Social Media Marketing for Accountants and Bookkeepers

Join Charles Clark, Marketing Director of BOMA, and Kat Clark, Social Media Manager for Xero Australia, as they address ‘everything’ social media for Accountants and Bookkeepers.

During this webinar you’ll learn:

  • Why you should be using social media
  • What are the different social media networks
  • How to approach and use the different networks
  • What content to use for social posts
  • How to build your following and engage with your audience
  • How to leverage social media to grow your business
  • Understanding social media analytics, the key terms and what’s important
  • Tips & tricks

NB: You can also read a full transcript of this session below.



‘Social Media Marketing for Accountants and Bookkeepers’ Transcript

Charles Clark:

Hi everyone. While we’re just waiting for a few more people to join, just like to take a quick poll on how you use social media. I’m just going to launch that now. Just take a few minutes to fill it out while we’re waiting, it’ll give us some insights and then we can share them back to you as to how your fellow accounts and bookkeepers are using it, so it should pop up onto your screen about now. We’ll just give another minute or so for a few people to join. As I said, if you could fill it out, be really interesting to see how you guys are using it, and then we’ll kick off end of the presentation.

This is encouraging. I can see that at the moment 90% of you are using social media for business, which is great. Facebook and LinkedIn seem to be the most popular. Facebook’s definitely the most popular. Few challenges in there, which we can talk about as we go through in a minute. Cool. Well, I’ll leave the poll running for another few minutes and we’ll get started. Welcome to BOMA Social Media Marketing for accounts and bookkeeper’s webinar. My name is Charles Clark and I’m thrilled to have Kat Clark joining me. We’re not related, just in case you are wondering. It’s just one of those crazy coincidences. Hi, Kat.

Katherine Clark:

Hey. Yeah, thanks for having me. Looking forward to sharing some tips and experiences.

Charles Clark:

Fantastic. Kat is the social media manager for Xero Australia, so really thrilled to have her on, I think she’ll add a lot of value and hopefully we’ll be able to answer any questions if you have them. If you do have any questions, feel free to pop them into the chat box and we’ll try and answer them as we go through. And there’ll be time for questions at the end as well.

Also, for those of you who have accessed the workbook, you should have got that in an email in the last couple of hours. If you hadn’t, I’ll just flick it through into the chat box, so that’s coming through now. So if you click on that, it will actually take you through into the Google Doc where you’ll see the presentation and you can take notes from.

Great, so let’s kick off into this. And I’m going to kick it off with really the question that I’m asked all the time by accounts and bookkeepers, which is, why should I be using social media? Really that’s just a place where lots of people go to post pictures of their pets and maybe their kids. How for me as a business owner, why should I be using it? And I think Kat, you’ve had this experience a lot and I think we were talking about it earlier and you summed it up really well I think.

Katherine Clark:

Yeah. I think social media’s obviously grown so much in the past several years, from not existing to coming into existence to now being I think very vital honestly, because people will go onto social media, look at your website to get an idea of what your business is like. I’ve heard people who say, “If that hairdresser, accountant or car service isn’t on social media, how do I know if I can trust them?” I’m sure there’s Google reviews, but seeing things like Facebook reviews or that they have a social media presence and that they are responsive is just so important, super important, which you probably know from your day to day experience.

Charles Clark:

I think that’s a great point. If you think of a lot of your clients themselves will be business owners, so they might be retail or a business or I mean it could be any number of things, and most of them will have social media presence themselves. So both they’ll use it to find that information, but also as we’ll show you in the next sort of hour, it’s a great place to share more than just I suppose your website as a place where you can talk about your products and services.

Social media is where you get the opportunity to really showcase your brand, your personality, have comments, have conversations with people. So it’s fantastic for brand awareness, it’s great for networking and it’s great to really, I suppose, put a bit of personality and help distinguish you in a really crowded marketplace, what makes you and your firm interested and unique and to give people a bit of a flavour of what it would be like to work with your entity, whether you’re on a consistent basis.

There are tonnes and tonnes, I mean hundreds of social networks out there, but we are going to concentrate on the big four, so Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. We are concentrating on these ones because they are the biggest and the most relevant and they’re where your clients and prospective clients will be and where you’ll get most bang for buck in terms of … we know you’ve got limited time to spend on social media, so we’re going to concentrate on the main ones that will give you the most return on your investment.

So Facebook’s obviously … there were ones before Facebook, but this was the one that really sort of got global attention and really sort of started off the social network space as we know today. It’s got staggering numbers. Every month, nearly two and a half billion people log into it. So really if there was only one social network that you were on, this would be it for your business, you just really cannot go past Facebook.

Katherine Clark:

Yeah. I think one of our first points we wanted to go through was like, how do you get started? Social media is … I mean, you probably already on it or if you’re not, it can be quite intimidating to know where to start. So writing down goals at any stage in your journey is something like we really encourage. If you’re already doing it, that’s fantastic. When you approach Facebook, you can look at a few things. Are you looking to build more fans and followers? Is it reviews that you want to build? Do you want to start engaging with new people and getting business out of that? Is it clicks and building attention to your website lead to revenue? So yeah, so just starting out, this can be really helpful just to help get it clear in your mind and so you can build tactics that really fit well into these goals.

Charles Clark:

I think also important, whether you are just getting started or you’ve been doing it for quite a while, when you write down these goals, then you can go back in a month or couple of months and you review them. Did you achieve what you set out to do? And if you did, that’s fantastic, you can do some new goals. If you didn’t, then you can say, “Okay. Well, why didn’t I? Was I not posting enough? Was the content not quite right? Do I need to rethink which networks I’m on?”

