Sure, sure, social media is good for marketing. It helps you build connections and show the human side of you and your firm. But as an accountant do you REALLY have to use social media for your accounting firm?
We’ve worked with accountants who swore they “hated” social media. We’ve had clients who were afraid it was a time suck. We’ve had clients who were convinced it wouldn’t actually get them clients. We’ve had clients who “knew” their ideal clients would never be on social media.
For all kinds of reasons, you might feel like forgoing social media. But trust me, you don’t want to forgo social media, because it works so well for accounting firms.
Why does social media work so well for accounting firms?
1. Your presence on social helps your ideal clients buy faster.
Being present and engaging on social media helps you connect with your ideal clients and build relationships in the same way you build them in person.
By regularly posting on social media, you are building trust with your ideal clients. It is crucial for what clients see on your website or other marketing materials to match what they get when they meet with you. Your tone of voice in marketing needs to match the feeling and tone of voice they have when they meet with you.
Social media provides another way to communicate a matching message. When clients see that every message going out from your firm has similar values, look, and tone of voice, they build trust with your business.
This all comes back to how people buy from accounting firms. Your ideal clients need to hear from you multiple times before they decide to engage you for monthly services.
2. Sharing on social helps you reach a wider audience.
At a certain point, you can start choosing the type of clients you work with, and when you’re ready to start doing this, you won’t get all your clients solely from in-person referrals. However, social media can serve as a virtual referral source.
How? Social proof.
Social proof is a psychological phenomenon. It’s like using groupthink to your advantage. Your ideal clients will find trusting you easier when there are comments from others or reviews from clients touting your experience on your social media.
When an ideal client comes across your social media but doesn’t know who you are or personally know someone who has worked with you before, testimonials and comments from others serve as a virtual “referral”.
3. How you share on social shows the vitality of your business.
The first thing most potential clients do after they visit your website is flip over to your social accounts.
They want to know you’re still an active business. They want to get an idea of what you care about, and who is behind the business. They want to connect with your team personally.
Social media accounts need to show you’ve posted recently and are posting consistently because you are active and thriving and good at what you do. Client stories and the testimonials or reviews mentioned above give social proof that you add value to your clients. It’s one thing to have a quote on your website and put someone’s name to it. It’s another for a client to share a comment or review directly from their own account. That’s social proof.
Have conversations on social which show your empathy and care for people who may or may not be clients. When you share knowledge or give away free tools, it shows you aren’t running your business just for revenue.
Include helpful articles and answers to show you’re so experienced, you can’t help but share knowledge.
Your social media accounts are a key part of your accounting firm’s overall marketing strategy.
What if you really don’t like social media?
When you tell me you don’t like social media, that’s okay. I understand how that feels and where it comes from. I’ll also ask you to really dig into what you don’t like about social..
1. Does it feel like it’s all competition?
Maybe it feels like everything people post is self-promoting or fake. To this I say – be the change you want to see in the world.
Not every social media account is fake and self-promoting. There are many, many encouraging, authentic communities built entirely around social media. Your social media accounts might be the bright spot of information and camaraderie your clients are craving.
Who are you competing against? Are the social media accounts that you are comparing yourself to, or feel you are being compared to, actually built around your ideal client? If not, they need not concern you.
This blog post about how to use social media without being sales-y or this one about building online communities may fit where you’re at with your accounting firm right now.
2. Have you stayed off social media purposefully?
If you’ve not had any experience with social media, because of impressions you have of it, or because you haven’t had time…how do you know you wouldn’t actually enjoy it?
Your social media accounts will be what you want them to be. They will fit your brand, values, and the way you do things. So, ask yourself:
- What would it look like if you enjoyed social media?
- What would you want to see when you were on social media?
- What would you want your business to portray to people on social media?
- What positive things could happen if you start using social media for your firm?
It’s easier to look to the negative – things you don’t like which others do, or all the potential problems and things which could go wrong. But there’s good potential, too. Your answers to these questions may actually be more important to your company values and brand that you realize. If you have trouble answering these questions, book the Foundations sessions with PF to get clarity.
3. Did you have a bad experience outsourcing your social media?
Maybe you paid through the roof for social media management and saw no clients from it. It’s really hard to trust it’ll work if you’ve invested the time, money, and effort before and you feel like it wasn’t successful.
If you’re feeling this way, take a look at this blog post regarding how to tell when it’s time to decide social media isn’t going to work for you. Maybe social media really won’t work for your accounting firm, but make sure you’ve thoroughly evaluated before making that decision. Also, think about what ‘success’ looks like on social media. Are you expecting social to deliver leads to you? Or are you simply building visibility and awareness so the prospect relationship can begin?
4. Are you nervous about posting?
Are you afraid you need to be funny? Do you feel uncomfortable sharing personally on social media?
Sometimes it feels like you have to be something you aren’t to be successful on social media. The truth is, it’s most effective when your social media matches your firm values and brand. When your social media authentically matches who you are, you’re going to have an easier time attracting the clients you want.
You may feel the opposite – that you’ll have to be TOO vulnerable & authentic on social media. Social media can feel very public.
All these feelings are valid and there are lots of ways to start small, start safe. For example, your more personal posts could be around company values or team bios at first. Or, maybe it will feel easiest to answer basic client questions that you get asked a lot. Maybe you can simply copy some content from your website and repurpose it for social media.
Start small, start safe. Take it slowly, and stick with it. Social media is a long-game, and it’s only part of your marketing strategy, so take some of the pressure off and take baby steps.
What if you don’t have time for social media?
Social media can certainly be a time suck. Marketing in general can be a time suck.
Some things are worth time and others aren’t.
Social media, as part of your marketing strategy, helps you qualify your clients so that you are spending time on more clients that you love and wasting less time on clients that don’t appreciate your work or don’t share your values. Good marketing divides. Good marketing sends away the clients you’d rather not work with and attracts the clients who perfectly match who you are and the work you love to do.
In this way, the time you spend in social media marketing will help you do more of the work you love with people you love.
Systems and processes, as well as sharing the work with your team will help there be boundaries around the time you’re spending on social media. Outsourced help for social media will also free up your time.
What if your clients aren’t on social media?
Are you sure about that? 84% of Americans and 78% of the population of the UK are on social media.
Is it possible that all of your ideal clients fall into the less than 20% of people who aren’t on social media? Sure, it’s possible. What about your brand or your ideal clients makes them less likely to be on social media?
It’s also possible your clients are on a social platform you don’t prefer. Maybe they’re using TikTok every day, and you’re not there because you don’t want to do dancing videos or don’t think you’re funny enough. TikTok is about authenticity, and being in the moment. You don’t have to have the perfect camera or script (and it’s better if you don’t try for perfection). People want to know who you and your team are, as humans.
If there are significant reasons your ideal clients are less likely to be on social media, what if you try anyway? Statistically, you’re more likely to be surprised that your clients are on social media than to find out that none of your ideal clients are on social media. Many times simply having a presence, a post or comment which flashes by their consciousness as they flick through different socials or searches, reminds them you’re there.
If you’re willing to at least try it, the first step is just to start! The sooner the better, because it can take 18 months or so, depending on how active you are, before you start seeing results on social media. Take the first step right now by reading our suggestions for where to start on social media.