Sit up straight, take one bite at a time and chew well, just like anything else.
For a lot of small businesses, social media marketing is a monster they know they should face but simply can’t figure out how to begin. Of course you can get professional help, and a lot of accounting firms find this is the best way to go. The wealth of platforms, applications and opportunities can certainly be daunting. Even so, with a clear plan and some basic guidelines you may be able to handle it yourself too. After you’ve faced the monster you may find the rewards so worthwhile that you’re willing to expand your social media presence yourself, or by outsourcing certain aspects that deserve more attention than you want to handle within the firm. The most important thing is to get started with a clear set of goals and a plan to meet them. Annie Mueller offers tips to help you begin in this OpenForum online article. Her simple, non-intimidating approach includes these ordered steps:
- Define your audience. This can be very simple – who are your ideal clients? Where does this group tend to cluster, and what’s on their minds? Answer from experience or easy research at this point.
- Craft a message. You want to speak to the audience you’ve selected in a way that resonates with them. Think from the perspective of your clients. What’s worrying them, and how exactly can your firm help? Which differentiators make you their best option, given their needs and current challenges? The answers to these questions will lead you directly to the message you should share through social media.
- Set specific goals.
Measuring your social media ROI is critical so that you know what’s working and what needs adjustment to be more effective. To measure results, you’ll need discrete goals like an expanded newsletter mailing list, for example, or a specific number of new clients overall, or perhaps additional clients for a particular service area you’d like to grow.
- Establish your method. Anything is possible, so think about what and how you’d like to share with your audience. Are you a prolific writer who can regularly produce interesting and informative blog posts about your industry niche? Do you have creative juices that yearn to make amusing topical videos? Would you prefer to gather great articles from around the web and curate conversations that arise about the points they make? Select any format or combination of formats that you enjoy. If it informs, educates or entertains your audience then it’s a successful medium with which to enhance your brand awareness.
- Limit your costs. Time, money and manpower are all finite, so don’t let the monster’s gaping maw consume more than you’re comfortable allotting. Decide how much time the firm should devote and who is best suited for social media tasks, then select the platform that seems most promising. Stick with one or two at first. Schedule regular posts that fit within your resource limits and chosen venues.
- Watch and learn. You’ve started! Great, now give your original plan some time to take root and grow. As you proceed you’ll learn more about what’s most effective, what’s most fun and what fits best with your firm’s personality and talents. You can gauge your audience’s response in this time too. After a few months of consistent efforts under the guidelines you established for starting, it’s time to reassess and tweak as necessary. By now you’ve learned more about the options available in terms of both technology and methods.
It can be scary to start, I know. But once you face this particular monster, you may fall in love with the process as well as the results. Are there other bits of advice you’d like to give to social media newbies, or questions you’d like answered? We’d love to hear, and we’ll do our best to provide the answers.