As with everything, have some goals and then you can measure them and then you’ll actually see the progress. Otherwise it’s a bit like, well, how’s Facebook going? Oh, it’s kind of going okay, we’re mumbling along with it, but you actually won’t really know where you want it to be and what success looks like unless you’ve actually stated, you’ve written down this is what success looks like, this is the goals that we want to achieve.

The first place to start on Facebook is kind of also the most obvious, is update your profile. I like to think of my profile as if someone who came onto Facebook and looked at my company Facebook profile had never heard of BOMA before, didn’t know what we did, maybe they had just been told by a friend, “Look, you should go check out BOMA.” Or maybe they had come across a piece of content and they thought that looks interesting, I’ll see who BOMA. So really use this opportunity to have everything on this page that you would almost on your website, so you’ve got short bio, so we’ve got admission, so this is exactly what we do.

We’ve got all our contact details, we’ve got the longer form section which is about, so it talks about our skills, our expertise, who we are targeting. Again, as an accountable bookkeeper, this is really the opportunity that you could really talk about what you specialise in and what makes you unique compared to other people out there. Also a good idea to put your phone numbers and your opening hours. I can’t tell you how many people don’t and actually it’s really useful for someone who’s looking for you to be like, “Oh, right, there’s the contact details, I’ll give them a call.” And that’s kind of an easy way for you to immediately make that connection. If you make it difficult and they have to look for the information or maybe go back to your website or sort of go to a directory, it’s too hard and they’ll probably look somewhere else.

Cover photo, this is the opportunity on Facebook to really make the most of the fact that it’s quite a visual platform. The first thing that often people will see is your sort of banner ad. So you can see here on the left we’ve got our brand and this could be a photo, it could be your logo. And then on the right here we’ve got a lovely big space, which we’ve used to sort of tell people about what it is that BOMA does. But you could equally use this to have a photo of your team maybe in an event you were at recently, it’s really the sky’s the limit here.

And as Kat always says, “Being creative on social is really the best place to start if you are sort of wondering what to or how to get started.” Other things you can put on here is if you ever have a website or in this case a webinar that you’re promoting or something that you want to learn through [inaudible 00:10:33], again, you can put that into your profile. Calls to action, so you were telling me really how important these are.

Katherine Clark:

Yeah, absolutely. So you can never assume that the person viewing your post knows what you want them to do. It can seem very obvious when you write a post, but we always like to include it at the very end just to remind people or just make it obvious. On social media there’s so much content and people don’t have as much time to read through and decipher. So having really simple call to actions like the ones here, so just register here, that’s obvious. Or if the people want to learn more about BOMA, they could learn more. Other examples are like watch this video, click this link, contact me. Just really, really clear and simple so that you save them time and encourage them to follow you on that journey onto your website or your event, whichever, whatever you’re looking to do.

Charles Clark:

Exactly. Well, sorry.

Katherine Clark:

There you go.

Charles Clark:

I was just going to say, politicians will say, they talk about the importance of hammering home the same message. So you can see here, we didn’t just have one call to action, we had two. If I could’ve, I probably would’ve fitted in a third somewhere. So just you think it’s obvious but when people are quickly flicking through their social feeds or on their phone, they might miss the first one or maybe register here, doesn’t appeal to them but they want to learn more.

We’ve used a couple of different calls to action because people, sometimes different language appeals to them. So whether it’s the ones we have here or it could be contact us to learn more. Say you have a video or it was to a blog, it could be read more. There’s lots of different calls to action. And what I would say is test what works best. So if you try a post and you have one call to action, you could try another post with a different call to action and see which one got the most engagement for you. You might find that your audience likes a certain type of or set language more than others.

And obviously once you’ve gone to all the trouble of setting up your Facebook page and judging by the results of the poll, it looks like 90% of you do use Facebook, which is fantastic. So you’ve gone to all that effort. Now don’t forget to tell people about it. I’ve got a couple of examples here, one is in my email, I’ve got all our social networks channels are there and if a user clicks on those, they’ll go through to the channel that they’ve clicked on.

And you can also see here down the bottom, we’ve actually got on our website those same channels as well. And I know that’s when I’ve been working with a lot of accounts and bookkeepers, I’m thrilled to say that most of you do. But I just pointed out as it’s kind of really best practise. But that’s not where it stops. If you are speaking to people on the phone or you meet them in an event, you can tell them about the fact that you have a Facebook page. Similarly, if you’re sitting out a newsletter you could say, “Look, we are always posting good things onto Facebook, why don’t you follow us?” And you can actually invite people to follow you. So lots of different ways, you don’t just have to sort of wait for people to come discover you, you can help them in that process.

Katherine Clark:

Yeah. I think that you covered that one well Charles. I think, yeah, so the other thing we wanted to discuss was having an action plan. So knowing when you’re getting started, it’s a good way to form a habit as well. And once you’ve started doing a daily kind of social media suite and dedicated time, it just becomes kind of part of your everyday work life, so like checking emails.

You could create a calendar invite maybe the first 15 minutes of your day just to block out some time where you can look at Facebook and start visiting other pages that you follow and you can start engaging and commenting and liking on those ones. Maybe you can spend some time following some new pages in that 15 minutes and planning your posts. I think we mentioned you can schedule posts, which is really good. We do it at Xero, I think BOMA as well a few times a week or month depending on what’s happening.

