Social media marketing (SMM) is a way of life for all small-to-medium businesses (SMBs), including accounting firms.
Yet marketers and business owners may still need some convincing that the time invested in social media can generate returns for your accountancy business. More than half of all marketers (52%) told Adobe difficulties in accurately measuring social media ROI as their biggest source of frustration with the medium.
It’s clear social media interaction presents a great opportunity for accountants to generate leads and customers. And we’re here to help you take advantage of that opportunity.
If you’re struggling to climb aboard the social media marketing train, we’ll show you the benefits of SMM for accountants. With statistics and know-how, our tips for accountancy social media marketing can help with lead generation and business growth take off.
1. Save Time And Money On Customer Service
We’re fast approaching an age where customers won’t recall a world in which social media wasn’t part of a corporate/SMB marketing strategy. This is especially true with customer service issues or product feedback generation. The statistics back it up: over 2.5 billion comments are left on Facebook business pages every single month.
Brands that don’t optimise the appropriate social media platforms make life very hard on themselves. Increasingly, it closes off customers from contacting you, meaning then need to invest in the staff within your business to answer customers’ calls or respond to letters. The damage to your brand could be very costly.
The great news is that it’s free and easy to interact with customers on social media. Research shows 71% of customers will recommend a brand who offered a quick response to their enquiries or support requests on social media. In an immediate feedback, responsive service culture, such figures are hard to ignore.
Some business owners are afraid of the consequences of opening themselves up for criticism on social media but, if you focus your efforts on those who are genuinely looking to interact with your business, you needn’t worry.
2. Understanding Your Audience
Are you still wondering how to improve your customer service?
We’re big advocates of listening to your customers. We don’t know any other way of working. This comes in handy when working with social media.
Listening to your customers and understanding their specific needs can save you time. Supporting a customer's individual needs, through a private message on Facebook, can deal with a problem immediately, instead of a dissatisfied customer posting negatively on your company's public page.
A critical factor to consider for social media marketing is that your customer service is human and personable. Using a robotic, automated reply can come across as impersonal and can be avoided. Instead of replying to your customers as if you are reading off a script, show your customers a tailored and personal response which includes their specific needs.
This is crucial in order to satisfy your customers and make sure they are happy with your services. Potential customers can now see your customer service skills socially, which can introduce a new audience.
3. Accountants Can Find New Customers
All social media platforms allow you to search for companies by industry, locality and a host of other criteria. Despite not being the largest social network, 8 out of 10 B2B companies and small businesses are on Twitter.
For accountancy firms hoping to reach SMBs, this means that your future customers are online - and Twitter is a great platform to search for, and connect with, these potential customers.
Social media has been used to attract potential customers for a number of years now. Gone are the days that social media was just used by teenagers to find out the latest school gossip. Social media is a hive of business activity these days and, if you aren’t making your presence known on these platforms, you’re getting left behind.
Digging deep into the digits on your business development through digital marketing? Download our free ebook, “5 Ways To Grow Your Business” a great growth guide for accountancy firms.
4. How to Search For Customers
Now we’ve told you where your potential customers are spending their time, what can you do about it?
Different social media platforms have different ways of searching for customers. Twitter is one of the most intuitive allowing you to create and then click on hashtags (#). For more tips on using hashtags to find new customers and leads, read our article Twitter for Accountants: How to Use Hashtags.
Twitter also allows you to follow companies and then suggests other similar types of companies to follow. Once you have followed them, if they see your business as valuable, they are more likely to follow you, especially if you post great content. Spending some time each day on Twitter is a great way of building a list of prospects.
LinkedIn works slightly differently than other networks and the free version is designed to only allow you to connect with companies you already know or have a previous relationship with. As HubSpot researchers have discovered, the best way to search for customers on LinkedIn is to join relevant groups and discussions online.
Once you have searched for and identified new potential leads, a carefully planned marketing strategy is essential to attract, convert and then close those leads into customers.
5. Attracting New Leads
Accountancy marketing needs to align with sales, and social media holds the key to helping sales teams generate and close leads. Social media offers business development personnel access to corporate level (C-Level for short) personnel.
What Are C-Level Sales?
It requires meeting directly with the executives at a prospect’s firm. Usually, they have a budget authority, so a deal can be closed swiftly. It rings true as a strategy: the decision makers that cut out the red tape of a sign-off are obvious, sensible targets. Good news: you’ve got a way in with social media.
More and more C-level executives do business via social media than any other seniority level customer-side. Almost two out every five respondents (39%) to the State of Inbound 2017 Survey indicated they preferred to communicate for business purposes via social. Compare that with the C-level, where social media has a greater use: 44% of CEOs and CMOs indicated they preferred these channels.
6. Give The People You Target, What They Want
You know the old breakup line, “It’s not you, it’s me?”. When you encounter an unfollow on social media, it’s the other way around. That’s why curation of content is so important.
One thing to remember about effective accountancy social media marketing is that it must create a desire within your target audience to engage. Social media platforms fail you when you endlessly promote your business or service: it’s ineffective because it makes the conversation all about you and what you’re up to, not the audience and their needs. Doesn’t sound very ‘social’, does it?
Using your social media platforms to advertise an individual’s concern (e.g. staying on top of tax changes) could really reach out to your target audience and make sure you are understanding their needs.
You need to provide useful, relevant content that will be of interest to your ideal customer. Curation of non-original content within your industry (think trade publications, trade organisations) is what makes your account a must-follow and sets a visitor on a buyer’s journey.
7. Optimise Your Profile
If I already have healthy relationships on social media, what else do I need? Good question.
Having healthy relationships on social media is only one oar to your boat. The other oar is optimising your profile in order for your business to be successful. Without both, you’ll simply be floating around in a circle. Your profile is usually the first thing a new consumer will look at and how you appear in the search results.
So, how can you optimise your profile? Here are 4 essential tips to help:
- Pick a profile picture that stands out. This picture will accompany your profile and all posts made by you on social media. Some users will determine whether to follow your business based on your profile picture. You are looking to stand out in the news feed. You might be tempted to opt for your company logo and this can be a good way of being easily identifiable and keeping a consistent brand. Try to think outside the box a little and think what else it could be that might make you stand out more.
- Make sure you specify your location and hours. Exact location and hours are crucial bits of information that should be clearly stated across all your social media accounts. These bits of information should be changed when appropriate, even if it’s only temporary.
- Including keywords about services and products of your accountancy firm. These keywords are how consumers will find you in search results and how your profile can be linked to them. This is key for optimising your profile as you want consumers to attract all potential customers. For example, for your accountancy firm, consumers might be searching keywords like “top accountancy firms” or “local accounting firms.”
- Utilise banner images to display what current activities or offers you have going on at that current time. Your social media presence should be fluid and ever-changing. It should represent the face of your company and it’s a great opportunity to let people know what you currently have to offer.
Remember, your social media profiles are a key representation of your accountancy firm and its personality. Don’t give the millions of users that come across you on social get the wrong idea about your business by displaying a lacklustre profile.
Accountants: Be More Social
These are just a selection from a number of benefits to using social media as an accountant. Ensuring you provide excellent customer service is a vital tip to improving your social media health and creating a stronger relationship with your customers.
Don’t forget, targeting your customers’ individual needs will also strengthen your relationship as you are seen to be putting their needs above yours, to promote the business.
We hope this has inspired you to become a social media user, and further investigate ways in which a fully optimised social media profile is an investment that delivers great ROI and discernible long-term benefits.
Read this blog: 4 Benefits of Hiring a Social Media Agency; find out how we can help your social presence online.