Engagement goes beyond simply posting things on social. It means interacting with the people you’re trying to reach with your social media posts. Engaging includes commenting, liking, and exchanging direct messages. This is one of the most important things you can be doing to succeed on these platforms.
Social media is called “social” for a reason. While creating beautifully designed posts or videos to share with your audience is a part of social media, actually having human conversations and engaging with one another is what delivers results. You want your audience to be able to get to know you and your team. To feel able to reach out and ask questions about the content you share. To get the most out of social media and the time you’re investing in it, you need to be connecting and building relationships with your ideal audience through engagement. This helps you to create a community of prospects and clients you really love to work with.
Engaging on social media is a big part of building your community. It’s a way to get to know your audience better. Interacting with them will give you new ideas and solutions to improve your services. It will also get you closer to what your audience wants, as well as what they are looking for. Being on these platforms can help you understand what your community likes or dislikes.
Social media can be challenging and you may find it time-consuming and overwhelming at times. Start small and safe. Be encouraged by the fact that interacting with your audience helps you get closer to them and understand their desires and fears. That way your future content can address them. If you’re thinking, do I REALLY have to use social media for my accounting firm?, read through that article where some of your fears about social media will be addressed.
Engaging helps you find your audience and brings you closer to it
Engaging on social media platforms helps you find more ideal followers because you’re more visible to them. It additionally helps your audience feel closer to you. You want them not only to read your captions and see your posts and think “that’s exactly how I feel. I wonder how they might be able to help me”…but also to actually get in touch and start the conversation.
Here’s why engaging with your audience on social media is really important:
Raise awareness about your brand and help people trust it, faster
Having quality content is important to help people get to know your brand better, but what about who is behind your brand? What about the human side of things? Getting to know the team behind your brand will improve the connection with your audience. It will help position your brand and services in their minds, and by engaging, you can build trust with new visitors and turn them into potential clients.
For example, if you share a post about a new team member joining the firm, have that team member comment or share it on their own social media platform so they can see the post coming from a different perspective than your firm’s.
Improve algorithm performance
All the social media platforms work with algorithms that help you show your content to your ideal audience. Part of their algorithm is defined by the interactions you have with your current audience. For example, things they ask you and you reply to, what they liked and if they save any of your posts.
This also helps with SEO. The more engagement you have on social, and the more interactions on your platforms, the more likely Google will show your socials in the search results. This will bring referral traffic to your social media platforms.
More interaction leads you toward more visibility. It’s not enough to simply post things and leave them there. The social platforms want to know that what you are posting is relevant, interesting, and worth engaging with.
Get feedback from your community
Getting to know what your audience or community likes or dislikes helps you get better ideas and solutions to improve your services. Furthermore, it helps you create new ones if you have a reasonable amount of people asking for the same solutions or having the same problems.
As an accountant, you can see your audience tends to like more when you share small business tips or tax advice. So if they have more interaction with those posts is a good sign to keep pushing your content in that direction.
Show the humans behind the posts
As humans, we need other humans to interact with, and sometimes when that is not there on social media profiles, people can mistrust your brand or doubt reaching out to ask questions. When this happens, it makes their decision process even more difficult.
“People do business with people” – you know this and have seen it in your own firm day after day. Showing who you are or bits of personal information, helps your prospects get into your buyer journey faster.
Sometimes you can feel fearful about publishing personal kinds of stuff on social media. If you don’t feel comfortable sharing your family, or your weekend plans, that’s totally okay. Try other small helpful things. The book you’re reading, your branded coffee mug in the morning, or your pet in your office space! Your audience can relate to those things and that is why it will impact the way you connect with them.
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Social media is more than just posting: you need to interact
Set aside 1-2 hours a week to interact with your audience and use the time to:
- Reply to questions you see them asking on social media
- Comment on posts they’ve shared which you know you can add value too (without being pushy or forceful)
- Like posts by clients, strategic partners, prospects, other firms like yours and show your appreciation for their content
If you find your audience often asking the same questions, you can use it to create content to answer them. Create a post, record a video tutorial, develop a new service to address a problem they are facing. In the end, you have the expertise and experience to solve it.
How to engage with the different social media platforms
Engaging on social media can look different for each platform but there are some similarities in the actions you can take.
LinkedIn: This platform needs more interaction with comments and following relevant people for the niche you want to work with. Start gaining visibility to your relevant audience by commenting on their posts and asking questions. Asking for help is what LinkedIn was built for. So in addition to posting your own questions, take a few minutes every day or week, to go through all the posts on your feed and comment on those you have experience or connections with. Karen’s recent query about a strengths finder for the team had 59 comments from people willing and able to help!