And it’s a great way to get the timings right which we’ll go into more detail later. We’ve just included some examples of things. You don’t have to do them all, but yeah, for example, responding to all of the comments and your thing, so overnight you might have posted something on Facebook and maybe two people commented like, “Oh, thanks for sharing.” And then it’s always good to just engage back with them or answer any questions so that people know that you’re not just putting content out and ignoring it. Yeah, it’s not a good look if you’re just shoving content out, which I think you probably are aware of. People want to get that engagement back, they’re liking and commenting for a reason.

Charles Clark:

And as we said, I mean these are just some ideas here. People, look, you may have more time to do this, you may not have enough time. I think one of the tips we would say is be consistent. So if you, when you were setting up your goals that we were talking about just before, if your goal is to send out two social posts a week and that’s all you can do, that is fantastic. Or if it’s five, that’s great. I suppose the key is be consistent because if someone comes to your Facebook page and they see that the last time you posted was December, 2018, what would the value be for them to follow you because they know that you are not posting, they’re not going to see any interesting news or blogs or sort of insights.

Even if it’s just once or twice a week, that’s fine, that’s enough to show that you are active and engaged. And it’s kind of really, you want to make social media work for you. It doesn’t have to be a chore if you sort of, as Kate was saying, almost have it set as a little meeting every day or even once or twice a week you can sort go in there and get it done.

And I’ve just seen a comment from Henry who says that he posted Facebook three times a day, first thing in the morning around midday and in the afternoon, which is fantastic. So fantastic he’s got that discipline that works for him, which is great to see.

LinkedIn. We’ve followed on from Facebook because really LinkedIn is sort of the Facebook for the professional world and in the past people used to think of it as a great place to have your resume and to look for jobs or to look for people that you might want to employ, but that’s kind of that used to be what LinkedIn was. But really as social media has evolved and LinkedIn has as well, it’s really now a fantastic place where you can use it to follow people, expand your knowledge, network, and obviously look for jobs and look for other people. But it’s really a fantastic professional resource for you that Kat and I just really recommend that. I’m sure most of you are on there as well, but even your business should definitely be on there as well, because if someone is checking you out as a prospective client or employee, they’ll always look at your LinkedIn profile as well.

Katherine Clark:

I think we just got a question as well. Casey, so you asked, is there a programme you use to be able to work out your posts of the week and then schedule them? And a lot of the channels let you schedule natively, so that means you can just go into them and Facebook has a scheduling system. And there are plenty of tutorials too online or you can ask us if you want help and direction on that. There are also programmes like Hootsuite or Salesforce has one or those are the main two I’ve used, I don’t know, you’re using as well.

Charles Clark:

I mean, we just use BOMA ourselves. And then BOMA you can obviously schedule everything as well. So the great thing is if you’re having trouble working out what you want to say, Xero actually has a tonne of content in BOMA as we’ve got other publishers as well. But if you’re ever wondering what should I say or there’s been a regulation change or I want to talk to my clients about a specific topic, you can always go into BOMA and choose that topic and then you can post it out on social and the social posts are already written for you in BOMA. So if you want to customise them you can. And then obviously as we’re talking about scheduling, then you can schedule them for a time in the future, whether it’s later on that week or later on in the month, that will work for that particular post.

Other things you can do on here are obviously, it’s not just about having your skills there but you can also have articles. So if you’ve written articles or if you’ve got endorsements, there are great place to have, they’re great to have on your LinkedIn personal or business page. Also client testimonials, so we were talking about having reviews on Facebook, super, super powerful if you have client testimonials on your LinkedIn page. Social proof is pretty much the number one way that people will use to validate without speaking to you in person or use to sort of make sure that your business is everything that you promise.

And so these could be along the lines of clients that you’ve worked with in the past, maybe they do it, maybe you ask them to do it or maybe you’ve done a case study. Really I think it’s people used to refer to word of mouth as the way to do it and I know that word of mouth is still really critical for accounts and bookkeepers. What I would say is that research has proven that 80% of times when someone gets a referral through word of mouth, they always go into your website and your social pages. So great to have it from one person but if they can go into your social pages and your website and see a whole raft of testimonials and quotes from happy clients, that’s super, super powerful, so something to consider if you haven’t got those already. So building connections.

Katherine Clark:

Yeah, very important. Building connections is both I think important on a personal level, so you can add people on your own professional network. So yeah, building them for your company page. LinkedIn, it’s a great source of endorsements for your own self. Obviously if you’re looking for a new job, that works too, but it’s also a two way thing. So if you are looking for new employees, it’s a great way to reach out to your networks or their networks and find the right people for the job.

And also your clients, your clients are all on LinkedIn or most of them would be, so that’s yet another connection that you’d build out there. And yeah Grace, I’ve just seen your question, so you’ve heard of companies managing LinkedIn pages for their staff, would you recommend it or just stick to the company page and allow staff to do what they like? I think that comes down to your company yourself. I personally think it’s good to let your staff manage their own profiles and encourage them to share news about your company. So using them as a voice and further amplify of your messaging.

I’ve seen situations where maybe if your staff aren’t comfortable or they don’t know how LinkedIn profile, sorry, LinkedIn works and what they should be writing you can help maybe like giving them access to BOMA is pre-written LinkedIn content. That I think is a really handy way to start becoming comfortable, like having the copy ready for them and the content ready. But I think long term strategy, you want them to learn the platforms themselves or be more proactive in accessing BOMA’s content on their own rather than you having to force feed and log in for them, that’s my opinion. But Charles I think you-

Charles Clark:

No, look I completely agree. I think ideally they would be all doing it for themselves I think, which speaks to authenticity, they will know how best to communicate to their networks. It could be that you give them some content and say, “Hey, look, here’s some great content.” Or maybe it’s a topic, like we want to talk about an event that’s coming up, could you post this to your networks so you could help give them some guidance because as Kat was saying, sometimes people are too busy or they’re not sure what’s right, so guidance is always appreciated.

