According to a recent study, 97% of adults between the ages 16-64 say they logged onto at least one social network in the past month. Social media marketing gives an advantage for businesses to connect with potential clients, create brand awareness, improve visibility, educate people and establish authority in their industries. Accountants use social media to promote their firm's services, tax and payroll seminars, tax software tips, and even to recruit new accountants to their firm.
Social media is a bilateral tool, aka something that involves two sides. In this case, we're referring to a social media user and a brand. As a brand, if you take advantage of promoting your social business profile, your followers are equally free to scrutinize your profile, rate you, review you or mar you. However, in times where neck-and-neck competition limits your ability to expand, CPAs should be more concerned with reaching out to new clients than to sit back with skepticism. Social media presence is a long-term investment with possibly great returns.
So, Which Social Media Platform is Best for Your Accounting Practice?
Deciding what platform to use is a million dollar question that troubles many accountants. After all, it is not just about creating a social profile and sending out posts. Whatever platform you choose, the key is to take it gradually with adequate strategy and execution.
Some pertinent questions that should strike your mind while selecting the right social tool(s) are your target audience and business goals. Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are social media platforms that each serve a different purpose, require an independent marketing strategy, and a unique communication style to engage new clients. The following platform pros and cons will help you choose the best social media tool(s) for your accounting or CPA firm.
- Twitter is a micro-blogging (shorter text) platform with instant reach
- Use of relevant hashtags help expand your reach (i.e. #accountingtips)
- You can curate content for your followers
- You can redirect followers to external content through links such as driving traffic to your company blog
- Find and connect with thought leaders in your industry
- Get instant updates on tax, accounting, and other subjects of your choice
- Hear what people are saying about your company, industry, competitors, and accounting news
- Twitter, specifically, can be used by CPAs to assist with tax questions
- Twitter expects you to be to-the-point with its character limit which often works in your favor
- It is also used to conduct shout-out campaigns
- Twitter is cluttered and lifespan of tweets is short - you may have to republish your tweets multiple times to increase visibility
- It takes time to build followers and you have to try different growth strategies to understand what works for you
- Tags and mentions can be unabashedly used for negative publicity by rivals
- Facebook is a popular and easy-to-use platform
- There is no limitation to what you can post here; short and long posts, photos and videos
- Content posted on Facebook is not time sensitive as in Twitter, you can even pin specific content to the top of your page
- Getting referrals and reviews is easy on Facebook - customers can simply tag you in comments
- Use Facebook Live stream for sharing events like conferences, giving quick lessons or reacting to important tax reforms
- Use groups for connecting with like-minded professionals, and consumers looking for advice or your services
- Have clients become friends with your personal profile and like your business page
- Facebook ads can be targeted toward customers who pay taxes (everyone who is age 18 and up)
- With too much noise on Facebook, it takes longer to engage clients and generate followers
- The general, most active user base of Facebook may be younger than your target demographic, but you can use Facebook Ads to promote your profile or content only specific age ranges
- LinkedIn is a professional network making it ideal for B2B targeting including corporate and retail clients
- Gives you professional profile which improves visibility on search engines
- Stay up to date with accounting industry or any other sector you follow
- LinkedIn premium account holders get many benefits
- Obtain specific information about professionals
- Target specific individuals or businesses based on a profession, net worth, and business size
- Ideal for long-term engagement
- Known for its networking abilities to forge relationships between professionals
- Follow and connect with industry leaders, share your favorite content with your followers
- Get recommendations from your clients
- Use LinkedIn Pulse for publishing content
- Connections may take months to respond
- People are choosy with whom they connect on LinkedIn making it tough to build connections especially for beginner CPAs
- There are many dormant profiles
- Many people use LinkedIn only to sell creating negative publicity for genuine profiles
Picking the best social tool(s) for CPAs
Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn all have their pros and cons so choosing the platform largely depends on what you plan to achieve. Every platform requires a different marketing strategy and a unique communication style. Here's our take for you:
Twitter creates real time updates with instant reach to clients and colleagues. Hashtag search is very powerful on Twitter helping you to hear what’s happening around you, and understand the issues your clientele may be interested in. Use Twitter to send out instant reactions to latest developments in accounting or resolve queries.
LinkedIn with its professional abilities like recommendations and niche targeting has a clear edge over other platforms. Use your LinkedIn to tout your background, resume and qualifications. LinkedIn with its gradual yet sturdy approach makes it good for connecting with corporate as well as individual clients. Moreover, Facebook is the most casual and informal platform with its eclectic user base, but it's great for referrals.
Remember, as a company use your social media to experiment, evaluate, analyze, and change your strategy as needed. Through these techniques your business will maximize its ROI and create a road map that can be used to guide your social media successfully. Use these pros and cons and find out which social media tools work best for your CPA business.