Posting your content to social media takes time, and you know there are apps which can do it all at once for you. Saving time, reaching more people… it’s a win win, right? So which app do you choose?
There are many apps which can do the job…but before we dive into recommendations, you have these important things to consider to make sure your social media posting helps bring you the right kind of clients.
- Why do I need a social media posting tool or app?
- What platforms should I post to?
- What social media posting tool is right for my firm?
Before starting to research about the best apps to help you with social posting it’s important to ask yourself: Why are you looking for a tool to post?
Seems basic, doesn’t it. You’re reading this because you KNOW there are so many options out there, and you want us to tell you the right one. But sometimes the overwhelm of options stops us from asking ourselves the real questions.
Before you invest time or money into researching and testing options, consider what you want.
The main benefit of a social media posting or scheduling app is being able to automate the process and plan ahead. If you’re using purely to save time, it may do that but at the cost of truly being seen by your target audience. And preventing engagement.
Posting on social media is for raising awareness; more importantly, it’s to help you build a connection with your audience. While scheduling and automating can save you time in the long run, it NEVER works to 100% automate it.
Only automate what’s repeated over and over, and then personally top it up.
For example, you could automate sharing some of your custom and core content pieces. But you must support that with the personal, real life, human touch, or else it’s just “blank” and bland and will have your audience looking for the unfollow button.
Your audience wants and needs the information you are putting out into the world: but seeing your firm’s personality and values is what will make them build a connection, trust your expertise and want to work with YOU over the other uninspiring, traditional accountants they may or may not be following.
Understand the commitment behind social media posting.
Before wasting any of your precious time, money and energy, understand posting to social media platforms does take some commitment. Simply purchasing a tool is not enough.
You have to take the time to plan out your social content.
You may have tried and purchased tools in the past that you didn’t end up using.The key is to take time to plan and schedule a month of posts at a time.
We go into detail of how often you should be posting in What frequency of posting on social media is “enough”? But typical time commitment is 2-3 hours a month. So that means carving out that time EVERY month to plan topics, source existing content, write post content and schedule.
Yes this is something you can get help with. BUT even if you delegate this to a team member or virtual assistant (or to PF!) you will still need to be involved on some level. Here’s why:
1. As with all your marketing your brand needs to be front and centre of your social posts.
- The right tone and style. Things as simple as the use of emojis, or whether or not to swear, or certain terminology you use or don’t use.
- Values – what’s important to your firm? What do you and your team live by? Positivity? Collaboration? Transparency? – these are all things that you want to shine through in your social posts to build that connection.
- Know your audience. You need to have clarity on who you are trying to reach – who’s your ideal client and why? What do they relate to or find interesting?
Be clear on these things to build trust. If you have mixed messaging, all you’ll do is confuse and lose your audience.
2. You know your firm better than anyone. It’s up to you to:
- Communicate key areas to promote each month
- Share client wins, stories and testimonials – there is nothing more powerful than social proof to build trust.
- Provide direction on imagery or photos of the team, office, etc.
- Review posts
As an owner or manager of an accounting firm this is your responsibility to make sure that your firm is being represented in the right way. AND to make sure your team has the resources to do this, if it’s something you have delegated to them.
If you’re not quite ready to make the commitment of regularly planning and scheduling social media, that’s ok! Don’t put the additional pressure on yourself. Posting in the moment is perfectly fine, if you only plan to post once or twice a week, for now.
As part of its platform Instagram gives you an option to cross post to other platforms such as Facebook and Twitter so this would be a great option if you’re starting out slow.
Once you get to a point where you’re using several social media platforms for your accounting firm and aim to post daily to social media but are struggling to find time or remember to post, it is time to start thinking about automating your social media.
Consistency is key. By automating and scheduling posts ahead of time, you know there is at least one post going out to your audience daily. And then if you remember or something exciting is happening – in the moment, those posts will enhance what’s already going out.
Before we jump to posting on ALL the platforms there’s a little strategy involved first.
How do I know what social media platforms to post on?
While there are many posting tools, they don’t all post to the same platforms.
After seeing the Instagram cross post option you may be thinking – “I’m an accountant; why would I post on Instagram?” and that’s a great question.
