One thing we like doing at Sookio is working with sectors where social media isn’t an obvious fit. Where people have written it off because they have nothing to talk about or they think there's nothing more to social media than posting blurry pictures of what you had for lunch.
Accountancy is a case in point. It has this reputation for being boring. It’s largely office based, client matters are strictly confidential and the chances of any celebrities swinging by are pretty darn slim. Then there are the FSA guidelines to adhere to, which is enough to put people off altogether.
However, with social media there is a platform for everyone. You just have to think carefully about which ones are best for your sector. Here are five ideas to explore which will enable you to generate leads, form closer bonds with your customer base and build on your reputation as a leader in your field. And hopefully make the whole topic a bit less daunting.
Boost’n'boast using LinkedIn
It can be difficult trying to find the right staff for your company. Global players like Deloitte and Ernst & Young (top) use LinkedIn to boost their recruitment efforts.
While they’re there they post press releases boasting about their latest successes and awards they’ve won, thus building their profile and being even more attractive to the right calibre clients and potential staff.
You can also use LinkedIn to drive debate about issues in the industry, creating your own group and posting in those run by other people.
Get to grips with Google
Google offers so much free stuff which can help your social media efforts. Install Google Analytics on your site (right now please) and you’ll get essential data you can use to monitor the success of your campaign. Have people come from Facebook, Twitter or from that guest post your CEO wrote for a leading industry blog? How long do they stay on the site and which pages are most popular? This can help guide future content.
And is your company on Google+ yet? It feels like the underdog at the moment – but with the might of Google behind it this could all change, particularly as people move away from the ever-more commercially focused Facebook.
Content posted here ranks highly in search. Coupled with getting your business listing sorted out this could be a key way of attracting new business.
Once you get familiar with the interface (not the most intuitive to be honest) then why not try running a Google+ Hangout, and share tips and advice on your specialist areas.
This is particularly good for lead generation; accountancy is all about trust, and giving people the opportunity to get to know you first puts you ahead in months to come when they realise it’s time they stopped struggling with their accounts and got the professionals in.
Use Facebook to show your human side
When you like or comment upon a post in Facebook it shows up in the news feeds of all your connections. So who wants to answer a personal question about their tax affairs?
Instead, use your Facebook presence to show a more human side to the company. Talk about the activities you do together, for example charity fundraising. Or share topical content that doesn’t demand that followers give away any personal information. The current controversy over major companies avoiding their corporation in the UK is a case in point.
Show your authority on Twitter
The problem many businesses struggle with is what to post about. But just because talking about clients’ private affairs is off limits, and just because you’re under the impression that talking about accountancy is boring, doesn’t mean that you have nothing to say. Here are some things you can talk about on Twitter:
- The latest news stories from the world of finance
- Follow key people in the industry and retweet their content
- Your own content, such as blog posts, news items and job vacancies.
Use YouTube to be a great source of information
Videos of your CEO droning away in front a PowerPoint presentation? No.
Playlists of how-to videos on topics like tax or business planning? Yes.
The videos don’t have be produced in-house, there are plenty of sources of content out there, like HMRC, Sage (right), the BBC and broadsheet newspapers.
Finally, a word about tone...
Lighten up a bit! The temptation is to be very stiff and formal, because managing other people’s money is serious business and you don’t want to come across as frivolous.
However, people want to know their accountant is someone they can talk to. So a conversational tone is best, but always be mindful of accuracy. Check your facts and figures, and don’t make schoolboy errors like posting links that don’t work or making sloppy spelling mistakes. Anyone who does this has to stay behind at playtime and write remuneration 100 times..
Find out more about our work with leading Essex and London accountants Raffingers Stuart.
Our director Sue Keogh is also a Sage Business Expert.
Talk to us about social media management and training.