If you’re going to use social media for your accountancy firm, one of the first questions is, “What do I say?”
It’s a reasonable question. Having a Twitter account, or a Facebook business page, or a LinkedIn company profile, is just the first (very small) step. The next and far more difficult step is that of having something to say, day in and day out, for the foreseeable future.
Of course, you can pay someone to make posts on your behalf. Some accountancy firms do this, but there are a few dangers involved.
Dangers Of Entirely Outsourcing Social Media
First, you could be handing over your firm’s voice to someone you don’t know, or who doesn’t know you. Social media is the best tool you have to help people really connect with who you are as a firm, your personality and attitude. If you’re a big firm with hundreds of employees, things will be a little more formal. If you are a one-man band or perhaps a few part-timers, you can pretty much say what you like. So, if you get someone to do all your posts for you, unless they know you extremely well, it could confuse potential clients. They’ll hear one thing on Twitter, and another when they talk to you or meet with you.
Second, your posts could be generic ones that are the same as other accountancy firms in your area or region. This is horrible for SEO, because Google will notice that your posts are an exact copy of others’ posts, and you’re harming your online rankings. (In case you weren’t sure, search engines absolutely do take social media into account in their algorithms, when they’re delivering results for those who search.) It’s also detrimental for those reading your social media posts, because they’ve just seen something exactly like it from four other accountancy firms.
Now, I’m not saying you can’t outsource some of your social media or marketing work. Many of the accountancy firms we work with have us write blog posts for them, run webinars, share social media posts, and more. But they are involved, too.
When it comes to social media, then, there are two elements required:
Social Media Must Start With Content
You must know what you’re going to say. It’s the same when you design your website. You don’t just sail in saying you want something blue, modern, with a page about Xero. Your website is going to have the greatest power when it has a clear message – not to the world at large, but to the world you want to influence. Our own website is an example. We’re not talking about online marketing for every business in the world (although many of our principles would apply). We’re applying that particularly to accountants, so if you’re an accountant and you visit our site, you know we’re talking directly to you.
With social media, you’re doing the same thing. A website is simply a marketing hub – the place you direct everyone to go after they’ve read your email or retweeted your tweet or connected with you on LinkedIn. When you’re on social media, the first watchword is content. What will go on these accounts?
The answer is, anything and everything related to your target market. Do you work with creative agencies? You’ll retweet a comment made about branding or design. Share a link to a free ebook designed for creatives. Ask for opinions on your new logo. Or perhaps you have expertise in business planning. Your blog posts will be about how to develop a good business plan. You’ll offer a free download of a one-page business plan that your firm supplies. Connect with other business planners and strategists.
You absolutely do have, somewhere within yourself and your firm, a few key areas that you can focus on. You may already know what they are. If that’s the case, you’re set. Use those to guide your social media interactions – and if need be, make that the only thing you do or talk about on social media for a while, until you get the hang of it.
If you aren’t sure what they are, get some consultative advice to determine them. Read more here.
Social Media Continues With Engagement
Once you’ve got your content defined, the task doesn’t end there. In the old days of marketing, you might design a brochure. You decided what you wanted to tell people (and what you didn’t), and the right things went on the page and the wrong things stayed off. Testimonials you liked were included; ones that you didn’t like so much disappeared. The brochure got handed to prospective clients, and you never knew if they read it or not until the day they picked up the phone.
Social media is not like that in any way.
It invites, encourages, demands interaction. “Join the conversation,” many websites say, and then have their social media icons littered below. Like an article? Reply and say so. Disagree entirely? Reply and say that, too.
And don’t be afraid of conversations that seem not to go anywhere. The beauty of social media is that you’re beginning conversations with people that could last for days or weeks or months or years. I’ve met people and businesses via social media who have become clients or strategic partners, and sometimes even very good friends.
The conversation doesn’t have to be restricted to one mode of communication, either. For example, the other day one of my clients recommended us to another business using LinkedIn. He emailed me a screenshot of his recommendation comment, and I used LinkedIn to connect with the business. They then went to our website, and read about what we do, and contacted us there, and we replied by email and sent a link to an online diagnostic to complete. That’s at least four different platforms for one conversation, and it’s hardly the most complicated example I can think of.
As you consider this for your own firm, feel free to enter into conversation with us! Here are all of our icons…