Get more value from your firm’s social media presence
Your social media business pages are up and running, you’re posting regularly, you’re creating great content – but the comments, likes and shares you expected aren’t rolling in, nor are the new clients. Are you doing something wrong, or do you simply need to do things differently? As with other businesses, the key to successful social media for accountants and bookkeepers is all about user engagement.
Here’s how to draw people in and give your social presence a boost.
A one-sided conversation won’t cut it
Have you ever had a one-sided conversation and loved it? Probably not. It’s crucial to remember that social marketing isn’t just scheduling a post and moving on. When a potential client interacts with, replies or comments on your posts, it’s essential to respond – promptly.
According to this study, more than 80% of social media users expect companies to respond within a day or less, and this expectation climbs to 90% for millennials (in fact, 40% of millennials expect a response within the hour!) What’s more, research shows that over 70% of customers will recommend a brand that responds quickly to their enquiries on social media. Not only does responsiveness show that you are genuinely interested in clients, but it is also one of the easiest ways to improve engagement levels – by starting a conversation.
Our best responsiveness tip: prove to your followers that you’re not a bot by addressing them by name when you respond to comments. Even McDonald’s takes the time to do that!
Get engaged – with questions, that is
Following the importance of starting a conversation, including questions in your posts is a great marketing tool. When people read questions, their minds naturally begin to answer them, creating an inner dialogue that is much more difficult to ignore than reading a statement. You can also use questions to nudge people toward making contact. For example, “Started a small business and confused about your tax obligations? We can help you navigate your requirements – get in touch today.”
While not every post should contain a question, pepper them through your feed and you’ll notice a lift in engagement.
Sneak into their subconscious via groups
If you’re struggling to get your following off the ground, joining relevant groups and forums is a fantastic tool to generate awareness amongst your target clients. There are numerous virtual communities for accounting and bookkeeping on social media. It pays to identify any groups where you can add value – for instance, a small business support group.
The key to success within groups is to focus on talking about topics, rather than shilling your brand. Since you’ll be posting from your business page, there’s no need for further self-promotion (which can also be against group rules). Followers of the group will soon become familiar with your business name and associate it with expert advice – so next time they have an accounting issue, guess who will spring to mind?
Social media influencers are a relatively recent addition to the marketing arsenal but have proven to be worth their weight in gold when used correctly. Choosing the right influencer is just as important as what they post, as you’ll want someone who aligns with your firm’s values and personality, and is a natural fit for the topic at hand. How does it work? By having a person outside of your firm promoting your business, you extend your reach beyond your immediate network and potentially gain followers. If you choose the right person, you can also build credibility by aligning your brand with a trusted, familiar face.
Note – each influencer has unique expectations. While some may be happy to talk about your firm at no cost, offering something in return such as a discounted or free service makes them feel like they are in a win-win partnership. Well-established influencers with large followings often work via agencies and charge fees for their services.
Embrace the power of visuals
Humans are visual creatures – and that extends to social media. Scrolling through a purely text-based social feed would be a dull experience, as the eye looks for photos, images and anything that stands out. That’s why including visuals alongside your content gives it a better chance of being read, liked/favourited, commented on and shared than a text-only post. And there are some staggering stats to back that up – according to research, posts with relevant images get up to 94% more views than those without. So, if you can find a stock photo, take some product shots, use an existing GIF or create a video, it’s a sure-fire way to get your social channels working harder.
Timing is everything
Despite what you might think, social media users aren’t online ALL of the time. If you happen to schedule a post when your followers are offline, it could get lost in the social media shuffle. There’s no magic formula for when to post – as it does vary across different social media channels and what sort of schedule your clients (or prospective clients) work to – but getting it right can make a big difference.
The best way to get a handle on the perfect time to post is a combination of trial and error and referring to one of the many studies available online. With trial and error, try and narrow it down by considering who you are targeting and when they are likely to be on social media – for instance, are small business owners more likely to be checking socials first thing in the morning or the evening? Are you targeting 9-5ers who check social on their lunch breaks or on Friday at 3 pm?
Understanding and using hashtags
Often neglected by social media newbies, hashtags can have a big impact on your firm’s reach and engagement levels, depending on how you use them. So how do they work? Hashtags serve as an indicator (for both social media users and algorithms) that your piece of content relates to a specific topic or category. It makes your content easily searchable on the platform and essentially helps you reach people outside of your existing followers. Tools like HashtagsforLikes are a great way to find trending hashtags relevant to your firm that you might be able to jump on. Just don’t overdo it.
Some examples of relevant hashtags include #smallbusiness #smb #accountants #XeroCertified and make sure to have one for your business.
Remember, a social media presence is only part of the picture
Promoting your brand through social media is vital, but to feel the benefits, you need to drive engagement and extend your reach beyond your followers. There’s no foolproof formula for success, but implementing these simple hacks is a great place to start.
Watch our webinar on Social Media 101 for Accountants and Bookkeepers here.