Social media has become a nearly ubiquitous part of our daily lives. An overwhelming majority of us have, and maintain, a personal social media account on at least one of the popular platforms, including: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn. Most recently, though, accountants have begun taking to social media in attempt to grow their practice. However, there are many slight mistakes, as well as frivolous activities, which are easily avoided with a little education.

Perhaps you have experimented with your personal social media profile, either as a way to build your brand, generate leads or maintain client relationships. While these practices don’t require the purchase of any expensive or specialized tools, or demand large portions of time throughout the day in order to succeed, you already have enough on your plate as an accounting professional. By investing a little time (and sometimes money), along with reasonable effort, you can begin laying the groundwork for your marketing strategy in attempt to successfully grow your practice through social media.

Nowadays, we are bombarded with advice on how to best harness the power of our social media accounts. However, it is important to note that not all social media strategies align with every type of business. Being part of a specialized industry, accountants have unique marketing needs, and not every tip you see online will provide the same desired results. Rather than list off all the things you should do on social media, we have compiled the most common mistakes tax professionals have made on social media, and what you can do to avoid making them yourself.

Don’t Overthink it

I think the best advice is just to not overthink it, and to get started,” said Jackie Meyer (CPA, CTC, MSA, President and Founder of Meyer Tax Consulting in Southlake, TX). If your firm does not yet have social media accounts, that’s a great place to begin. Continue by following relevant news outlets, as well as trade publications. Look for thought-leaders in the industry, and follow IRS social accounts. As you become more advanced, you can progress through the following items.

Don’t Assume Everyone on Social Media is Interested in Your Practice

Consider your audience – what are their personas? What will they find most interesting or relevant? Stacy Kildal, Bookkeeper and Founder of StacyKAcademy, advises: “Pick one channel your audience can be found, and with which to start such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. Once you have a handle on that platform, then move to another.”

Focus on developing a small, important community once you have successfully identified the medium that makes the most sense to your followers. Gaining 500 relevant followers is far more valuable than 5,000 random accounts, or even thousands spread out over multiple platforms. There are several tools readily available to help you manage and gain insights into your audience, such as: Sprout, Social and Hootsuite, to name a few.

Don’t Bombard Followers with Promotional Messages

Relevant followers will find major product updates, sales and promotions to be of most interest – but this shouldn’t be the main focal point of your content. Balance out your social media feed with a mix of educational content like tips and tricks, tax law updates and more, to see what appeals most to your followers.

Because your followers don’t want to be overwhelmed by your content, you should begin by following the 80/20 strategy. Keep your post schedule to 80 percent educational content, and 20 percent promotional content in order to prevent a stagnant page. Maintain a regular post lineup, as often as once a day to three to five times a week. This way you remain present within your followers feeds, without overwhelming anyone.

Avoid Confusing What Really Matters with Social Media Metrics

Don’t let yourself get caught up on the excitement of likes, engagements and number of followers. Your job as a tax professional, is to create value to current and prospective clients. Consider your social media accounts as an offshoot of your business, by focusing on creating valuable content, as well as educational opportunities for all of your followers. When it comes to a social following, quality over quantity is most important, not key performance indicators – your business should always be the central focus.

Harness the Power of Content Promotion

Something as simple as Facebook offers the power of boosting post reach and engagement, for target audiences, using small amounts of money. Once you observe a campaign performing well, either by click-throughs to a blog post, engagement with your content, or driving business conversations, you can begin increasing the money behind it, in order to expand reach and longevity.

Don’t Forget to Reassess and Adapt Your Strategy

The nature of social media is that audiences and platforms are continuously changing. Business accounts must continue moving forward with the latest features and trends on a regular basis. Begin by incorporating advertising and tech content into your morning news roundup, from publications like: AdAge, Mashable and Business Insider. If you try something new, and notice it hasn’t quite worked for your strategy – producing low engagement and fewer click-throughs – move onto something else. Your time is precious, and this allows you to change it up and try a new approach.

Which social strategies produced the best result for you? What techniques didn’t quite pan out? Are there any tips and tricks you would pass along to another accounting or tax professional, who may be using social media to boost his or her business?

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