Until recently, many accountants have been wary of using social media to market their businesses, sticking instead to word of mouth, traditional marketing methods, and professional or business networks such as LinkedIn. A not-so-long ago 2014 survey by Social CPAs found that few organizations advertised on social media and many had no social media policies.
Today, however, the tide is turning as accountants are realizing that social media platforms offer cheaper, better, and more efficient methods of keeping in touch with current and potential client — as well as keeping on top of industry trends.
Here are five ways you can make sure you are making the most of your social media marketing potential.
Create a Simple Social Media Marketing Plan Across Multiple Platforms
Even the least tech-savvy people know that social media is crucial to a business, but they may not know how to use it effectively. A scattergun approach to tweeting or an infrequently updated Facebook page isn’t going to be any use when it comes to marketing, and spending several hours a day glued to social media is going to stop you getting any work done. So how can you use social platforms efficiently while getting the best results?
- Post frequently without wasting time by using an automatic scheduling tool like Buffer or Hootsuite.
- Create a social media marketing plan. This simply means creating objectives and goals for social media and seeing them through, without resorting to hiring an expensive marketing expert. Try this simple 6-step plan recommended by Hootsuite.
- Post varied content on each platform. “Pushing” the same content from just one platform makes you look lazy, and often the same content doesn’t perform well on different platforms. Make sure that what you’re posting is compelling and adds value — quotes and inspirational messages do well on Twitter, whereas LinkedIn has seen a lot of traction come from storytelling-type content.
Blogging: Shareable Content Is King
Google values fresh, unique social content much more than a static website and will reward those that share frequently with a higher place in search rankings. Studies have shown that business blogging leads to 55% more website visitors.
However, your blog shouldn’t just be an afterthought tacked onto your website to appease Google. If you’re offering genuinely valuable content that your audience cares about, this will have a very positive impact on your business. How can you make your blog the one that people keep returning to?
Sharing your blog on social media and opening it up to the wider business community is a great way to make the most of blogging and social media in one fell swoop. Maximize content ROI and keep your time spent on advertising to a minimum.
- Learn the basics of SEO. Search engine optimization is the art of making your site valuable to Google and bumping it up the search rankings. If you’re a total novice, don’t worry — there are many guides out there with helpful advice, and blogging platforms often have in-built SEO tools
- Position yourself as an expert. If you consistently share knowledgeable, valuable content, people will automatically turn to your blog as a trusted source of information. Spend some time learning about what makes a good blog post and track how well yours do using web analytics.
- Share, share, share! Great content will give your social media marketing a massive boost, especially if it is original and valuable to your audience. Share across all your social media platforms to demonstrate your expertise as an accountant.
A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words
If you’re a regular social media user – and most of us are – you’ll know that visual content is huge, and will only grow bigger: it is estimated that 84 percent of communications will be visual in 2018. Photos, memes and infographics are crucial to your social media marketing strategy, and studies have shown that posts that include images produce an eye-popping 650 percent higher engagement than text-only posts.
You don’t think accountancy lends itself to the visual culture of social media? Think again!
- Share a few memes, funny pictures, or cartoons to keep your followers entertained. Don’t go overboard – it’s good to maintain a professional image, but showing a flash of humor and personality will make you memorable.
- Make your visuals valuable and shareable. Just like blog content, people love visual content that is of genuine value to them and their network. A picture post reminding people of tax return deadlines, for example, is useful and gives you the opportunity to mention your services. Creating a custom image and adding your logo only takes a few moments: there are plenty of online tutorials to show you how.
The Bench team shares beautiful visual images on their Instagram that vary from tax deadline reminders to client stories and people profiles.
Social Media Advertising: the Direct Approach
As well as using social media to share content, you can also pay for advertisements that will target the specific audience that you want to reach.
Facebook remains the most widely used social media platform among all age groups, with 64 percent of people using it. Facebook enables you to target your adverts to particular groups of customers based on different factors such as age, gender, and location, and you will be able to get results based on any budget.
- Drive specific actions. Are you looking to acquire new customers, or do you want to up-sell current ones? Facebook ads can be tailored to specific groups using different demographics, or even be set up based on your own data.
- Target a “Lookalike Audience.” Lookalike Audiences help you to target potential clients by finding people who are similar to those you are already connected with – another good reason to maximize your Facebook contacts.
- Use analytics and testing. Facebook Ads Manager easily allows you to track how well your ads are performing by measuring sales, audience, brand outcomes, and performance. Using these statistics you can test how well a particular advertisement is doing, and experiment with different approaches until you find an ad format that gets you clients on a regular basis.
Social media is a much more personal approach to marketing than more traditional tactics like placing an advertisement in a local newspaper, and lends itself to a more human approach. You should always err on the side of professionalism, but sharing a few details about the person, or people, behind your company can give your brand more personality – something that works very successfully in the world of social media.
- Let people know what you’ve been doing. If your company has been on a team-building day, to an awards ceremony, or held a social event, post a picture and a brief description.
- Involved in a charity or non-profit organization? Tell people about it. Clients will like your involvement and it also gives your charity a nice publicity boost.
- Connect with your audience. Social media provides an easy way to talk directly and personally with current or potential clients.
- Positive testimonials and client stories are an awesome way to include other people’s successes within your content strategy.
These few simple steps will quickly give you an awesome online presence that will give your social media marketing the boost that it needs. Getting to grips with basic SEO and social media tools will enable you to find your ideal audience and help convert your new followers into paying clients.