Ahhhh social media. That old chestnut again. It’s not about whether or not you need to use it; it’s about the rules of engagement.
Much like going to the gym, you’re thinking: how often is enough? What do I use? Will I look stupid? When all you REALLY want is to just be healthy. Here’s how you do that.
So what is ok to post on social as a business owner? Is there a line? Well yes, but it’s a lot more blurry than you may initially think.
A key part to being yourself on social is sharing personal experiences.
Now you may think “Why does this even matter? I’m here to promote my business, not my personal life”. I hear you. However, thinking like that is denying the fact that YOU are a part of your business.
You are your biggest asset.
Your clients and potential clients don’t just want to know what you can DO for them. They want to know what it might be LIKE doing business with you.
Humanising your social is now key to winning new clients.
Start by giving yourself the freedom to post a variety of content.
Nonetheless deciding what to post can be a nightmare.
It’s best to distill things down to what really matters by defining your values.
We talk a lot about values at PF. They guide everything that we do, from how we interact with clients to how we hire. They can also be really useful in guiding your social strategy.
We also spend a lot of time on values with our clients: because if we’re going to help accountants produce world class content and marketing, it has to come from you. Your style, tone, preferences, and yes your values.
So once you have these values, it makes posting easier. Rather than going through the usual thought process before posting…
Does this sound stupid?….. Am I being professional enough?….. What if someone disagrees?
…you ask yourself just one question:
Does this fit with my values?
It’s the opposite of overthinking. All that leads to is stale content that doesn’t reflect your true personality. Be bold and embrace who you are.
Now, I understand that might make posting seem even more scary. You’re now a mascot for your business… THE PRESSURE.
Let me tell you a little story.
I, like many people, also wrestle with what I should and shouldn’t post online. Despite appearances there’s certain parts of my life that I’d rather not share… that’s fine, we don’t need to share everything.
Regardless when I got married this June I decided to post a photo from the day on my instagram. Me and my wife had just been through the ceremony and grabbed a couple of tinnies from Tesco before jumping on the London overground to go to the reception venue.
For some reason Jen (my wife) had been more excited about this aspect than many other things we had planned for the day so we decided to take a picture:
When I posted I didn’t think much of it, I just thought it was funny. We later realised the picture had been added to the official TFL instagram page wishing us congratulations. If you go to their insta it’s actually still in their highlights under the ‘cute’ section.
Now this was just a funny upshot. However, what really struck me in the following weeks was the number of people, many of whom were not much more than acquaintances, that extended me their genuine, heartfelt congratulations.
Not everything you do is going to be as momentous as getting married, but the same principles apply.
Me sharing something personal led to genuine interactions in real life and people that may not have been aware of what I had been up to now were. I had allowed my personal life and the ‘facade’ to co-exist for a moment and the result had been a positive one.
It was beautiful and made me think… “maybe it’s not all bad sharing things like this online”.
Many of you may be familiar with Andrew Van De Beek. An australian accountant who loves to push the boundaries of what an accountant ‘should’ be. He recently shared this:
Now we all have our own style granted. I’m not saying you have to share every conversation you have at home by any means, but it’s worth re-thinking how you allow your clients and prospects to be exposed to your personality.
Some of the common misconceptions about using social as a business owner (particularly as an accountant) are:
- My audience don’t even read my posts properly – This is easy to believe, but although people may not always like or comment, they often see posts. Even if just in passing, and every little bit of exposure they have to you builds up a story.
- I’m not doing anything interesting, so why share? – Interesting is subjective. Whether you’re climbing a mountain or being a great parent to your kids these things can both be equally revealing about the kind of person that you are. Your prospects want to know what kind of person you are as that then allows them to form a story in their mind of how it may be to work with you. If that story is a nice one, they’re much more likely to buy.
- I need to keep my business and personal lives separate – People do business with people, not entities. You don’t need to share everything.com but showing some personality goes a long way.
- It’s unprofessional to share personal moments – This is a biggy. The definition of “professional”, especially for accountants, is not what it was. Some of our clients have tattoos, and wear only jeans to work, or hold video calls from a back bedroom. The world is changing, and the world is realising you can do incredibly professional work even if you’re wearing a hoodie. For example, BluSky, a firm based in Newcastle even wrote a whole blog on their hoodie culture.
Once you’ve rumbled with these concepts, you can start putting some of this into practice with a fresh mindset.
Here are some things you can do right now to begin getting more comfortable:
- Define what you stand for – As a person and as a business, your values will inform everything you do. Start by brainstorming, on paper or your phone it doesn’t matter, words and phrases that sum up your personal beliefs and morals and then whittle those down to a maximum of 5 that cover all the ket areas.
- Make them accessible – in a note on your phone or somewhere just as easy to get to at any time, so you can refer back to them later.
- Set a target – Start small and safe. Don’t set a specific ‘day’ or time as things worth sharing don’t crop up conveniently but aim for a certain number. E.g 1 personal post per week. You can add these targets to your calendar or a recurring to-do in your tasks list. Whatever works best for you!
- Get an accountability partner – much in the same way you might with going to the gym, just someone to remind you ‘Have you posted on social? What did you post?’. To find a partner you could start by connecting with other accountants in the PF Marketing Community. This is a great open community for only accountants to talk about their marketing. The Accelerator members (who are also in the Facebook group) set targets for themselves every week and hold each other accountable.
- Make time for things worth sharing – It’s all well and good saying you’ll share events in your life, but that’s good with no events to share. So set aside some time for personal development. It could be as simple as a morning walk or as exciting as flying somewhere for a big conference. First decide how much time you’d like to dedicate each week/month and then make sure you block that out in your diary.
Now change doesn’t happen overnight. This is going to take practice and you’re going to need to push yourself to do things that may at first, make you feel uncomfortable. You now have everything you need to make these changes, so I’ll leave you with this.
What is that first step that you can take right now towards world class social media marketing? It may be signing up to our next Accelerator course starting in February 2020 (since the one we’re running now is all full up!). Sometimes that’s all you need to do to is START.
Either way, you have the choice. What’s your first step going to be?