But I’m sure most people, they’ll always have something that they can post. Another quite useful thing is if you’ve got a fantastic blog or there’s been a success or an achievement at your firm, that’s another great thing to post out. They can post out some information that is relevant to them in their role in your business. Or if you guys won an award, a fantastic thing to be posting about. And actually the [inaudible 00:24:19] came out a couple of weeks ago and we were lucky enough to have a whole group of BOMA customers who are on those awards so we actually posted out congratulations and we tagged them and then they thanked us for tagging them, so there was a sort of nice communication there. So whatever way you want to do it, there’s lots of ways that you can, both you as a business page and also your employees or people within your team can be posting out on the networks too.

Groups, and we were talking about LinkedIn as a fantastic place to really expand your knowledge in your industry and sort of meet interesting people. These groups are a few that I’ve taken from my LinkedIn profile, so it’s all about marketing and technology and SaaS. And obviously if I saw an accounting friends ones, it would probably be much more reflective of the industry that they’re in. This is just an example, but I use these groups to do lots of things. I use them to bounce ideas off other people, find out new ideas, often they’re advertising courses or conferences that I want to go on or events that I can attend in my area. They’re just a fantastic place to start. I suppose expanding your network and sort of using it is almost sort of an upskilling tool that doesn’t actually cost you anything. You use groups I think as well you were saying.

Katherine Clark:

Yeah. I think our Facebook group is one of the biggest group. So you might have seen Xero partner group on Facebook. And I think it’s great because it’s people who are like-minded and the same situations or maybe they can give you different perspectives on the same topics and really good way to keep on top of important information, legislation changes, changes to software, just really good kind of forum for that.

Charles Clark:

Exactly. And also, look, you’ll never know who you might meet on there, whether you meet them for the first time in LinkedIn and then you meet them at an event or you meet them at an event and then connect on LinkedIn. A great place to build out your own professional network. You never know if you’re looking for someone to employ in the future or you yourself are looking for another opportunity, so lots of different ways to use LinkedIn.

And obviously one of the critical ways is to share content. I suppose one thing to keep in mind is that the sorts of content that you share across your different social networks, you have to approach them a little bit differently. This is of a blog post that we did, and to be fair we did post the blog post in very similar ways across Twitter and Facebook as well. However, if I was just posting to Twitter, I might be a little bit, if I was posting about a commentary about something, I’ve only got 280 characters so it might be quite punchy, it might be a very sort of controversial view and that’s great because Twitter’s all about a conversation.

On LinkedIn, nice to have a conversation but equally it’s a bit more professional and so you might want to be a bit more measured in what you’re saying. I think things do stick around on LinkedIn and it’ll be on your profile so just be aware that you want your LinkedIn profile, whether it’s your personal or your business one, really the best example of what you personally and what your business is doing and talking about.

Katherine Clark:

I just saw another question from Darren. So the question was, what is tagging? Which I think was what you referred to a couple of slides ago. It’s just mentioning someone, so you can mention a person or a company page on LinkedIn and it’s across all channels, so it’s not just LinkedIn, on Facebook you might … If you use Facebook actually, you might see people tagging each other in Facebook posts, maybe news articles. So they’ll type the ads at and then their name and then click on the profile and it gives them a notification that you’ve mentioned them and either it can be used to draw awareness to some social media posts or it could also be used in a thank you post or an awards post like Charles mentioned, where you congratulate these people and the benefit of that is also that other people can see and they can click through to those profiles and see who the winners were and maybe start following them.

Charles Clark:

Fantastic. And like how you clicked through a little bit early into Twitter, but that’s where we [inaudible 00:29:06], great. Twitter, as we were alluding to in the previous sort of comments about it is, really it’s the most realtime global social platform there is. And if you open your Twitter feed at any one time you’ll just see a screen of comments and insights and links coming through. So it really is, it’s kind of the most up to date and a great place for a business to be on and a great place to share insights and commentary but also a great place for you to start to follow influences and people that might be of interest for you in your professional capacity.

And so you can see here I’ve just sort of ramming home the point which is your Twitter page, which is where all your tweets will congregate once you post them is another opportunity for you to brand your business. Again, tell your story, make it really clear what it is that you do for people, what makes you unique. And again, I suppose one thing just to point out is just to make it consistent, so just that you’re branding, your logos, your messaging are all consistent across all your social channels and your website.

Now this doesn’t mean that you can’t change it up from time to time and we’ll talk about that in a minute, but just to make sure that there’s a consistency of message and a brand. And again that just goes to if you are sort of a viewer going on and you see conflicting messages across all the different social channels, as a customer it just sort of says, “Well, do they really know what they’re talking about? Do they really have a clear understanding of what they are?” Whereas if you have a very defined and disciplined message, then it’s very clear for the user again to understand who you are and what you’re all about.

Retweeting, this is really, really powerful, and this is a retweet that we did actually of this webinar. And although some of the numbers don’t look huge, so we got five retweets, a comment and 14 likes, we actually got over 4,000 impressions, so 4,000 people saw this. So retweeted it and I don’t care that you guys do a lot of this at Xero as well.

