make people take a closer look since they can quickly comprehend the information you’re displaying without much effort. Using images also helps a company establish a brand and style, which will help to draw in like-minded clients.
Taking that into consideration, it’s no surprise that Instagram has been increasing in popularity with marketers. The platform is ridiculously easy to use and allows others to search by hashtags or topics. To see a great example on how imagery can create an engaging story, check out Bench Accounting’s Instagram, which uses simple but bright and engaging imagery to tell their – and their client’s – stories.
Twitter: Not Just a Place to Vent
In the social media world, Twitter has the reputation for being the channel people use to vent, complain, and engage in “wars” with other users. Because of its character limits, Twitter may not be the best place to debate global policy or go into in-depth analysis on a subject, but it is a great place to share quick news or video/imagery content. Keep in mind that people that are scrolling through their feeds at a very quick rate, so anything you post has to be catchy enough to grab their attention. You can also promote tweets – which allows your tweets to appear in Twitter streams and search results - and set up ad campaigns – which use multiple groups of tweets to bring awareness to your brand - dedicated to specific objectives, ranging from video views to website conversions, and create audience targeting criteria for individual ad campaigns.
Check out Accounting Today’s Twitter for a great example of Twitter done right.
SOCIAL SKILLS 101
If you’re not completely comfortable with or are new to social media entirely, here are some quick tips on how to make the most of your social media accounts.
Personalize Your Profiles
When you’re looking to use social media to communicate with existing accounting clients or leads, it’s vital that you know how to address these audiences and stand out from the competition. Build out your company page to identify what makes your accounting business different from the pack and set a memorable tone. Viewers are going to be looking for what makes your company unique, so do your research and make sure your profile matches the clientele you’re looking to draw in. It’s also important that your profiles are the same across the different platforms. Stick to consistent profile images and wording so your audience isn’t confused and knows exactly who you are.
Hashtags aren’t just a Jimmy Fallon punchline – they’re the key to successful SEO and getting your contact in front of the right people. Hashtags also bring organization to an otherwise unorganized medium – by applying a hashtag to a conversation, you can draw more participants into your discussion and help others follow along. Doing a bit of digging to see what kinds of hashtags create the most engagement can do half of your marketing for you. Also consider challenges or promotions to customers that use your hashtag. For example, “Post a photo of yourself with our product using the hashtag #bestcompanyever and you’ll be entered in a contest to win a gift card!” Just make sure to do your research ahead of time so you aren’t using a hashtag that’s already associated with a brand or cause so you can accurately gauge who is truly interacting with you and not someone else.
Engage with Your Audience
While having a social media presence is important, you also need to actually be social with your audience. Today, consumers don’t want a one-sided conversation; they want to engage with brands and whether they have praise, or a complaint, it’s important to be reaching out and communicating with them. Don’t be afraid to reach out with polls or ask your followers for their thoughts and opinions on a particular subject. You may find that their responses will serve as a kind of market research. If someone comes onto your page with a complaint, the best practice is to acknowledge their concern and move the conversation offline so you can personally chat with the person and not air the complications all over your page.
Diversify, Diversify, Diversify
When you’re putting together your social media strategy, keep in mind that you’ll want to provide a variety of content in a variety of formats - as we’ve just laid out, what works for one social media platform might not work for another. Coming up with a comprehensive strategy that fits a variety of audience types can take some work, but the results may be worth it! While posting the same post on all of your platforms one day might be the easiest way to schedule and manage social media on top of your other priorities, it’s not the best strategy. Spread out the timing of your posts and include a mix of content because you don’t want your audiences to see the same messages over and over on all of your social platforms.
Choose a Scheduling Tool
Since you’re busy managing your accounting firm and working with clients every day, you don’t have time to be sitting at your computer posting individual posts all day. There are so many options for social scheduling tools so you can plan out a whole week, or longer, of posts at one time and set them up to post when you want. The most popular tools are Sprout Social and Hootsuite, and in addition to being a place to schedule your posts, they also provide a lot of great resources on social media best practices and what the current social trends are.
Given the increasing popularity of social media marketing, there’s no better time to start planning your social media strategy. As we continue to see changes in the accounting industry and firms becoming more competitive, heavily relying on referrals alone will no longer suffice. In order to continue to meet your firm's goals, it’s important to make your firm visible to the widest audience possible to ensure you’re making your presence known, and social media can be your ticket to doing so