Typical platforms we see accounting firms using are LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram & YouTube. Lately we’re seeing more accountants using TikTok. But just because other accountants are (or aren’t) using a platform doesn’t give you the answer about your firm, your clients, your marketing plans.
Your social media strategy needs to be driven by your ideal client. While figuring out the right social media platforms for your accounting firm you need to ask: Where are our clients? What are they interested in? What social media platforms are they using?
While you may not default to a platform like Instagram personally, if your target audience is on Instagram, then that’s where your firm will be more visible to the best clients for you!
For many of our clients who work with creatives, Instagram is the main social media platform for their firm. They post to others to cover all the bases (and this is where automation helps a lot with that). But Instagram is where they focus their energy.
View this post on Instagram
View this post on Instagram
If your target market is professional services, legal, and tech businesses, you might find they spend more time on platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. So that would be where you spend your time, too!
If educating your clients on how to use Xero and app integrations is a focus of your firm, you may also need to be posting to YouTube to publish webinars or training videos.
Once you establish the social media platforms right for your firm,and where your target audience will be hanging out, this will help direct you to the tool best for your future clients, based on the platforms you want to automate.
Some of our clients take a hybrid option when it comes to social media posting. They have PF do their planning and scheduling for some platforms each month (like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter) and do Instagram themselves. (Or a different mixture.) The posts go out like clockwork, and they top those up with more personal posts, cross posted from the Instagram app.
This option takes a little pressure off. Our clients know they have something going out on social regularly, so it’s ok if they get busy and don’t get a chance to post anything extra.
What apps/tools post to the platforms I use?
Not all tools post to all platforms. Take the time to understand your audience and figure out what platforms your accounting firm needs to be posting to now or in the future, rather than basing your decision purely on cost. (As you know, basing any decision purely on cost often highlights you don’t yet know what you need.)
All these tools offer some sort of free trial but to help you decide which might be right for your accounting firm, here are some key features on each.
Posts to: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube
Sendible is the scheduling tool that we use for clients at PF. It’s generally marketed as being ‘For agencies’ but does have an option for single users. The starter package allows you to connect up to 12 social profiles and auto-posts directly to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube and has various report options and analytics.
We do all of the planning in Google Sheets and export a CSV file to upload to Sendible. It’s really user friendly and allows you to tailor posts for each platform. Customising copy (to keep you under that maximum Twitter character limit), tag accounts, add hashtags, and resize photos (as the requirements are a little different for each social platform) and add graphics for each platform.
In addition to posting to every platform your firm might use, it also integrates with WordPress to draft and schedule blogs. You can also design graphics within Sendible using Canva and connect to Google Drive. Making the task of uploading graphics a little less time consuming upload and tasks a little more efficient.
Another huge plus is being able to preview posts to make sure that they display correct properly across all platforms.
If you are using Sendible to schedule to Instagram, be aware it will not auto post carousel posts (posts with more than one image) or auto post to Instagram stories. However you can plan and schedule reminders for posts and then post to Instagram through the mobile app push notifications.
Cost: Starter £25 per month
Posts to: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube
Like Sendible, Hootsuite posts to all platforms your firm may need. It has the edge in enabling you to post events, groups, and fan pages on Facebook and pages and groups on LinkedIn as well as doing the regular profile posts.
If groups or pages isn’t something you are using now but is something you are considering in the future it may be worth spending that little extra so you don’t have to make the switch to a different tool in the future.
The Professional plan allows you to connect up to 10 social media profiles and offers unlimited scheduling and like Sendible it integrates with Canva, Google Drive and Slack. As well as Adobe and Mailchimp.
Cost: Professional £39 per month
Posts to: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram
Unlike Sendible or Hootsuite, Buffer does offer a free plan with the option to change between plans at anytime. With the free plan you can connect 3 profiles from different social platforms including Facebook page or groups and LinkedIn pages. The free plan is limited to 10 posts a month per social platform.
While this may be a great option for smaller, start up accounting firms if you’re at the point where you need or want to automate your social media posting it’s worth spending the $15 to be able to post up to 100 per platform.