Katherine Clark:

Yeah. What I always do is if I see that a post is doing really well organically, so that means if we just post it as itself, then I might even boost it with some money. So you can put maybe like $40 into a post and that will get it seen by a much bigger range, much wider audience. It’ll reach people that haven’t interacted with you or people who might have clicked on your profile once. So yeah, a really good way of knowing what to boost is the content that’s performing really well on its own. And I think, yeah, so that’s one way of doing it, retweeting is the other way of getting it because Twitter’s a very noisy platform and people are going to scroll through and miss things that you post. So if you retweet it at another time or day or re-post it then yeah, that’s going to help. But yeah, I think that’s-

Charles Clark:

Yeah. And as Kat said, you’ll be reaching new audiences, you might have people who have a bit of free time in the morning and that’s when they check it. But equally you might have some people who it’s only when they put the kids to bed at sort of 8:00 a night that they actually have the chance to go through and check their feed. And this applies to all social networks. Do think about the different times that you post and we’ll cover this in a bit more detail a little bit later on, but it’s really good to be aware of your audience and when they like to engage.

And I’ve just had a question from Grace who says that we’ve been sharing content, we’re quite new to it, but how do we get more followers and what are your thoughts and accountants doing the whole like and tag a friend thing? So a couple of questions in here, we’ll be talking about how to get more followers in a couple of slides so I’ll hold off onto that, and then what are your thoughts on accountants doing the like and tag a friend thing?

I think all engagement is good and I know Kat’s got a few things to say about this, but there’s nothing worse than being sort of a lurker on social media where you sort of watch everything but you never get involved. So take the opportunity to like things, to comment on them whether they’re yours or clients or colleagues. And also if you have a good post or if you’ve got a social page, don’t be afraid of inviting your friends to like it, to follow you, all great ways that you can start to get the message out there.

Katherine Clark:

And I think also you asked Grace if it’d be worthwhile doing a giveaway of some sort and I think competitions are like, yeah, they are a good way to get that initial following. So yeah, definitely recommend testing it if you’ve got an idea of what you could give away, what your audience … The thing is I think you don’t want to do a giveaway which will just draw a whole range of people that might not be your target audience. So you need to think carefully about what would interest my clients or potential prospective clients. So just being really strategic about that so that you don’t end up building a following of just I guess the general public that won’t do much for you and then they after the competition will question why they’re following you and probably stop following you. So yeah, just being very careful about that.

Charles Clark:

And I think that’s a good point, and I mean one of our users is based in a rural town in New Zealand and one of her big target markets is farmers and obviously horticultural growers. So in this case, if she was going to do a competition, she could write the copy of the post in such a way that it really called out that she was higher farmers and horticultural growers out there, we’re going to do a free farm audit for you into here with your details. There it’s really clear who you’re targeting if you are a retail business or immediately you know that it doesn’t apply to you because they’ve called out the fact that it’s for farming and horticultural people.

And then for the horticultural people you’ve told them what the value is. So follow our page and we will give you the chance to win a free audit. Again, you are giving them a lot of value and all they’re giving in return is following you. Obviously the benefit to you is that by then following you, you can then start to build that relationship with them, send them, have more content, they’ll see what you’re doing and ideally in time then you reach out either with a phone call or an email and start to really build that relationship up. And actually just follows into what we were saying Kat.

Katherine Clark:

Yeah. I guess with Twitter especially, but all the channels, one of a good piece of advice is just like don’t be shy. It’s good to just start off by getting involved in conversations. Some advice would be monitor your favourite hashtags, if people are mentioning you, if you’re getting notifications that they’ve tagged mentioned you, follow up on that, create some conversation around that.

Yes, it’s really important to stay active as Charles has said before because people, they won’t see the value if they’re following you and nothing’s happening. So yeah, don’t be shy and it’ll help you in many ways, so it helps position you as like leader expert, if you are getting onto the trending news, you are one of the first people to talk about certain topics that they’d be interested in.

I think also one more point would be if you’re getting negative comments or complaints, the approach we take at Xero is always to be really upfront. We don’t ignore them because people obviously they want to know how you respond to those kind of things and if you ignore it or shut them down, that’s going to ruin that relationship and it’s not really treating them very fairly, so that’s how we do it here.

Charles Clark:

I think that’s really good point. Obviously social media is social and so people see that. I think if people see that someone has a complaint, and look, let’s face it, at some stage everyone will say, “Look, something’s not quite right.” And it may even be something really minor, it doesn’t really matter. The important thing is that you make the effort to try and resolve it.

And the key thing here is that other people will see that you tried to resolve it and they’ll think, okay, these people, they care, they’re genuine, they want to make a difference. They didn’t, as Kat was just saying, sort of just shut me down. And I think this links on to a question from Darren who said, “Can you block certain people from following?” And I would say, yes, you can block them, so on all the different channels you can block them. What I wouldn’t say is if someone has had a complaint to block them because then you are just kind of ignoring the problem. Obviously if they’re being abusive or posting inappropriate content, definitely block them. But asking questions or questioning why something happened is definitely an opportunity for you to show how engaged and the fact that you care about your clients, so actually look on as an opportunity.

Katherine Clark:


Charles Clark:

Instagram, so we’ve saved this to last because in a way it’s kind of the most different network, it’s the most visual. And a few years ago everyone would’ve said, “Look, that’s just for the young people, the Gen Y and millennials.” Look, they’ve all gone on to Snapchat, which we’re not going to deal with today. And now really Instagram is in a place where individuals and companies and brands can tell stories in a really visual way.

If LinkedIn is really the place where you can write about stories and share commentary and sort of interesting things like this, then Instagram is a really great place where you can have a bit of fun with your brand. And so as before, your profile as ever is the place where you’re able to tell people about it. What you can also do here that not everyone knows is you can see here we’ve got our website link because Instagram doesn’t allow you to put a link into … not at least a link that will automatically click through into their post, so that’s a key difference because Facebook does.

