Beware of this trap if you use social media as an accountant

Dec 6, 2022 | Linkedin, Marketing and promotion, Social Media, Sole practitioners

Accountants may not always be who they say they are online.

If ever accountants needed proof that different social media platforms attract different people I think we now have it. A recent report in The Times revealed something quite shocking about the hashtag accountants. On reading this I then referenced the report on Linkedin and learned that I am certainly not alone in my ignorance.

Whenever I talk with accountants about Linkedin I encourage them to see it as an online business networking platform. Indeed, for most of us, it is probably the BEST online business networking platform.

I entirely accept that some people can and do treat it as just another social media platform. This can put some accountants off, but it’s easy enough to avoid seeing too many ‘social media’ type posts simply by choosing carefully who to engage with, connect and follow. And by unfollowing the people who post stuff you don’t like.

I have long been careful about who I agree to connect with and which posts I engage with on Linkedin. As a result I avoid the posts and people who (in my view) are simply wasting time or treating Linkedin as just a variation on Facebook.

As I always say, “If what you are doing online is working for you, then carry on doing it”. But I also say “Never believe the hype. Never feel that you ‘should’ be doing more online – especially if you aren’t confident that you would be able to reach your target audience – or even know who that would be!”

Linkedin and social media platforms are only worth your time, effort and money if you start with clarity of purpose and know who you most want to impact and influence on each site. And, this is especially true if you are using any social media sites in an effort to generate business.

I don’t have the time to post and engage regularly on a range of sites – especially as I am confident that I will not find my target audience on them. I think this approach makes sense and makes life easier for anyone who is ‘time poor’. I often share this and related advice with members of my Sole Practice Club.

Which brings us back to the shocking (to me) revelation in the Times: The word “accountants” is being used on social media as code for “sex workers.”  I should add this was part of a larger article referencing a range of hashtags that are not what they seem!

The comments on my Linkedin post referencing the Times story revealed that some people are more familiar with what goes on some social media sites than I am. As I would expect.

My first Linkedin post on the topic generated dozens of comments from accountants who were as surprised as me. My second post was a poll which suggested that almost a third of respondents were already aware that #accountants was being used by sex workers.

Piecing together what I have been told and doing a little (careful) research online I can explain what appears to have happened here:

The misuse of #accountant seems to date back to a 2020 music video titled: “I’m an accountant”. The singer is Rocky Paterra, who felt it was too hard to explain what he did as an actor and musician so he said he was an ‘accountant’ believing that people wouldn’t ask for further details. The video has been viewed over 2 million times on TikTok alone.

During the pandemic many first-time sex workers took to online content creation platforms in record numbers after losing other jobs or needing a more socially distanced form of ‘entertaining’ clients.

Due to increased moderation on some social media platforms many sex workers then adapted Rocky’s viral video to promote their services.

Now it seems there are loads of variations online with people lip synching to Rocky’s words while dancing suggestively. The videos are tagged using hashtags such as #accountant, #accountants, #only accountants #accountantsoftiktok, #imanaccountant, and #spicyaccountant while captions reference the reality of what the worker really does.

TikTok does seems to be the most mainstream social media site where the *confusion* can arise. I certainly got a shock when I popped over there to check if this was true!

So far as I know you’re quite safe to assert that you are an accountant on facebook, youtube, pinterest, twitter and instagram. Please let me know if this is not the case!

I know of at least one young accountant who generates all his leads on Instagram – winning similarly-aged clients in their twenties who spend all day on the platform.

As I always say, “Go where your audience is”. His isn’t on Linkedin. I’m unlikely to reach my target audience on Instagram or Tik-Tok.

Wherever you are thinking of being active online, choose carefully and, before deciding which hashtags to use ALWAYS check what else pops up when someone searches for them on that platform!

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