Not too long ago, about 99% of my solo practice’s new business came from word-of-mouth referrals. However, in the past year we’ve gotten more than 50 new clients by taking some very easy steps into social media. Surprisingly, moving into this online environment wasn’t as difficult and time consuming as I had anticipated, and it’s inexpensive!
My Las Vegas-based practice does hundreds of tax returns, as well as compilations, reviews and financial audits. We also provide Internal Revenue Service representation and, since I am a CFF and CFE, I also do expert witnessing and fraud investigations, as well as insurance consulting and estate planning. Our team consists of me, a staff accountant, a full-time secretary and one part-time staff member.
Since social media is not my area of expertise, my daughter, who works in advertising, introduced me to the ad options on Google Maps. This feature causes my firm’s name and location and a link to our website to pop up on maps of our area. That has driven a lot of clients to my website—and it’s free!
My son, who is in law school, created my LinkedIn account and keeps the firm’s presence on that platform up to date. This is important because Google follows your level of activity on social media sites like LinkedIn, and more connections or other activity improve your Google rankings. The better your Google ranking, the higher your firm will appear in a search result list when clients search for a CPA in your area.
Taking advantage of these free options to increase my client base has only left me with one paid online promotion in the online Yellow Book!
How can other CPAs get the same level of new business from social media?
- Start now. The time is now and people won’t be able to find you if you’re not there. Today’s digital world definitely drives practice growth. Some of my new Google Maps clients chose my practice because I’m an easy walk or drive from their home or office. These clients are mostly small businesses, but some have multiple entities. I’ve also gotten some new international clients, mainly from Europe and Canada, who are seeking advice on doing business in the states. These clients, for example, have questions on incorporation and taxation since Nevada’s favorable tax laws are always of interest.
- Stay engaged. Fortunately, my kids continue to maintain my social media presence, but it’s important to have a plan to tackle and achieve your goals. Take advantage of the PCPS Social Media Toolkit to gain a thorough introduction to several social media options. This toolkit includes a step-by-step guide for setup and use, as well as a sample calendar of activities with an action plan that helps you streamline your social media activity with helpful reminders on ways to interact regularly and update your profile periodically. Take on this new responsibility or assign someone in the practice to monitor your social media accounts and keep them active. Even 30 minutes a week can help you reach your goals and expand your horizons.
- Beef up your website with new clients in mind. Once social media prospects find you and go to your website, what they find is critically important. I’m involved in many professional activities and organizations and have specialty credentials that showcase my areas of expertise, all of which are particularly reassuring in uncertain economic times. All of my new online clients tell me that they have checked out my credentials and affiliations. LinkedIn endorsements and recommendations also stand out to them.
Social media has opened up new opportunities I hadn’t previously imagined or expected. I’m grateful that my kids were able to help me take the plunge into this new digital world. Through this experience, I have also been reminded to not overlook the expertise and social media savvy of younger staff and family members, because you may be surprised by the many benefits of a social media presence.
Dennis K. Meservy, CPA, CFF, CFE, is a sole practitioner in Las Vegas.