Twitter: Twitter needs to be under 140 characters so is a bit more limited. Your audience needs concise content. Start by sharing links, comment on relevant people’s tweets, repost them and follow strategic people related to your niche. Andy Sullivan’s recent tweet about his firm’s third year anniversary tagged multiple people and companies (PF among them!) who he was helped by in the early and later days of his firm’s growth.
This month @CompleteHQ ticks over it’s third birthday 🎈
We now get to work with ~ 100 businesses across the UK. And I spend 95% of my time in jeans/shorts & hoodie. Big win for me. 👌
Thanks to all of the other amazing businesses who helped me on the journey so far ⬇️
— Andy Sullivan (@MrASullivan) June 21, 2022
Facebook: Join relevant Facebook groups where you can share information about yourself and your firm. And also where you can help your target audience and industry sector by addressing some of their problems and fears. Use video to share your knowledge. Share links, comment on other relevant people’s posts and follow strategic people who you can tag in your posts. The PF Marketing Community is a Facebook group for accountants sharing their experience, ideas, questions, and wins in marketing.
Instagram: Here you can truly invite people into your day. Record stories, share posts, and constantly share small things like a day in your life. Maybe offer a small tip or answer a client question. Share your post on stories, follow and comment on other relevant people’s posts, and use interactive tools in stories (questions, polls, links, quizzes). Do a live session about a specific topic that can help your audience with a specific topic. Revive Accounting used insta to share a post revealing their new brand, and others picked it up and commented. She also cross-posted to LinkedIn for more engagement.
As you engage with your audience:
- Be consistent in your posting (show you value your audience): Post on certain days of the week, or certain times per month. A community values consistency because sometimes they expect the content you normally publish.
- Comment on other people’s posts and reply to comments from your audience in your own posts (ask and answer questions): Commenting is a way of showing and expressing your value to other people’s opinions or ideas that help position your brand.
- Like relevant posts (the ones you really like: this isn’t about liking things simply to get noticed): Like things you really stand for or you support. This is how the algorithms identify your preferences and match these with the people with the same interest you have.
- Use hashtags: Use them in your own posts so they’re more likely to be seen by others who care about those topics.
- Follow hashtags you’re interested in, or hashtags your clients would be interested in. That way you are seeing other content they are sharing, too
- Include a call to action. People need to have an action to take after reading your content, this is how they will interact with your content.
- Work on your biography. Your bio helps to make the connection from the very start and also helps with search results. The better and more specific it is, you’ll attract more traffic and potential followers
- Create content based on the questions your audience is asking: Consider all the things you are getting out of the engagement and connection you have with your community. Use this to help you create content that addresses their fears or questions. It is also a way of engaging because your audience feels you listened.
- Direct Messages: This is an option to create a 1:1 conversation opportunity with a potential client. Maybe even with another accountant you think can collaborate with you.
Reposting: Another way to share what your brand stands for is by reposting other people’s content. Repost things you like or things you want to promote.
- Interactive content (polls, questions, share stories, quizzes): These are interactive tools you can find on some of the platforms. e.g. on Instagram you have these options in the stories.
- Share bits of personal stuff: Share a bit about your day, your office space, your favorite drink in the morning. Basically things people can relate to. They are helpful to connect with your community.
- Follow relevant people in the niche you would like to work with. Read their posts. Watch their videos. Like, comment and share. Show you value their content and you care about the content they share.
Remember, social media engagement is one of the things you need to be doing to improve your marketing. If you want to know how much time you spend on marketing in general take a look at this article.
Here’s an example of what engagement can look like: James Lizars at Thrive is doing amazing things on LinkedIn by always answering comments and engaging with people:
Another example. We did a Facebook live with one of our clients, Amy Walker to talk about her marketing journey:
Can I outsource the engagement process?
The point of engagement is building a community of people that are really interested in the content you share and the services you offer.
To create a strong community, people need to know you and your brand. You need to be positioning your company in your audience’s mind. The more visible and transparent you are, the better.
Outsourcing social media posting is possible (we do it here at PF!) but it doesn’t mean simply handing your social over to someone else. You and the team must be involved so it matches the real experience of your firm. We will always need your collaboration on engaging with the audience. Recording stories that show you as the human behind the company, and interacting with your followers via comments and direct messages are really valuable things. These can change your marketing strategy immensely.
There are so many ways to engage on social media. And I know, it can sound overwhelming sometimes. However, if you set apart a few hours a week you can accomplish a lot of things.
Remember social media and marketing, in general, is a long game. Always think about that tiny milestone you can achieve on a day and go for it.
The first step is getting to know your audience really well. Consequently, you can create your whole marketing plan based on that. Join the next intake of the 12-week coaching group Accelerator now. It starts in September, and everything you learn will help you post, share, and best of all engage with social media in a way which helps your firm.