As remote working continues to become more commonplace for practices and clients alike, now is the perfect time to brush up on those digital communication skills. Whether you’re looking to jump into the world of social media for the first time or to simply refresh your existing skills, we’ve put together a whistle-stop tour of tips to help you get the most out of social media for your practice.
Define your goals
There are a wide range of approaches that a practice can take on social media, so your first step should be deciding exactly what you want to achieve. Do you want to attract a wide range of new clients to your practice, for example, or would you prefer to hone in on a specific industry or location? Perhaps you’d prefer to use social media as a way of communicating with your existing clients and keeping them well-informed. Take the time to set the right goals at the outset and the rest of your social media plan will fall into place much more easily.
Pick the right platforms
With an ever-increasing number of social media platforms out there, it can be difficult to decide which ones are right for your practice. To help you decide, think about the audience you’d like to reach and where they’re most active. Small businesses clients, for example, often spend a lot of time on the platforms where they promote their business.
Try taking a look at your current client list and investigate the social media platforms that they use for their businesses. This should provide you with some good direction as to where you could reach new clients.
Here are some of the key pros and cons of the most popular platforms for accounting and bookkeeping professionals:
- LinkedIn is a professional network, which means it offers a valuable opportunity for both you and your practice to grow a network of peers and build credibility in your industry. The downside is that you might be less likely to find certain types of small business clients using this platform.
- Facebook can be a particularly good platform for building a positive reputation, due to the reviews element of its business pages. It also allows you to include a lot of detail about your practice within your profile. However, the huge popularity of Facebook can sometimes mean that you need to spend money promoting your posts to ensure that they’re seen.
- Twitter is a very fast-paced channel. It offers your practice the opportunity to share content, engage with clients and other accounting professionals and join in with topical conversations. The lightning speed at which Twitter moves means that you might need to post frequently to maintain momentum and engage followers.
- Instagram is a visually-driven channel so it can be a great platform to share insight into the culture of your practice and showcase the personality of your team. This does create the need to generate high-quality photo or video content on a regular basis, however, which might not suit every practice.
Commit to keeping up to date
Your social media profiles are an extension of your practice’s brand, which means that you need to keep them accurate and up to date at all times. A business’s social media profile won’t create a great first impression with prospective new customers if it’s full of outdated contact information or has no recent posts.
The content you post should be relevant to the followers you would like to attract. It should also demonstrate the insight and expertise that you’re able to provide. Legislation updates, commentary on financial announcements and news of government support measures for small businesses can all be rich sources of new content to post.
To help keep you on track with your social media activity, consider creating a basic social media calendar and setting time aside each week to schedule posts. There are lots of tools out there like Buffer and Later that let you schedule posts in advance, so you can schedule all of your content at once.
Respond, react and engage
Research shows that up to 90% of social media users use it to communicate with businesses and that they expect a response. Make sure you set time aside (even if it’s only once a day) to check engagements on your profiles and respond to any comments, tweets or messages you’ve received.
Social media is also a great opportunity to be an active part of a community with your peers. Connect or follow fellow accountants, bookkeepers and industry leaders and join relevant groups on Facebook and LinkedIn where you can join conversations and share your expertise. Sometimes even the smallest interaction is enough to maintain a relationship with a connection; you’ll be surprised at how much a little goes a long way!