Of course, just as not everyone has a marketing mindset and personality, not everyone will be inclined to use social media or, just as important, to have the discipline to use it in strategic ways. There’s likely a person in your firm or family that’s already using social media and may be a natural fit for helping your practice. If yours is a one-person office, well, you should prepare to wear a new hat because social marketing and networking simply is a necessity of the modern practice. Here are a few guidelines for getting social media to work for you.
SIX POINTERS FOR YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY
- Schedule Your Activity.
- Use Apps That Multi-Post.
- Post Relevant Content with Links.
- Consider it 21st Century Marketing.
- Use Groups To Manage Communication.
- Build Your Online Followers.
Technology will continue to change how professionals interact and communicate with clients and prospects so it’s important to keep an eye on how other professionals are finding success with these tools. As with email, smartphones, texting and other types of modern technologies, effective use (and maintaining sanity) often comes down to basic strategies that can help you proactively manage those communications.
Next month, I’ll look at productivity tips for automating search functions and using customized home pages that integrate many communication, calendaring and news tools.
Six Social Media Strategy Pointers
1) Schedule Your Activity. Social media is now a part of your firm’s marketing, which means it’s work, so treat it as work, whether or not it is something you enjoy. By maintaining at least a basic posting schedule, you will ensure that you and your firm are getting exposure on a regular basis. It’s also beneficial to think about the business owner followers that you have and when they are more likely to be using a website such as Twitter. For many business users, this is at the beginning of the workday, around lunch and nearing the end of the workday, because it coincides with times when people are looking through their schedules, catching up with online news sites and sifting through email.
2) Use Apps That Multi-Post. You don’t have to go to Twitter or Facebook to make posts on Twitter and Facebook. In fact, many younger professionals who are active with social networking rarely even visit the sites, because they use applications on their smart phones that compile the sites for them. There are also similar tools for making posts, both for computers and mobile phones, that allow you to enter a post once and have it appear on multiple Twitter and Facebook accounts. Check out TweetDeck and UberTwitter. And in reference to tip #1 above, some of these tools even let you pre-schedule your posts, so that you can have messages sent out at predetermined times.
3) Copy/Paste Links. The value of a tax and accounting professional, as with some other professions, isn’t just in what you know and can do, but in what you know how to find out. As a part of your daily professional life, you are exposed to news and information sources that non-professionals aren’t, but which might offer news that affects them. So, run across an interesting article on new credit limits for 2011? Copy and paste a link to the article to share it with your followers, and add a sentence worth of your insight. If your followers are interested, there’s a good chance they will reach out to you for advice. Since Twitter only allows you 120 characters for your message, however, use a tool that shortens web addresses into post-friendly lengths, like www.TinyURL.com.
4) Consider it 21st Century Marketing. As I noted earlier, social media is a form of marketing and not a fad. While the specific venues of social media (Twitter, Facebook, et al) will certainly change with time, the phenomenon is not going to simply go away, and as today’s younger workers move into decision-making roles, it will be an increasingly valuable media channel for reaching them. So, treat it as work, and try to find the person in your practice with the most natural aptitude for it. And in many cases, it doesn’t have to be only one person. Many firms and businesses have found that scheduling multiple persons on the staff to make posts can diffuse some of the extra responsibility, while also having more people engaged in the activity. Four our Facebook and Twitter posts, as well as our blog www.CPATechViews.com, we share the scheduled postings between several staff, and then allow the same staff to post additional messages as they want.
5) Use Groups To Manage Communication. Just as a firm shouldn’t send the same mail or email marketing message to its once-a-year 1040 clients as they do to their business or high net worth clients, some professionals (like Chad Bordeaux) have found it more productive to direct some posts only to certain groups of online followers. Most social media systems include functions for group management.
6) Building Online Followers. One additional tip to those who may still be getting started with social media, a quick way to gain followers is to find other professionals and organizations online that you have an interest in following, and to interact with them and the other followers of those groups. And following them and others will often result in them following your posts, which then exposes you to even more online users.