After being ranked in the top 3 of online influencers by the ICAEW I was recently interviewed about my social media journey. The following extracts may be of interest.
When and why did you start using social media?
It was 2006 when I first registered on Ecademy.com This business focused online networking site predated Linkedin but ran out of money and is no more. Through Ecademy I was introduced to twitter and Linkedin.
Which platforms do you use, and for what?
Over the years I have written a number of blog posts which show how I manage my time across various social media platforms. The last such blog post was in May 2015>>>
Currently I would summarise my use as follows:
Linkedin.com – online business networking to make new connections, typically with accountants and other professional advisers. I have almost 5,000 direct connections here and run 3 groups for accountants and other professionals. I belong to around 40 groups.
Twitter.com – to source and share knowledge, insights and news on topics of interest. I also add all UK accountants I can find on twitter to one of my two twitter lists, which enables anyone to see how UK accountants use twitter. I also have a similar list of all the magicians I can find on twitter!
Facebook.com – Few of my real life social friends are active on facebook. However I keep in touch with many of my old Ecademy friends here. Also many of my friends in the worlds of magic and of public speaking are active here so I can keep in touch with them too. We share tips, ideas and advice. I also have a facebook business page promoting both my services to accountants and to other professionals.
Youtube.com – I watch videos here – and sometimes post my own, normally about talks I have given or am about to deliver. I sometimes add comments beneath videos, typically those posted by people I know.
AccountingWeb.co.uk – I have written over 200 articles for this site and routinely engage with readers who post comments both on my articles and on those written by others.
ion.icaew.com – When I get emails prompting me to check out articles here I often read them then ‘vote’ them a thumbs up or down and occasionally add my thoughts by way of comments.
How do you use it on a day to day basis?
I look for opportunities to help my contacts, connections, followers and friends on social media – much as I do in real life. If I can answer a question, contribute positively to a discussion on a topic of interest or offer some insight and advice I’m happy to do so.
I tend to make more use of social media when I’m out and about eg: waiting for trains, buses, taxis rather than when I’m office bound all day. I also use some tools that allow me to automate and schedule some of my posts on twitter and facebook.
How has social media helped you professionally? For instance, making new connections or finding new business.
In this context social media is a form of online networking that allows me to connect with a far wider range and a larger number of people than would be possible face to face. We can then determine whether to meet or speak directly. I find this much more efficient than attending random networking events. Equally however it can be more distracting as so many new connections on social media are not local to me.
Over the years I have established relationships with many people who have, in time, become clients or who have engaged me or recommended me to speak at conferences and other events. Others offer assistance when I seek help or advice. One great example is Tony Margaritelli who runs the ICPA. He frequently engages with me on twitter and has both booked and rebooked me to speak at the ICPA annual conference.
Social media has also helped me to build up my email distribution lists although I am careful to avoid promoting too many things as this would probably mean a drop off in my follower numbers etc. And my high profile across a number of sites with a target demographic helps keep my name in the frame when people want to engage a professional business speaker, a mentor or simply want to commission articles and content on relevant topics.
Finally, the independent online social media influence scoring system, klout always rated me as having a very high score of 78/100. Only celebrities tended to score above 80. Notwithstanding my own high ranking I was always cynical about the criteria that klout used to determine their lists. Still, my high score generated interest and contributed to me securing a number of speaking gigs as a social media ‘expert’. [edit: In 2018 klout was closed down].
I am invariably still ranked highly whenever new lists appear of social media influencers in the accounting profession. And I remain as cynical as ever about the criteria they use to create their lists. ;-)