Cost: FREE or Pro Plan $15 per month
If you’re using Instagram as one for the main social media platforms for your accounting firm you’ll know that it’s all about the visual and images you use. So styling your grid in the right way is important in representing your brand on the platform.
The next two tools are set to allow you to plan and schedule your posts based on how the images look on your grid.
Posts to: Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn
When you create an account with Plann and connect your Instagram profile it pulls in the posts already on your grid. You can drag and drop the unscheduled images while you plan to make sure the grid flows the way you want it to and then add copy for the captions.
While Insta is a mobile app, you can plan and schedule your posts on either your phone or desktop and gives the option to schedule single image or carousel (multi image posts).The free option allows 30 posts per month but only to Instagram. While the free option does connect to Canva it does not allow you to schedule posts to stories or cross posting to Facebook or LinkedIn.
Paying $9 per month allows you to post to 1 Instagram profile AND stories, 1 facebook and 1 LinkedIn. If you have additional personal profiles you wish to post to you can select one of the upgraded plans. While using your own images is always the best way to build the connection with followers, all of Plann’s paid options integrate with Canva and Pexels giving you that extra help finding the right images.
When cross posting Plann will also auto post to LinkedIn and Facebook, giving you the opportunity to preview the post as it would appear in a feed as you schedule.
While you can plan posts for stories ahead of time, there is not currently an auto post feature. When it’s time to post you’ll have to do that manually. Also, you can add hashtags to your captions with Plann ahead of time BUT you can’t tag other accounts as you schedule. After it auto posts so you’ll have to go back and tag team members, clients, partners etc.
Cost: FREE or Power User $9 per month
Posts to: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter
Like Plann, Planoly has the grid view feature where you can drag and drop while you plan, schedule and auto post to Instagram profiles (single and carousel posts) and schedule stories ahead of time.
They also have a free plan option but this is very limited and does not give you the option to post to any other social media platforms. With any of the paid options you can opt to auto post to Facebook and Twitter although Planoly does not seem to allow the same level of editing capabilities as Plann.
Cost: FREE or Solo Plan $7 per month
As you can see, there’s no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to social media posting or scheduling tools and every one is that little bit different. Ultimately it’s about picking the best option for your firm.
Things to consider after you’ve picked your social media posting tool…
Once you’ve picked your posting tool, planned and scheduled your posts for a month (or beyond if you’re super organised)… it’s not a case of set it and forget it!
Make sure you be aware of:
- Changes to what you scheduled – We’ve had instances in the past where a client’s partner has rebranded and changed names. Therefore, some scheduled posts referring to their previous name are no longer relevant or accurate (ie. Receipt Bank’s switch to Dext)
- Current events – how will you react to major events in the world? Do you acknowledge or take a particular stance on a subject that means a change to a scheduled post?
- Whether the automation actually worked – Watch out for any post failures. Technology is wonderful but it’s not perfect. You want to make sure the posts you have scheduled actually make it on to your feed. Keep an eye out for those bounce notifications.
- Whether your posts are showing up in feeds in the right way
While automation is wonderful for saving you time and takes the pressure of finding things to post daily it doesn’t solve all the problems.
Tracking is key to seeing what is working, and what’s not, and then making adjustments based on the data. When we research, prepare, curate, write, edit, draft, and publish social media on behalf of our clients, we’re aware it’s not simply about getting content out there. We’ve crafted our social media support so everything is done in partnership with our clients. While we are planning and scheduling daily postings they are posting personally too with the ‘in the moment’ stuff, topping up the automated, scheduled posts.
Don’t look at social results in isolation. Look at social performance alongside key numbers such as website performance, inquiries, and proposal stats. You can do this with the co-pilot and tracking service. This helps you see your marketing numbers as a whole, look at what’s working and what’s not working and make marketing decisions based on facts.
Social isn’t at ALL about selling your accounting services – you do that once they get in touch or have had several interactions with your firm. Social is about awareness, connection, building relationships and followers/prospects getting to know you and you them.
Our final tip – Remember the 80/20 rule – 80% of your posts need to educate, inform & entertain in order to build relationships. The remaining 20% can be promotional. For additional social media tips, search our blog. We have tons of useful info to help you up your social media game!