Starting out in social media

  • By Dave Goodyear
  • 29/04/2014

Social media is often referenced as part of an important online marketing tool and something that should not be ignored in any industry, accountancy included. However, that is generally the view of marketing professionals, others can view social media as something that the younger generation are focussed on, not something the will add value to a business. That is an incorrect assumption.

Social media can not only allow you to share and promote your work, but also provide some personality to your business. The following aims to help provide a little insight and direction into using social media correctly.

Embrace it

Social media will only continue to grow and play a larger part in business, so it makes sense to utilise this sooner rather than later. There is no need to jump feet first into all social media channels, it is highly unlikely that you will have the resource to do this, so stay focussed on the platform(s) that will help you generate the best results.

Social media is like everything else in business, unless you invest a bit of thought and time into it, then you will get little reward. Too often we see websites that have prominent links to their various social media channels, yet when viewed there is very little activity. This actually has more of a negative impact than anything else, a blog or social media page that has the latest post of six months old does not provide users with confidence that content and data is updated regularly - there is no reason for people to return to these pages.

If you have the time and resource to approach more than one of the social platforms, then make sure you have an integrated approach. Ideally those who are following you on Twitter will also be looking at you on Linkedin or Facebook, or even reading your blog, so it is important that your messaging is consistent and focussed. Ideally this should direct people to your website, this is where you will aim to increase enquiries and obtain new clients.

A personal investment

You need to invest a little time to see the real benefits of using social media, there will be no instant result overnight, but it will certainly help your business if done correctly.

Don't be afraid to add a little of your personality to your activity. While it is important to be professional, it is also important to get across some of the personality you have in the business. Sometimes a simple post of what the office has done for a Christmas party, or if there is any local charity work that you are involved with, can be posted to let your audience understand the people behind the business.

Social media is important

It is an effective way of communicating with a large audience, you can share ideas, services and advice to the people you want to target. The key social media channels are:

1. Linkedin - this allows you to connect with individuals and organisations you may have worked with, or look to work with in the future. The idea is for you to help build your network of contacts and strengthen the relationships you may already have. You can create specific groups (which can be invite only) that allow discussions and topics to be shared with ease. It is another useful tool to promote not only the profile of your business, but also your individual experience - detailing your career and qualifications.

2. Blogs - having your own blog is an invaluable way to write and comment on any topics that may be of interest to the accountancy industry. Writing insightful and informative blogs on a regular basis can lead not only to creating a regular readership, but also ensure that you are the source they visit for key information. Blogs are also very useful to read and comment on, they create discussion, debate and thoughtful insight into areas of business. If you have a website with us, then it is capable of incorporating a blog, whether we upload the content for you, or you have an existing Wordpress blog that we feed into your site.

3. Twitter - this enables users to send and read "tweets", which are text messages limited to 140 characters. Twitter is generally a more reactive environment, posting to current affairs or commenting briefly on events. However, it is also a very useful tool for you to 'follow' individuals or organisations that are relevant to your business. This means you are kept updated with the latest events and information as it happens. This also works the other way round, you may easily found yourself being 'followed' by those who want to keep updated with your activity. This is more likely to happen if you regularly 'tweet' information of use, linking to your site or articles that you have read. 'Tweets' often end with a hashtag to reference the topic for others to follow e.g #accountancy.

4. Facebook - often seen as the social platform that the younger generation use, this thought process is starting to shift. There is no doubt that Facebook does have the youngest demographic from this list, but it is a very important tool in connecting with that audience. Facebook allows you to set up a profile page where you 'post' information, which can include pictures or videos to share with those who view your page. In general you are looking for people to 'like' your page, which means that they will see any 'posts' you make on their page. It is another excellent networking tool, connecting to a wider audience - ultimately the future decision makers of the accountancy profession.

5. Youtube - a video sharing platform that allows you to have your own 'channel' where you can upload videos for others to watch and share. Your channel can be subscribed to by users who will be notified when you post a new video. Whether you post videos or not, this is a useful format for you to look at what competitors do, or subscribe to channels of market leaders to find out the latest information. The Mercia channel has videos that will be posted regularly to provide industry information for accountants.

What will I get from it?

As mentioned, it is unlikely that you will get a sudden influx of new clients from your first few posts. What you will get is further exposure of your business, resulting in increased awareness of your services and activity. If you can write one interesting blog, tweet or post there is the potential for this to be shared throughout the online community to vast numbers - all thanks to other users.

Practically all social media platforms are free to sign up to, so there is no initial financial outlay, you just need to invest a little time to see the results. If you already have a website, why not use social media to make sure people visit your site and grow your business.

If you wish to discuss social media with one of our team, or would like to know how our copywriting service could help you, then please email us or call 0116 258 1242.

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