We asked that question of everyone who has registered for our upcoming Social Media Masterclass for Accountants…and as I looked through the answers I saw a lot of common themes.
Oddly enough many of these seemed to start with the letter C, so I’ve managed to cleverly craft them into a summary of the top challenges accountants have with social.
We’ll address these in our four-part Masterclass (which is free by the way, so please do register), but here’s the short version on each one.
You’ll notice that the issue of “time” is not even on the list…that’s not because it wasn’t given as an area of challenge, but because time isn’t the problem. It never is. One of these 8 areas is, and addressing them will solve the issue of “not having enough time for social”.
How do I overcome my inhibitions? Get out of my comfort zone? Feel like i have even the smallest idea what I’m doing?
I’m always so proud of accountants who admit that this is the real problem – whether with social media, or any other area of marketing.
The best way to build confidence is three-fold:
- Learn about it so it makes sense how it works in tandem with the rest of your marketing
- Use it on a regular basis (preferably daily)
- Begin to see results from it and get inspired to do more of it
Many people will tell you to start with item 2 – just start using social. But that’s not right. You may have already done that, and you got no results, so you gave up or got discouraged.
Do everything you can to learn about how social integrates with everything else you’re doing. When you realise it doesn’t stand alone – that choosing a niche or writing blog posts or updating your website or redesigning your firm logo or any of these things are all tied in with social media, you begin to get more comfortable with it.
I’ve done some social, but it’s pretty ad hoc. I do it now and then, or get a burst of enthusiasm, but then it fades away. How do I keep it up, day after day?
Being involved personally in your own social is good (and I’d argue, critical) – but it’s not enough either.
Having a system of posting on a regular basis (either daily or a few times weekly) must be your goal. And you have to have someone – either inside or outside of the firm – who does this for you.
That way, you know for sure you’re being consistent already – even if you’re busy, confused, sick, or forgetful. And when you do post yourself, or your team does, it’s a nice top-up to what’s already being done.
What do I say? What do I share? How do I create it? How much and how often? What about content for a niche?
This is the cornerstone of social media. Many accountants are still afraid of being boring, sharing the same thing as everyone else, being irrelevant.
At PF we are absolutely passionate about the power of original content. Generic content, boring content, things that everyone else is saying in the way everyone else says it… this never works. It might give the impression of working for a time, but it’s useless in the long run.
So before you address anything else related to social media, you have to address this. You have to know:
- Who am I talking to?
- What do they care about?
- What do I have to say that helps deal with what they care about?
This is why we encourage accountants to go through the 12-week group coaching & training course on Content Marketing – before looking at outsourcing their social media (to us or anyone else). We’ve found those who complete the Accelerator stop feeling stress about social media because they can see the whole picture of WHY they’re using social and how it fits in.
If you don’t have anything to say, and you don’t know who you’re talking to, using social media for your firm won’t do you good anyway.
Who do I target? How do I get leads? How does someone go from a follower to a prospect, and how do I get them as clients?
The ultimate ROI question. Why bother with social media if it’s not delivering leads?
Again, the core problem to pay attention to is how social media ties in with all your other marketing.
Instead of asking how many leads you got “from Facebook” or “from Twitter”, track all your numbers. The accountants we work with on a regular basis are on a monthly “Co Pilot and Tracking” call, in which we identify ALL the numbers they need to be tracking for marketing and…track them. Every month.
We look at things like new website visitors. Most popular blog post. Followers on all the social platforms. Most shared (or commented on, or engaged with) social post. Number of prospects. Number and value of proposals. Length of time for proposals to be signed.
Once you start tracking ALL the numbers you can look for patterns. “Oh look, we were really active on Twitter for that event, and we ended up with more proposals than any other month in the last year. Is that connected?” So , rather than simply saying Twitter works, or Facebook ads are useless, or email is or isn’t worthwhile… you can look at the numbers and make better marketing decisions.
Clue: How do I get one?
I didn’t have to come up with a special word for this one…we literally had people saying “I don’t have a clue about social media”. I don’t know where to start. It overwhelms me. Confuses me.
The best place to start is:
- Learn about how social fits into the rest of your marketing
- Understand how all the different social platforms work (they’re all different)
- Start tracking ALL the numbers
- Use it daily
When you do all these four things, you’ll find your clue starting to appear more often than not.
What if I want to step it up a level? Focus on a niche? Run some ads?
Running a social media campaign is a great idea…as long as you’ve been doing the basics for a while (I’d suggest 6-12 months).
One of the reasons social media campaigns, or ads, seem to fail is that the proper foundations aren’t set.
It’s like building a website and then suddenly wondering what words you’re going to put into it. A website isn’t going to be effective because you picked a nice looking layout and then stuffed some words into the sections. It’s going to have an impact when it’s been crafted around your buyer’s journey – their problems, their issues, your stories and solutions.
Similarly, a social media campaign won’t work if you decide to “run some ads” and then try to figure out what image you’ll pick and what words go into the ad. It’s got to be built around your overall purpose, and connect with every other part of your marketing.
Absolutely run a social campaign…but do 6-12 months of consistent, daily posting targeted to your favourite type of client, first. Look at what worked, what didn’t, what people connected with, what they care about. Run your campaign around those things.
What platform will I use? Do i have to use Facebook? Are LinkedIn direct messages useful? Do I need to be on all the socials at the same time? What if I don’t like this one or that one?
There absolutely is an argument for being on “all the socials” – at least, the Big Five. (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube.)
Simply being on them is not a guarantee of success, of course. You could post every day on all five platforms and get nowhere (especially if your content is boring or you don’t have an audience in mind when sharing it).
You’ll want to be on most of them in the long run – but when choosing where to start, always begin with…
- Which one is preferred by the best kind of clients? It’s about them, not you.
- Where do I get the most and best responses? Maybe they’re all on Twitter, but you get more engagement from posts on Instagram.
Wherever they are, be there. And make sure you’re using it right – the appropriate number of hashtags, the best way to tag people, including images or video. Using it well means it will get seen.
How do I stand out? What content do I share for my niche? How in the wide world do I make accounting sound interesting??
Most accountants tell me, “I’m an accountant, not a creative. I don’t get how to do this stuff and make it interesting.”
The thing is, you’re already interesting. You are. And you know it’s true, because your clients like you and appreciate you and are grateful for the work you do for them. (If none of those are true, then okay maybe you’re boring. But most of the accountants i talk to daily are truly interesting people.)
The thing you’ve got to practice is sharing who YOU are, and who your firm is, exactly as you are.
Not the shiny pretty version all the time. Not the “professional” viewpoint only. Not everything tied neatly and delivered safely so not one person could ever be offended.
The way to stand out, to be creative, is to:
- Talk about some personal things (you, and your team)
- Share real photographs and video of your life and the firm’s life
- Have an opinion, and share it
- Be honest in a way that fits with your brand (direct, aggressive, tactful, friendly)
- Be interested in other people (comment, reply, share, ask questions)
- Get ideas from other amazing businesses and put your own spin on it (“steal like an artist”)
Fear will definitely be involved in all of those items. You’ll be afraid to have too strong of an opinion (what if someone disagrees?). To share a personal photo (what if it’s not professional enough?). To try a new idea (what if it doesn’t work?).
To be creative, you must accept that there will be some fear involved. I’m not going to pretend that the greater the fear the greater the creativity – that’s not how it works. But if you’ve never once worried a little before pressing the share button, you’re not being creative. You’re simply being safe.
So there you have them: the 8 C’s of social media challenges, and how to get started on them.
We’ll see you next week for the four-part series of our Social Media Masterclass for Accountants. Join us FREE.