But if I go onto the next slide, you can see here that we’ve actually put in here a whole different message into our bio. This one is talking about today’s webinar and then if we click on the link, it’ll go through to the registration page that all of you signed up for. The great thing about that is that I can reference that in a post, I can say, “Here’s the post and see link in our bio.” And that’s a really clear call to action that people know where to go and they don’t have to go off of the channel that they’re on off of Instagram to find out to our website, they can just sort do it all in there. This is for an event that we hosted, but again, it could be a product or a service, it could be a case study that you’ve got, it could be some research that you conducted. It could be really anything that you want to link to. This is a great spot and it’s a nice bit of real estate that you can use. Hashtags, this is Kat’s favourite bit

Katherine Clark:

Love hashtags, yeah. Hashtags are so important, especially we’ve gotten a few questions about how do you build a new following. One of the best ways is to use them, to follow them, to jump into conversations around them. So like what are they? I guess in a way they act as a mini search engine, so you click on one of those hashtags and you can see all the content, all the pictures on Instagram, all the tweets on Twitter. It’s also relevant to Facebook and LinkedIn and you can see all the images, all the posts that have been shared around that topic. So yeah, it’s a great way to get on board on what’s trending and start getting involved in those online conversations.

It might be hard to know what hashtag should I be following, what hashtag should I be using in my posts? We’ve got some category examples like industry hashtags, events usually have hashtags, you might see holiday hashtags. A way to find them if you are not sure where to start is just by observing and saying, what are my competitors or peers, what are they posting? And then you can start recording, keeping a list maybe of those hashtags and then making sure that you apply them to your posts. And as we’ve said a few times, just testing them out. So if you’re finding that these 10 Instagram hashtags aren’t doing anything, maybe you need to reevaluate and just make sure that you’re not just using them for the sake of it as well, that it’s actually relevant to what your post is about. You can see in this post here.

Charles Clark:

Yeah, exactly. I mean, you can see here. So we’ve got accounting bookkeeping because that’s who we are wanting to target. We’ve got Xero because obviously we are doing it with cap from Xero. Social media marketing, that’s the topic. And then we’ve got BOMA marketing, which is our hashtag. So whenever you click on BOMA marketing on any of these social networks, up will come all the posts. So a great way for someone to see everything that you’ve posted and a really nice way for you to keep a library of everything.

As Kat was saying, if you’re moving into this thought leadership space, an idea could be that you put your brand hashtag and then you could sort of say tax regulation or something like that. When people were searching for tax regulation up would come your post. And if you do it quite a few times, then up would come all of your posts and then they start to get the feeling that actually you guys are talking a lot about this, you must know what you’re talking about. If I want someone to work on taxation for me, I should find out more about you.

So creating bold images and I stole this one, well, I didn’t steal it, I bought it from Adobe. But I think this speaks to Instagram particularly, but also it’s applicable across all your channels. And that is people are flicking through their social channels pretty quickly and oftentimes on a mobile device. So think about an image that’s going to be bold, something that’s going to really engage. If you have a boring image or something that’s kind of not very interesting, why would someone stop as they flick through at high speed? Whether it’s your own images, so it could be of you guys at an event, it could be of your office, could be an event you’re going to, someone else’s event.

So Xerocon’s coming up, we know lots and lots of accounts and bookkeepers love to post from there and which is great because it positions you as [inaudible 00:44:55]. There’s lots of benefits in even image with a couple of hashtags, you don’t need to write a lot of content especially with Instagram, which is the beauty of it as it’s a very visual medium. So if you just wanted to post having a great time day one at Xerocon, hashtag Xerocon, hashtag your business name, that’s fantastic. And then that’ll be added to the library of all the other posts that have been seen for that event.

What can you share? We’ve talked about all the different channels and we’ve given you some ideas and we know it’s quite hard to know what to share and obviously we talked a little bit about BOMA having all the content and all the Xero content in there. But there’s lots of other things that you could be sharing as well. So in terms of reminding clients, I know that in New Zealand there’s a GST, it’s coming up on the 28th and in Australia it’s BAS is coming up tomorrow. Great thing just to tweet out or do a Facebook post.

So just reminding them of important events or maybe just it’s Melbourne Cup coming up, it doesn’t necessarily have to be related to, it’s not all worked, you can have some play in there. So that’s just sort of an idea about reminders. And then obviously news, this could be news about big events, news about changes within your client’s industry, something that would affect them, things that they will find valuable and interesting. And I know obviously Xero does a lot of that. I think you’re always posting about regulatory changes and things like that. Things that you know that your partnership base will be interested in.

Katherine Clark:

Yeah. A lot of it is about adding value to your audience’s life. So when you think about this, it’s the same to when you, I don’t know, maybe share an email out to your clients. You want to think about what information is important to them or will be interesting to them. And on the point of, you don’t have to always just share about business related things. You can talk about maybe certain holidays or cultural events. You can jump on those hashtags and create some conversation around there and maybe try and tie it into what’s relevant to accounting and bookkeeping.

Charles Clark:

And another idea is to boost your client’s brands. So if they’ve done something really interesting, whether they’ve got an event or they’ve had a big success or achievement, anything like that, obviously it’s great for you because then people know that you have lots of interesting clients and it’s good for your clients because you are helping them amplify their message and their success and you are basically spreading the word that they’re a great business.

Obviously if you do it for them, more likelihood that they’ll do it for you. And that’s I really think one of the guidelines for social media is that the more you get involved, the more you engage, the more you’re active, the more people will interact to be active with things that you are posting and commenting on and liking and engaging with.

