Regular readers know I’m somewhat cynical about the so-called experts who tell accountants and other professionals why they should embrace social media. One of the arguments often used is to look at the success of early adopters.
When I spoke on the subject at the ICAEW I coined a new acronym that references five elements worth checking when you hear of someone’s business success using social media.
1 – Success
Start by considering the person who has been using or who advocates the use of social media for business purposes. When they refer to it being successful and worthwhile, what do they mean? What does success look like for them? Would you feel the time and effort was worthwhile if you secured similar benefits? Similar levels of new fees? Similar types of new clients? And so on.
2 – Clarity
Most successful advocates of social media have a simple clear proposition that distinguishes them from the other service providers. Is your own service proposition as clear and easy to distinguish from that of your competitors? It’s important to consider this both as regards the services you are offering and the target audience for these services. If that audience isn’t actively engaged on social media you are unlikely to replicate the success of other users whose target audience is active on social media.
3 – Objectives
This follows on from both of the above points. What is it that you want to achieve and how does it compare with the advocates who are seeing some success with social media? Often they will reference new clients who are themselves new into business. Plenty of them are active on social media. What about your target audience? It’s likely to be tougher to win new clients that are long established businesses – especially if the owners and decision makers are not active on the same social media as you.
4 – Profile
How does your online profile compare with that of the successful advocate? Most of them are admirably simple, clear, impressive and distinct. Unless and until you can replicate this approach you may struggle to replicate their success with social media.
5 – Engaging
How much time have they devoted to driving business success from social media and over what time period? Do they focus simply on business issues or do they include reference to their personal life and non-business interests? It’s probably the latter – which takes time. Is this an approach you would be happy to copy?
And when a visitor clicks through from the social media profile to the adviser’s website, how engaging is it? How clear is it to the new visitor that they have come to the right place? Are there suitable calls to action from or about the person they engaged with online? The chances are that their website is more engaging than yours. There’s a lesson here too.
The point here is that unless you do more than simply follow your competitors onto social media you are unlikely to replicate the success you hear they are achieving. And that success may or may not be attractive when you analyse what’s involved.
So there we have it, the five point SCOPE list that will help you determine whether and when to embrace social media.
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