The upside to social media is that it has the potential to bring explosive growth to your client roster. The downside is that it can be a tremendous time-sink if you’re new to the game and you can’t afford to hire someone else to handle your online marketing for you.
While there are all sorts of tweaks and fine-tuning that can help squeeze more out of your social media marketing over time, there are some more basic fundamentals that will help you to at least get the ball rolling.
It’s all an experiment
Don’t worry if one particular track of online marketing doesn’t work out for you. You’re allowed to have media messages that don’t connect as well as others. You’re always going to be looking for new ideas, A/B testing, and trying new tacks to draw in an audience. There is no “wrong”, there’s only learning.
Share and promote the content of others
We’re not saying that you have to wave a banner for your competition. Instead, look for Tweets, Facebook posts, LinkedIn posts, etc. from businesses and leaders tangential to your firm that you can promote and comment on.
For example, you can share around valuable messages posted by small or medium-sized business leaders in your area. By being active (sharing and commenting) you’re introducing yourself to the original poster, you’re introducing yourself to their audience, and you’re sharing valuable info with your own audience.
When you comment and get involved in the conversations started by others you’re also establishing yourself as an authority figure that can help them all with their accounting woes.
Let your audience tell you what is important to them
You don’t have to strain your brain trying to think up new topics for your social media messages. Instead, go through the comments of your audience and find the most commonly asked questions – these will become the subject for your next posts.
You’re not just sending out posts, you’re starting conversations
No dining and dashing! When your audience asks follow-up questions to one of your posts answer them in a timely fashion. This accomplishes two goals. First, it helps you establish yourself as the guy or gal with all the accounting answers at their fingertips. Second, it shows that you care about helping the people who are listening to you.
You want A-lister audience members
You probably have ideal A-list clients. There’s also such a thing as A-lister audience members. It’s much more important to cultivate the audience members who routinely share your posts or comment in your conversations than the people who touch base once and then vanish. These A-listers are much more likely to become paid conversions, and they do much more work getting your name out there for you.
Find a niche
We’ve talked in previous emails and blogs about finding a specialized niche for your firm, especially when you’re just starting out. It’s much easier to become regarded as the accounting specialist who focuses on (for example) restaurants than the account firm that tries to be all things to all people all at once.
That niche focus can also help you online. If you narrow your social media marketing into a laser-focused on cracking that example restaurant niche you’re likely to get much more notice than if you try to appeal to a much larger group that has more accounting firms already competing for their attention.
90% value, 10% promotion
People are going to get tired of you quickly if all you ever do is promote your firm. The vast majority of your posts should be efforts to give hints and tips and advice to your potential audience.
Here’s the sneaky part – all those posts giving value to others are still marketing. They’re building up good word of mouth about you, and word of mouth is by far the most powerful form of marketing out there.
Once your audience knows that you’re an awesome accountant who always has their back they’re going to be fine with you slipping in a bit of blatant self-promotion every now and again.
Above all else, be patient. You’re building an audience, and that takes time.