It’s pretty much a given that you’re going to want to have an online presence for your firm. Not interacting with social media is akin to businesses not having an ad in the Yellow Pages of yesteryear – it’s financial suicide.
But with so many social media outlets coming online how do you know how to invest your time and effort to get the most bang for your social media buck?
Be willing to refocus your efforts
To start things off let’s be clear that marketing is fluid – to be effective you’re going to have to adapt to the impact (or lack thereof) of your social media marketing. When a particular marketing effort works, great, see if you can push this particular avenue of attack even further.
At the same time, if another plan of attack isn’t working out at all don’t be afraid to change it, or abandon it altogether. You’d be surprised by how many people waste a lot of time by not letting go of failing enterprises when they could be shifting their focus to far more profitable marketing ventures.
Be a sniper
Shot-gunning your marketing in all directions is a waste of time and money – you’re hoping to hit fish in an ocean instead of in a barrel.
Instead, steer your social marketing towards channels where you know that people who can use your services are already grouped together. This will of course depend on your firm and the niche it services – if your business is geared towards being the go-to firm for new business owners then your clients will congregate in different online groups than if your business was focused on being an SMSF firm.
That being said, you’ll rarely go wrong starting with three of the biggest social media outlets – Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. In each case, hunt out groups of people formed around the niche you serve. So for example if you’re focused on new businesses see what groups currently exist around that topic, as opposed to some general accounting chat group.
If there aren’t any such groups in existence that’s all the better because you’ll get to form the group yourself and steer its course. This automatically gives you some standing as an authority figure on the subject of your particular niche.
Use available social media tools to save time
It can be a huge time-sink to try and post to all of your different social media outlets over and over again. Luckily there are a slew of programs out there that allow you to send the same content out to all of your social media accounts at once.
You can also enter a bunch of content all at once and then pre-schedule them so that they’re released to the public on any day of your choosing, even months down the line.
The most well-known of these programs is probably HootSuite, which also allows you to have multiple authors contribute to your social media accounts.
Use multiple authors
Speaking of which, you don’t have to do all of the writing for your social media yourself. At the same time, if you’re a smaller firm you’re probably not going to want to pay for a full-time PR person.
That’s fine, all you have to do is share the joy with your employees. You can either have them pass their content through you for approval, or you can give them access to post content themselves.
You can schedule a particular employee to provide an article or tip, say, once a month. This article can either be under your firm’s name, or you can allow it to be posted with that particular employee’s own email and other contact addresses.
This can be especially handy in introducing your firm as a place with multiple pros in a variety of accounting fields.
Let others help you find new content
You don’t have to come up with all of the bright ideas for tips and articles yourself. One way to get ideas is to check out what your competition is doing. Read their online blogs, visit their websites, follow their various social media accounts.
Take note of which kinds of posts they make that have a lot of interaction (comments, Likes, ReTweets, forwards, etc.) and which don’t do so well. See which topics hit a nerve.
You can use Google Alerts, a free program from Google, to send you emails when topics with your chosen keywords hit the web. You can use this to keep up on info relevant to your niche (so you can be the first to disseminate it to your potential client base) or use it to follow your own firm to see when it is mentioned online.
Another great way to come up with new content is to just ask your readers. They’re the ones you’re trying to impress anyway, so why not let them clue you in as to what they most want to read about?
Bonus Tip – you don’t have to follow everybody back
Once your online presence starts to blossom you’re going to be followed by hopefully hundreds and then thousands of people. There’s just no way you’re going to be able to keep up with that kind of a tidal wave of information.
So don’t worry about following everyone back. Think about celebrities – there’s no way Hugh Jackman is following back everyone that follows him on Twitter, and nobody expects him to.
If you want a really focused incoming stream of updates then focus on following the real movers-and-shakers of your industry, and people who have their own large following. In the latter’s case if you put out an especially helpful post and that person with the large following shares it on you can end up introducing yourself to an audience many times the size of your own.
If worse comes to worst then many social media programs have methods for organising your followers into groups. You should also find that you’re able to hide news coming from certain people, freeing up time for you to read the information you actually want to see.
The key to all of the above points is that you shouldn’t be afraid to experiment. The digital world is constantly changing and to take advantage of it you should feel free to change right along with it.