There are two types of accountants who use social media and Linkedin:

  1. Those who have learned what works FOR THEM, and
  2. Those who have bought into the hype and HOPE that what are doing will prove to be worth the time and effort.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of accountants seem to fall into the latter category.  And, over the years, I have witnessed and heard from hundreds who have concluded that social media doesn’t work for them. Sadly they also assume that this conclusion can be extended to Linkedin.

Could it be though that it is their approach and technique is worth reviewing?

After all, advertising only works well for accountants if the adverts are well crafted, and are seen often enough in the right places by the right people.

‘LEARNING’ FROM OTHERS 

Many accountants are simply attempting to copy what they have seen others doing. They assume it’s working for them so they attempt to do similar things.  But there’s almost ALWAYS more going on than you might realise.

Some accountants are relying on advice from social media or marketing experts, unaware that, what is often, generic advice rarely translates well to the accountancy sector.

PROMOTIONAL ACTIVITY

In recent years, even so-called experts have begun acknowledging a key general truth about social media. This is that overly salesy messages do not perform well on social media or on Linkedin.

The same is true for most marketing and overtly brand awareness type messages.

These all typically have limited positive impact, especially for smaller brands – like most of the accountants I encounter. Few are able to build much brand awareness using social media or Linkedin.

Paying to post adverts on social media is a different topic and not the subject of this blog post.

GENERATING NEW CLIENTS

Before I explain how you CAN use social media effectively for promotional purposes, I should clarify a related point.

I have long maintained that it’s rarely worthwhile spending time on social media or posting content on Linkedin in the hope of finding new clients.

I’m never surprised that only a minority of the accountants I know of talk about having found new clients through social media.  And that, when I have asked, many of those new clients were relatively new start-up businesses who were attracted to similarly new accountancy firms.

If that is what you want then by all means copy what you see those accountants doing on social media.

WHAT WORKS FOR OTHERS?

Before you try to copy what someone else does you need to decide whether you would be happy with the same results that they secure.

It’s rarely worth simply trying to replicate someone’s style and approach to posting content on social media or on Linkedin.

If you think this is working for them, keep in mind that there are likely to be a bunch of other factors at play. These will include how often they comment and interact on other people’s posts (and on their own) and how engaging are their profile and website. So do check these out too.

I’m not suggesting you copy these, but do bear in mind that when social media works as a promotional tool it is due to a combination of factors.

There is no guarantee that what other accountants are doing is working of course. Sadly a lot of the advocacy around different social media platforms is just hype. You will often find people who claim that what they are doing is worthwhile simply to justify to themselves and their family and friends the time and effort they spend there.

KEY ADVICE

My advice to accountants who are keen to secure valuable promotional and marketing benefits from being active on social media or on Linkedin is to adopt a local, community or sector specific focus. Rather than posting and engaging with anyone and everyone, be more selective.

Unless you have a rare and seriously specialist area of expertise there is little point in you building up a follower base spread around the UK or the world. And yet most activity on social media and Linkedin is available to the world at large,. Few of the stats we see allow us to determine where our new connections and followers are. We have to investigate that one by one to identify those who may be really worth getting to know.

So why seek to boost your follower numbers without giving any consideration to where they are or who they are?

In most cases ‘quality’ should be far more important to you than ‘quantity’. And what will determine who are ‘quality’ followers and connections? It is likely to be because they are involved, connected or interested in the same locality, community or groups as you.

So be more focused than the herd and:

– join relevant groups on Facebook (and Linkedin)
– post and comment on relevant local, community or sector specific topics
– only both using popular hashtags that are already being used by others in your area/community/sector
– include your social media account names on local marketing and promotional materials
– seek out and follow, connect, help, support and engage with key individuals, influencers, suppliers, customers and personalities.

LINKEDIN VS SOCIAL MEDIA 

You will have noticed that I continually reference social media AND Linkedin. I find it helpful to recognise that, despite some similarities to social media, Linkedin is the only online business networking platform.

Many accountants will get better and faster results from focusing on Linkedin than you will from spending time on any social media platforms. I say that as it is invariably the case with the accountants I speak with.

Social media platforms, such as Facebook, X/Twitter, Threads, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and even Tik-Tok may work better for you but only in one situation. That IF you know that the people you most want to influence are active on that platform and will see your posts there.

This is quite different to the advice you might see elsewhere that starts by quoting how many people use each platform daily. These numbers are rarely relevant unless you are targeting people of all ages all around the world, or even all around the UK. And even if you think your service could be widely applicable to such people they are not all your target.

MY SIX STEP GROWTH PROCESS 
To summarise I offer you a six step GROWTH process in answer to the question “How can I use social media to promote my accountancy business?”

1. Clarify your GOALS

WHY do you want to promote your business on social media and Linkedin? Presumably it’s to help you generate new clients? What sort of new clients?

  • Simple tax return only clients?
  • Higher value tax return clients?
  • Small hobby-style start-up businesses?
  • Established businesses who are not happy with their current accountant?
  • New clients who want specific services and would be willing to pay for them?

There are so many options and the more specific you can be the easier you will find it to use social media or Linkedin to successfully promote your accountancy business. (Indeed the same point applies to all forms of marketing activity you might choose)

2. Clarify your REGION

As explained earlier, your social media and Linkedin activity has a greater prospect of being successful if you focus it ‘regionally’ be that locally, community-wise or making it sector specific.

3. OBSERVE others

Check out what other accountants (who have a similar focus to you) are doing and on which social media platform – and on Linkedin too. Look beyond the content they post, check out how much they engage with other people’s content. Also look at their profile on the site(s) and their websites too.

All of this can be just as crucial in ensuring that any leads they generate online actually get in touch.

4. Decide what you will count as a WIN

Clarify what return and impact you would need to get (and over what period) to justify investing time and effort on promoting your accountancy practice on a specific social media platform.

Could you get a similar or better return by investing comparable or less time (and money) on more focused ways of promoting your practice?

5. ‘TALK’ more

Any online activity is only a starting point. Take the time to connect with, engage with and contribute to posts, groups and people who fit your target audience or who could help influence them. Ideally look to TALK with them in real life or over Zoom/Teams etc.

6. Tidy up your online ‘HOME’

Remember to update your profile on each relevant platform to ensure it will positively impact the people you most want to influence. Do the same with your  website so that everything is congruent with the messages you are sharing AND likely to further engage your target audience.

By following these steps, you can leverage social media platforms, including Linkedin, to effectively promote your accountancy business without resorting to counter-productive overtly promotional tactics.

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