In this post and part 2, we will discuss practical & easy ways to optimize your social media channels, the basics of what you need and don't need and some tips and tricks to get in front of more prospective clients to grow your business...
As a tax and accounting professional, how important is it to be present on social media networks like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter? Does being active on social media generate business and referrals? Are there missed opportunities if your practice doesn't have a strong social presence?
Despite recent privacy and political issues in the news, social media is still an important channel for accountants and tax pros to connect with clients and generate more referrals. While recent privacy changes on social media platforms have made it more complicated for some aspects of social media marketing, these changes will also make strides in increasing the overall quality of social media networks. That being said, social media remains one of the best and highest ROI channels for accountants and tax pros to generate more referrals.
Many accountants and tax pros might shy away from social media for different reasons. Some are not familiar enough with it, some think it is too hard or complicated and others do not have time nor want to spend time learning how to optimize it.
Whatever the case may be, you do not need to be an expert and companies like ClientWhys can actually help out or do it all for you. Accounting and tax pros can always get help to create and manage their social channels.
In light of all the changes in social media, below are some easy ways to set up your practice to get more referrals from social media.
Which networks should you focus on?
We understand that the various social media networks can be confusing. To better help you understand the different social media platforms that are out there, below is a quick summary of the top four networks:
- LinkedIn: LinkedIn has over 500 million members and growing and is the #1 professional social network. LinkedIn can be used to generate more referrals, connect with clients and colleagues and participate in groups relevant to the tax and accounting industry. It is a great place to showcase your knowledge and expertise and is probably the best place to get quality referrals for accountants and tax professionals.
- Facebook: With over 2 billion monthly active users, Facebook offers a great way to promote your business, educate and inform your clients. Recent changes have made it harder to reach your fans and followers, so in some cases Facebook ads can be used to increase your brand awareness and reach a targeted audience. If you have a tax preparation business, Facebook might be a good channel to reach individuals and family taxpayers
- Twitter: While it is less common to find active accountants and potential clients on Twitter, it is an important channel for your practice for two main reasons: First, influencers and local media outlets are active there. You can find very active tax and accounting pros as well as newspaper reporters, chamber of commerce leaders, non-profits, etc. For example, TaxBuzz hosts a monthly #TaxBuzzChat on Twitter where tax and accounting experts, gurus and small business owners join together to chat about hot topics in the industry. It's a lively discussion that is highly interactive. Second, If you want to rank well in Google via search engine optimizations, it is important for your practice to be very active on Twitter. Google has begun to value the "social signals" it picks up from Twitter and other social media channels, so posting good content to Twitter frequently can actually help your business to show up better in Google and other search engines.
- Google My Business (GMB): While it is technical not a "social media network," businesses can now post lots of great content including blog posts to the recently improved GMB pages. More than 92% of mobile searches worldwide are through Google, it's safe to say that having an updated GMB page with your basic business information is important. And Google has continued to transition away from their Google+ social network to GMB, at least for businesses. Even more so than Twitter and other social networks, having a Google My Business page helps your business to show up better in various Google searches that your clients and prospective clients might do in search engines.
Set your strategy & plan.
"If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail." - Benjamin Franklin
It is important to have a social media plan and strategy in place. Match your brand, clients and services. Distinguish what makes your business unique. What is your overall goal? Is it to service current clients, grow your business or both?
Part of your strategy and plan should include:
- Identifying your potential referral sources - referral sources can be your current clients, other accountants, etc.
- Building your social profiles - make sure you have a good headshot photo. Here are some tips on how a profile photo can help or hurt your practice.
- Growing your network - upload contact lists, join local and professional groups online, search and connect with colleagues. Here is a great list of LinkedIn and Facebook groups to join and network with.
- Creating and sharing content - create original content, be transparent. Share photos, testimonials, blogs and press releases. Videos are another great way to share content.
- Engaging with connections - building your network is only half the job. Once connected, make sure to engage. This means liking on Facebook, retweeting on Twitter and commenting on LinkedIn. Congratulate on life events such as birthdays, anniversaries and promotions. This is the stage where you build on the connections you've made. Be transparent, be relatable.
Social media platforms are great ways to not only share information about your business, but is also a fantastic way to showcase your knowledge and expertise in the tax and accounting industry. The purpose of forming and building these relationships on social is to generate more high quality referrals over time.
On part 2 of this post, I will go into more detail on how to build out your profiles, the importance of keeping it updated, how to grow your networks and the benefits of automating content and engagement.
With social media and other aspects of marketing, you do not have to do it alone. At CountingWorks and TaxBuzz, we make it easy and cost-effective for you to generate lots of great referrals from social media. If you would like to discuss your goals to see how we might help, please call us at 1-949-438-2186 or book an appointment here.