“We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it.”
- Brand development and promotion
- Lead generation
- Networking and relationship building
- Highlighting firm relevance
- Client communication
The big question for firm leaders and practitioners is this. Is your firm using social media in the most effective way to connect with clients, prospects, recruits and referral sources?
Summer can be the perfect time to tackle projects involving business development, recruiting and networking. That is why this month’s Feature Focus is filled with insights, tips and tools to amp your firm’s social media.
Seven Steps to Turn Up the Volume
So what’s the best place to get started? Here are seven steps to consider as your firm looks to turn up the volume on its social media.
1. Reexamine How Your Firm’s Social Media Ties into its Overall Growth Strategy
Since social media is not a stand-alone strategy, it is important to have clear ties between your firm’s social media and its overall growth strategy.
- Does your firm have a social media plan?
- How clearly is your firm’s social media aligned with the firm’s growth goals?
- Who is leading this initiative?
- How is it monitored and measured?
Be mindful there is no one right way to do social media, do what is best for your firm and its audience.
2. Revisit Your Story
Social media is all about starting conversations with those you wish to engage. Telling your firm’s story is a big part of the dialogue. This enables visitors to learn all sorts of things about your firm before they ever meet you, such as:
- Your firm’s history
- Its culture
- What makes your practice unique
- What it is like to work at your firm
- How you serve clients
- How you resolve client struggles
- How your firm is involved in the community
Is your firm effectively using social media to tell its story and start new dialogues with those you want to reach? Are they knowledgeable about your firm when they finally connect? Are they asking about the things you want them to?
3. Reconsider Your Campfires
Although firm leaders and their tribes no longer gather around traditional campfires to share stories of survival and discuss the latest battle strategies, there are new gathering places or “virtual campfires” where those you are trying to reach gather. These new campfires provide a central connecting point where they can communicate, network, share new ideas and collaborate with peers. Each has its own unique characteristics and advantages your firm can tap into based on its growth goals and objectives. The Social Media Tools Comparison chart, excepted from the PCPS Social Media Toolkit, will help your firm determine which tools are right for you.
4. Review Your Content Strategy
Content is at the heart of social media. It is important for your content to be consistent with your firm’s overall mission, objectives and brand. The ongoing content your firm provides is instrumental in gaining the attention and trust of your audience.
- Do you have a content strategy in your practice?
- Who is responsible for developing content in your firm?
- Do you provide new content regularly?
- How does the firm tap into client challenges to develop new content?
- What content resonates with potential recruits?
- How does your firm use new trends to create content?
5. Examine How Your Firm Uses Social Media for Business Development
Buying habits have changed with the rise of social media. Today’s buyers want to be able to learn about your firm and the services it provides before they ever speak with you. And they want to do this when it is convenient for them. So the secret is in rethinking the way you share your message with your target audience. Is your firm taking advantage of this new way of buying? Consider these questions:
- Does your website tell the firm’s story to the buyers it is trying to reach?
- Does your blog highlight the firm’s industry expertise through case studies?
- Do you offer white papers with insight on hot topics of interest to your target audience for download on your website?
- Do you use your LinkedIn profile, Facebook page and Twitter feed to share new blog posts that you or your colleagues have written?
- Does your firm’s Facebook page highlight firm experts who will be speaking on popular topics at local events?
- Are you ‘Tweeting’ live from events where your firm is speaking?
- How do you track the activity generated from your website, blog and other social media?
6. Reconsider Your Firm’s Use of Social Media for Recruiting
Just like business development, social media can provide your firm with a powerful tool to win the interest of new talent. To be successful, it is important for your firm to share key insight with those you wish to attract.
- What is your firm’s story?
- How would you describe the firm’s culture?
- What is it like to work in your practice?
- What types of clients do you serve?
- What are the opportunities for growth and advancement?
- How does the firm give back to the community?
- What job openings are currently available?
Here are some ideas to consider in using social media for recruiting:
- Develop a special recruiting section of your website
- Create a virtual tour of your firm - videos are a great way to showcase younger professionals working in the firm
- Interview the Managing Partner to tell the firm’s story
- Do live Tweets and Facebook posts from community activities
- Post pictures of campus outings
- Encourage staff to post job openings on their LinkedIn and Facebook pages
7. Make Sure You Stay Connected to Your Clients, Prospects and Referrals
In between visits with clients, prospects and referrals, social media channels can provide you and your team with an effective way to stay in touch. When you meet with them, find out how they are connected and the best way for you to stay in touch with them. Use preferred social media to communicate regularly about the latest news happening with you and the firm:
- Upcoming speaking engagements
- New articles and blog posts
- Industry and community events where members of the firm will be attending
- New service offerings
- Job openings
It is also important to reach out to your clients, prospect and referral sources when you see a new thought leadership piece they have written, their business in the news or you learn they will be participating in an upcoming event.
Get started by taking a close look at your firm’s profile on the social media channels you choose to use.
- Is it up to date?
- Are your professionals’ profiles current?
- Are the messages about your firm and its brand saying what you want to say?
- Are new photos or videos needed?
A New and Improved Social Media Toolkit
As you review your firm’s social media plans and strategy this summer, know there is an updated PCPS Social Media Toolkit for you and your colleagues to tap into. To help member firms harness the power of social media, PCPS worked with the Association for Accounting Marketing (AAM) to update the existing toolkit, originally created by Michelle Golden of Golden Practices, Inc. It is filled with tools, resources, checklists and more that you can put to use right away in your own practice.
- Establishing a Social Media Presence Action Plan
- Social Media Guides and Tutorial Videos
- Social Media Tools Comparison
- Social Media ROI Guide
- Sample Analytics Social Media Tool
- Employee Social Media Training Presentation
- Social Media FAQ
Here’s to turning up the volume on your firm’s social media this summer.