Social media opens a world of opportunity for accounting firms to interact and engage with others. As ‘world’ implies though, it’s a vast realm. Taking a haphazard approach to such a mammoth arena wastes valuable firm resources and won’t deliver the results you want, so it’s important to think strategically about your approach to social media marketing.
While the subject is broad enough to fill an entire library – or at least a fair-sized bookshelf – getting a handle on social media marketing calls for small bites. That doesn’t just mean 140 characters or less, either. Many people think the only action word that applies to social media marketing is ‘post’. That’s unfortunate, because there’s much more to tackling social media successfully. Here are three more verbs that are critical to keeping your social media efforts on target and getting the best ROI from the time you spend marketing your firm.
- Focus. There are dozens of social media sites, with more joining the fray practically every day. There’s no way to maintain a strong presence on all of them, so don’t even try. Pick just a few – between one and three to start with – and add more only as you are able. Doing a good job at managing just a couple social media profiles will deliver far more value than having a neglected presence on six or eight. If you find yourself with extra capacity and a good history of success on your current platforms, that’s the time to consider increasing the number of active social media profiles.
- Listen. One of the most common ways to fail at social media is to talk when you should be listening. Social media isn’t just a chance to get your message out; it’s an important opportunity to take in the views and preferences of your clients and others. Start by setting up notifications for when your firm is mentioned, so you can get in on those conversations. Next, attune you ear to everything else going on. What are those in your target audience saying, asking and complaining about? How do your competitors behave on these platforms, and does it seem to be working for them? Social media is for learning every bit as much as it is for sharing. To get the most value from this kind of marketing, you’ve got to make listening an equal priority.
- Engage. You’re posting on each of your social media sites two or three times a week, so you’re good, right? Unless you’re monitoring the accounts at least as often for comments, questions and mentions of your firm, then the answer is no. When someone reaches out with a comment or question through social media, you owe this individual a response. Not doing so is as rude as it would be to ignore an email or phone message – something you would never do, I hope. To the person being ignored it can feel even worse, since this interaction (or lack thereof) takes place in the public view. Set up notifications for each platform to ensure that you know when someone is talking to you through social media, and be diligent about responding.
Pay attention to these three little verbs and invest the extra time to listen, engage and handle a few platforms well. You’ll be getting great value from your social media profiles and learning important things along the way that you can apply in the other types of interactions you have with your audiences.