Social Media Made Easier 

by Carl Peterson, CPA, CGMA 
Published July 06, 2016

Is your firm still waiting to join the social media party? Or have you made a few efforts with results that have been a little underwhelming? Small firm practitioners may not feel they have the time or resources to maintain a social media presence. Before you give up, though, keep in mind that social media can be an effective way to maintain and enhance important client relationships, which are a hallmark of small firms. They can also be particularly effective in communicating with and recruiting younger clients or staff. As the Social Media Matters guide in the newly updated PCPS Social Media Toolkit explains, social media can:
  • Establish greater online presence and create or enhance brand awareness. When prospective clients or referral sources look for expert help in their area or in a specific field, you’ll be easy to find.
  • Create legitimacy as an expert and a go-to resource. Your postings can help establish your knowledge and experience and help in recruiting clients and staff. 
  • Improve availability to clients. A quick exchange on Facebook or Twitter can help them feel more in touch. 
While “social media” encompasses many platforms and types of communication, don’t let it overwhelm you. These steps can help you create a customized plan that achieves your goals without demanding all of your time.

Set Your Goals and Determine Your Time Commitment
What are your social media objectives? They might include raising your visibility, highlighting firm members’ expertise or communicating your knowledge in key areas. Once you’ve determined what you want to do, it will be easier to decide which platforms or types of communication best suit your needs. To finalize your plans, it’s also important to consider how much time you want to spend on your social media efforts. According to the PCPS toolkit, here’s the time investment for several key options:
  • Facebook: For set-up, expect less than one hour for account setup, incorporating basic information and inviting some friends to connect. That generally translates to two hours to set up and populate a company page. Ongoing recommended time investment for effective use is 10-20 minutes per day, three to five days a week.
  • Twitter: Set-up time should be less than one hour. Estimated ongoing time investment for effective use is between five and 30 minutes per day and it’s fine to skip days, but not weeks.
  • LinkedIn: Consider investing at least two to three hours to setup key profile areas and develop full lists in certain sections, such as your job history or your publications. Update and/or maintain your LinkedIn profile regularly, including important changes to your current job accomplishments, list of publications and other aspects of your professional background and qualifications. A monthly update should not require more than an hour of your time or make casual updates as needed.
  • Blogging: It’s best to begin with at least 10-12 live posts and to add fresh material as often as possible to encourage readers to return to your site. The length of a typical blog may vary, from 300 to 750 words, so the time commitment will also fluctuate, depending on the research involved and the word count.

Check Out Your Choices
Before you get started, learn about the various social media platforms and link them to your goals so that you can use your time more effectively. Luckily PCPS has already done some of this research for you, in their recently updated Social Media Tools Comparison in the toolkit. For example:
  • A blog on your site or another platform is a great way to demonstrate your expertise in topics that are important to your clients.
  • If you’re promoting a firm event, LinkedIn is a good choice. It also allows you to reach out to contacts when they receive a promotion or hit an important milestone.
  • Facebook can help you connect with clients or potential clients and keep up with developments in their business or personal lives.
  • Twitter is useful for meeting new people with similar interests, getting answers to business questions and introducing contacts to each other.

Get Ready to Be Connected
Not sure where to get started? Use the updated PCPS Social Media Toolkit as your introduction and go-to guide. Your social media efforts can showcase your professionalism and demonstrate why your firm is a great place to work and do business with. Once you get started, you’ll be amazed at the connections you’ll make.


Carl Peterson, CPA, CGMA, is the AICPA’s Vice President of Small Firm Interests.  Have questions for Carl? Contact him directly at cpeterson@aicpa.org or 651-252-4618, and tune into his free Small Firm Update webcasts.



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