And then lastly, just as much as sharing other people’s great news is important, blowing your own trumpet’s really important as well. So if you’ve had a great success, if you won an award, if you’ve changing offices or expanding, that’s fantastic. All things that people love to hear about and definitely don’t be afraid of tooting your own horn on social media. When to post, and this is kind a technical one, so I’ll leave it to you Kat.

Katherine Clark:

It is something that’s really important to consider. Timing really is everything. And once again, thinking about your audience, thinking about what they want to see but also when they can and when they might be online is really important. So for us, the different channels I think have slightly different … I’d have different suggestions for each of them. If you think Twitter, LinkedIn, probably more of the professional one. So your clients might be more inclined to check those during work hours because it’s more related to work in a way. So you could look at posting maybe in the lunch break section or maybe in the early morning when they just think about you start your day, you check your emails, you check your social media feeds, that’s a good time.

I think the commuting times before and after work are also useful times, maybe 8:00 to 9:00 AM or 5:00 to 6:30 PM kind of timing. And I think that’s when you can play around more with Instagram and maybe Facebook. But I’m not saying it’s a hard and fast role as well. So really important to experiment because people who follow Xero accounts or my personal accounts are very different. So your audience might be different in that sense too. So just test out some different times and see what’s working best. And then also don’t become I guess too stuck in a way too because if you just think, okay, midday, lunch break, that’s the only time I’m going to post, it might work for a while, but then what if … People change the way, habits of using social media change, so don’t always … just keep experimenting and working out what’s working best.

Charles Clark:

I’d also add, we were talking about Twitter and LinkedIn being quite sort of businessy folks and professional, so highly likely as Kat said, that people are checking them during the week. Are you going to check your LinkedIn at 9:00 on a Sunday morning? Probably not. Much more fun to check Instagram and Facebook. So again, the channels do work in slightly different ways. If you wanted a general rule of thumb sort of weekday mid mornings, you can’t go wrong. But again, you need to test out, you need to find out when your particular audience is online, when they’re engaging, you might find that actually certain posts on one channel work better late afternoon when people are commuting or on the weekend. Unfortunately we can’t give you any specific rules, but as you get more used to posting and you post more, you’ll get a definite sense of what’s working-

Katherine Clark:

A kind of pattern.

Charles Clark:

Yeah. And then this kind of goes back I think to Grace’s question, which was, how do I grow my social following? We’ve got a couple of tips here and I’m going to cough, I’m going to let Kat-

Katherine Clark:

I think we’ve already talked about a few of these things. So setting goals across your platforms, that will mean that your tactics will be really strong and that you’ve got something to come back to and benchmark against like, am I fulfilling these goals? Am I doing my 15 minutes per day? Am I actively thinking of new content to share? Knowing your audience, I think I’ve said it a million times now, but that’s really the most important thing about social media is if you’re just posting and not looking at the results and you’re not looking at what they’re enjoying and what they’re reacting to, then you’re just going to lose your audience.

Following relevant accounts, and you’ve probably noticed this on your personal, if you’ve got Twitter per se. If you follow an account, they’re very likely to follow you back, it’s the same with company pages. If you’re not following anyone else and you’ve just started out, how are they even going to know that you exist? So something like an exercise you can do in your 15 minutes per day is just maybe looking at a couple of accounts that we’ll be posting, things that you can reshare or things that you might be interested in and learning from.

And another thing we suggest is adding follow buttons to your comms. Like Charles pointed out in his email format, you can have the social media buttons there because once again, people might search for your account and they probably will search for it on say Facebook and follow you. But you need to act quite active with it as well. You can also add links to your website, so at the bottom. I know myself, if I am looking up a business, I guess it’s because social media is my life, but I will always go straight down to look at what social media channels that they’re active on and how engaging are they with their followers, so I think that’s really important.

Charles Clark:

And don’t forget your newsletters as well. I mean, I know a lot of people will either send out newsletters once a month where you might send out regular newsletters. Again, you don’t just have to have the icons down the bottom. You could put up a little section saying, “Follow us on LinkedIn or follow us on Facebook.” Again, we talk about calls to action, be clear about what you want them to do. And in this case you want them to follow you to grow your followers, then ask for it. If you don’t ask in social media, you definitely won’t get most of the time.

And I think the last thing we were talking a little bit about earlier was, you can do social ads. So in BOMA you can do social ads, you can obviously do social ads natively as well. And you could be specific about who you wanted to target. So if you wanted to target people who worked in retail and were interested in certain things and you might base this off what you know about your current clients and you might say, “Look, I want to choose a location around me.” And then you could actually go out and you could promote, and it could be that you promote your business or maybe you could think a bit more, sort of feel about it.

And maybe it’s a competition or an event that you’re hosting. Just all the ways that you can engage people and whether you get them to follow you or they sign up to an event and then you get their email and then you can start to engage with them like that. Facebook, all the social channels are a great way for you to expand your reach and really tell people about what it is that you’re doing.

Cool. So the last point is that, that all sounds great, but how do I get started? And Kat did allude to this, but before in terms of when she first started, she would observe what people are doing, build her confidence, start with liking people, maybe making the odd comment. I think that’s super, super valuable advice. You don’t have to go out all guns blazing and join up to every single network out there and be posting 10 times a week. You could start out with, in the case of most people who answer the poll, Facebook and LinkedIn, that’s a fantastic place to be as you start to grow on confidence and be used to writing copy for social, you’ll grow in confidence and before you know it, you’ll be maybe posting a bit more regularly or expanding to different channels. Do you have anything to add on that Kat?

