4 Ways Firms Can Use Social Media to Gain an Edge

May 15th 2017
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It’s all about staying relevant and competitive. Except doing just that keeps evolving.

We’re talking about social media, of course, but if your accounting firm thinks it’s just about being on Facebook or LinkedIn or Twitter, you are sooooo yesterday. What it’s about is the opportunity to build your brand and showcase what you know, according to a new Thomson Reuters Checkpoint report, Four Ways to Effectively Leverage Social Media for Your Firm.

“Accounting professionals excel at rapidly reacting to and adapting to the fast pace of changing laws and industry standards,” Pushkar Bhoopalam, director of product and customer management with the Thomson Reuters Tax & Accounting business, said in a prepared statement. “There are now proven methods to apply this same mindset to firm marketing.”

That means several things have to happen before anyone actually meets up with you. First, they need to see that you communicate across “multiple go-to-market channels,” as the report puts it, so they can find your firm. They also want to see client retention and recruitment, expect you to be accessible, and communicate through channels they already use, like email, social media, and mobile. And they want more “advisory interaction” with your firm before coming into the office or calling.

Potential new hires also want to consider your firm’s social media presence to see if they would be a good cultural fit. Because how they perceive your firm based on its social media communications may affect if they even apply for a job.

Sound tough? Not really. It means gathering feedback through metrics and measurements. But those have already been developed.

This is all it takes: Use social media for engagement, thought leadership, and recruitment – and then measure it all.

1. Engagement. Post valuable and positive emotional content. That means titillating visitors, maybe with humor or challenging them intellectually. Consider Q&As, polls, and surveys. Tell a story – share your own insight. Use infographics and visuals. Post videos – and if you don’t know how, find someone who does.

2. Thought leadership. Use the “70-20-10 guide.” For 70 percent of the time, build credibility and show that you offer what viewers want to see. For 20 percent of the time, share human interest stories and that you’re aware of what’s going on in the world around you. And for 10 percent of the time, promote services and products.

3. Recruitment. Facebook and LinkedIn are evolving to include increasing amounts of job postings – especially Facebook – and both can include a variety of offerings:

  • Metaphors
  • Comparisons
  • Opinions
  • Predictions
  • Research
  • Facts and statistics
  • Guides
  • Checklists
  • E-books
  • White papers
  • Presentations
  • Podcasts

Keep in mind that you want to recruit prospects and potential associates.

4. Measuring it all. Finally, you can measure dozens of metrics on social media. But first, identify your social media goals. What do you want to accomplish? Consider asking yourself these five questions first:

  1. Are you reaching enough qualified people?
  2. Are you engaging with qualified people?
  3. Are your followers interacting with your social media content?
  4. Are your followers downloading your marketing assets?
  5. Are your followers becoming clients?

“When firms leverage social media to create a communications strategy across multiple channels, they become easier to find and more relatable, two critical attributes in today’s marketplace,” said Salim Sunderji, managing director, Checkpoint, with the Thomson Reuters Tax & Accounting business. “Through smart content and engagement, firms will organically build their brand equity, earn trust, and expand their influence.”

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