Seven Quick Social Media Tips

It’s likely your friends and peers are urging you to get on the social media bandwagon.  Hearing about social media is unavoidable these days. We have many clients that feel stressed about the whole topic.  The stress or guilt comes in when they don’t really want to do it but their friends keep urging them too.

I like to take a contrarian view with social media:  I believe it’s NOT a cost-effective marketing tool for a majority of accountants.  Nevertheless, there are some very important exceptions where it can pay off big.  Here are some ideas just in case you can’t resist getting started in social media.

1-     Know your “why”

Before you start on any marketing channel, we recommend you take a step back and set some goals that you can measure against your investment of time and expenses.  What do you plan to accomplish with social media?  Some answers could be:

  • I want to connect with current clients so I can stay in touch
  • I want to grow my thought leadership position
  • I want to build an online following
  • I want to use social media ads for lead generation

With social media, it’s super-easy to come up with goals that feed the ego but don’t really do anything for your business.  If your business is struggling, be sure you don’t fall into the ego trap because it can be costly and de-rail other, more effective marketing efforts.  Goals like “reach 200 Twitter followers” do not add any profits to the bottom line.  You are better off using less expensive marketing methods than social media for lead generation.

Knowing your why, even if there are some intangible goals and non-business reasons involved, will help you get focused about what you want to accomplish with this channel.

2-     Choose one platform to start with

We recommend you start your social media marketing with one platform at a time, and LinkedIn is the hands-down choice for accountants.   LinkedIn offers far more than marketing benefits; you can meet peers, network for technical solutions, and use your profile as a mini-website that displays your experience, education and certifications, and recommendations.

Get started by spending time completing your LinkedIn profile, connecting with people, and asking for recommendations.  The time commitment is not small; we recommend you spend four to eight hours getting your profile completed and connecting with people.  Then we recommend at least an hour a week to keep it updated.   If you need a boost in your technology skills, you may want to add a few hours more for training so you can begin to get comfortable on these platforms.

3-     Interaction is essential

Marketing channels like email and a newsletter are good for broadcasting, but social media is designed to be interactive.    Plan to spend twice as much time or more listening and reading as you do posting.  You’ve heard it before:  we have two ears and only one mouth.   It’s pretty good advice all around.

To be interactive:

  • “Like,” share, and comment on other’s posts
  • Post thought-provoking questions to get people involved
  • Join groups where you can post discussions and start a conversation
  • Answer other’s questions
  • Let people know you enjoyed their blog or video
  • Make introductions to connect friends
  • Be generous with gratitude and praise:  Congratulate others and thank others when appropriate

4-     Automate

If you post regularly, automate it using a tool such as HootSuite.  You’ll still need to monitor your responses, but it will save a lot of time posting.

5-     You have to market the marketing

One of the downsides of social media is that you have to market it just like you market for clients.  You’ll need to account for the time and budget to build your social media accounts.  If not, you’ll be doing a lot of posting with not too many people listening.

We see a lot of abandoned accounts because people underestimate the time involved an overestimate the payback.  We recommend you go in with your eyes wide open or don’t go in at all.  An abandoned account makes you look like you can’t finish a project or can’t keep up with what you started.  If you have abandoned or inactive social media accounts, we recommend you delete them rather than keep them in hopes that one day you will get back to it.

6-     Getting personal can be powerful

Sharing non-controversial personal news is very effective.  Everyone loves seeing pictures of babies, pets, weddings, and vacations, so share liberally if you are comfortable doing so.

If you are using social media for business, consider avoiding posting strong opinions on religion, politics, and sex unless it’s somehow related to your business.  Opinions turn a lot of people off and will greatly narrow your chances to attract clients that disagree with you (unless that’s what you want).

7-     Keep your pitch ratio low

For every one “pitch” you post asking for business, you should post at least three value-added tips, quotes, or comments.  That way, you won’t come off too salesy, and you will have let your followers know what you have to offer.

Try these ideas in your social media, and send us an invite so we can connect.