“That’s very significant to our business because we get more clicks from searches, and multiple positions on page one effectively blocks competitors,” says Freidman. “Do a search of ‘CPA e-mail newsletters,’ and count the number of entries for BizActions in the top 10.” (Also see our recent article, “SEO Optimization: Why is SEO Important?” at www.CPATechAdvisor.com/go/2607.)
Develop a Social Media Policy
Following on the heels of defined and measurable goals is a “social media policy,” and if firms have not defined their goals, then they are a long way from writing a policy to govern social media.
Social media policies help employees understand how to use social media, how long to spend using social media during the workday, and the sensitivity associated with posting personal and/or proprietary information. While this might sound like Big Brother intervening, the policy is usually written in an employee manual the same way a dress code would be included.
The problem with this approach (and the reason firms hesitate to write a policy)
stems from the wants and needs of younger employees.
“Some organizational policies are more crucial than others, and setting a social media policy has not been an urgent need at this point,” says Hake. “We have set overall guidelines about Internet use, and we occasionally include reminders to exercise professionalism and good taste when representing Stambaugh Ness, but we expect our staff to live up to our expectations.”
Prepare for surprises. When questioned, Hake says the firm’s newest and youngest group of employees expressed reluctance to get involved in Twitter, and there was a degree of misunderstanding about it. For example, employees did not know if it was possible to effectively use Twitter only on a computer versus their cell phone.
“They felt it invaded their personal lives,” he says. “If anything, our challenge has been to educate our staff about social media instead of setting detailed limitations. Our president introduced social media via his internal blog by using the simple, well-done YouTube presentations by Commoncraft. Taking the time and effort to develop an official policy would detract from other, more urgent endeavors we have in front of us. If we need a policy to do that in the future, we will.”
Still, some sort of orderly pursuit prevails. Hake encourages firms to designate an exploratory person on staff to research the basics and open accounts.
“Don’t set too many limits or micromanage the effort,” he says. “This is something you may need to work in before you can understand how it can work for you. This is not the time in our history to be faint-hearted when it comes to using new technology and cultivating a firm culture that embraces change. There is no other viable choice.”
For more than 20 years, Scott H. Cytron, ABC, has worked with CPAs and accountants, providing public relations, marketing and communications services, and teaches firms how to use social media more effectively. Author of The CPA Technology Advisor’s MarketingWorks column, he tweets, and is on Facebook and LinkedIn. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.