Katherine Clark:

No, agree completely. And I think when you observe as well, you’ll notice I guess the differences in writing style for each of the channels as we kind of covered too. So seeing how other people do it can just help you get into that mindset and understand [inaudible 00:56:46]. I think that’s everything for me.

Charles Clark:

Well, I just think the last thing I would say, and again this comes back to a question earlier in terms of, should we run our own LinkedIn profiles or should we have them run by the company? Again, lean on your colleagues so it’s not just all down to you to be tweeting and posting and putting out videos and photos about your business. You could rely on your colleagues. So whether they see something interesting online and they flick it to you and say, “Hey, this is a really great article, why don’t you post it out?” Or they start to amplify the things that you’ve done, so you post [inaudible 00:57:29] business, and then they like it, they tweet it, they forward it, they comment on it.

And so that’ll go up to their network. So if you’re a sole trader then it probably is all down to you. But for everyone else, if you’ve got even just a couple of colleagues, get them involved and you’ll be surprised that sharing a burn like that, it actually will become much more manageable for you. Look, and just before we go, I’d just like to share the results of the whole, just so you can all see what everyone said. So it looks at 75% of you are using social media, although some of you are just using personal use.

Facebook and LinkedIn far and away the most popular. Looks like a small amount of you are using other, which I’d be very interested to know what they were. Are they Snapchat? Are they other social networks? Knowing what to post was the main issue. Obviously knowing how to use the platforms at the right time, but knowing what to post. And I think that’s where something like BOMA is so useful. You can go into BOMA, we’ve got hundreds and hundreds of articles that you can send out via all the different channels and you can customise them, you can also send them out in long form as emails.

And so that really takes away that guesswork because not only do you have to know what to post than you have to craft it. And Kate and I, I know has spent merely an hour sort of crafting the content. Although to reiterate Kat’s point earlier, it doesn’t always have to be perfect. And I’m not saying that you can’t obviously have spelling mistakes on your posts, that’s not great. But don’t obsess too much over having the absolute most perfect post that you sort of spend five days going on, because by that point things have moved on. So if you’ve got something interesting and fun to say, as long as it’s spell checked and it makes sense grammatically, put it up there.

Katherine Clark:

And you’ll get better at it. The more you do it, the better. Writing for social media, it’s a skill and you just practise it and then it’ll become easier and more effective.

Charles Clark:

Exactly. Now it looks like, gosh, over 70% of you are in Facebook and LinkedIn groups, which is fantastic. And interestingly there looks to be quite a variance in terms of how often you guys are posting. We’ve got pretty much even between a couple of times per day, couple of times per week or a few times per month. I’m quite surprised by that. I thought it would definitely be a lot lower, but yeah, interesting to see that so many of you are selective, which is great.

And so I just wanted to move on questions. We’ve got a couple of questions and obviously if you guys have got any more questions, we’ve still got a couple of minutes, so please do flick them through. One from Stuart, which is, “Is BOMA going to create a mobile app?” At the moment it’s not on our roadmap. But having said that, you can access BOMA through your iPad or through your smartphone. As long as you’ve got Safari or Chrome or anything like that, you can actually log in and use it just as you would on your computer.

The browser experience on your mobile phone, if it’s a very small mobile phone, obviously it’s not as easy to see things as if it was on a bigger screen, but you can definitely do everything that you can on your main app. And then a question from Annette, who said, “What channels would you recommend for vlogs and short videos? Insta, Facebook, are they worthwhile?” What do you think, Kat?

Katherine Clark:

I think videos, something that all the social media channels are really pushing. They’re just really encouraging it. So video content, the algorithms in the channels seem to really preference them and put them first and make sure that they’re seen by more people. I think Instagram and Facebook are great places, you can play around though, because Twitter also has the offering and so does LinkedIn. I guess it also depends on what the content is. I think if it’s more of a fun quick update, you might want to post that on Twitter and Facebook, Instagram, but if it’s a longer more technical video, you might want to try LinkedIn.

Something else to consider is there’s live videos, so you might want to do a Facebook Live or maybe a Twitter live video or even the 24 hour stories that … sorry, Instagram has a very heavy focus on now. At Xero I’ve done a few around visual events. People might want to see what you’re doing there and you can do quick vlog style snippets of people. So yeah, I guess I wouldn’t say there’s just one channel or two channels that you should use, vlogs and short videos on. It just depends on what the content is. But definitely if you are comfortable at that level, you should definitely be posting them and creating them.

Charles Clark:

Yeah. Also one place to mention that we haven’t talked about today is YouTube. So great place to upload, you can actually create a channel, so you could have … We’ve got the BOMA channel. I’m sure Xero has their channel and we put up all our webinars, all our short videos, so everything that we put up on across a lot of our social networks, we also pop onto YouTube, is just a great place. Obviously people also can search it because you’ve got tags on YouTube and it’s a really easy place for you to have all your video content and sort of one easy to find place if you don’t also have it on your website.

And then one question from Nicole who says, “Is BOMA thinking about SMS broadcasting?” Actually we are, just as soon as there’s I suppose enough people who show interest then we’ll add it in. So if any of you are BOMA users and you’d like to see SMS, ping us a note on our … Yeah, you are interested, fantastic. So just ping us a note on our website and the more interest we have, the more likely it is that we can edit in. And also grace for reminders, that’s fantastic.

Brilliant. Okay. Well, look, if there are no other questions and do let us know, but thank you so much for joining everyone and thanks again to Kat. Fantastic to get your insight and experiences, especially from Xero, which I know everyone is obviously probably using themselves and for their clients, so just fantastic to have you along and we’ll see you next time guys. Thanks again.