How social media can equip accountants to grow their practice

“Why do I need social media? I manage perfectly well without it…”

If you agree with this statement, you may already be happy with your practice as it is today. However, what if there were a sudden change? Let’s say you lose a major client of yours to another firm, or a key member of your audit team decides to leave. How would you replace them?

In either scenario, having instant access to a broader audience might help. One of the benefits of social media is the ability to make real human connections without paying a penny. By having the right connections in place, it might be easier than you think to replace a client or recruit an auditor.

For many, social media is an integral part of doing business today. It gives you your own clear voice and allows you to share ideas and demonstrate your expertise. By doing so, your network can increase, and people can find out more about you and what you offer.

You can also keep a ‘virtual ear’ to the ground. Social media can help you stay informed about current opinions and forthcoming changes to your profession.

At Wolters Kluwer, our values propel us to put the customer at the centre of everything we do. In honouring our commitment to their continuous improvement and innovation, let’s look at engagement and the benefits of social media.

Building engagement
Initial engagement on social media comes in the form of likes, comments, shares and so on. The more engagement you can get, the better. It is a good way of building a large audience that wants to know about you and how you can help them.

Buffer, a marketing company that helps build brands, says that “73% of businesses who include social media as part of their marketing strategy believe that their efforts through social media marketing have been somewhat effective or very effective for their business.”

The benefits of being on social media
For many, social media is worth investigating. Your practice could gain so much and, while many organisations will spend money to promote their posts, creating a business profile on most platforms is completely free.

Social media can also integrate closely with other marketing activity you undertake. This reinforces and adds value to your communications. 90% of consumers trust brands more when they see them being active on social media, sharing ideas and thought leadership. It could be short-sighted to think of social media as a space in which to simply promote your practice. Use it as a platform to share valuable information and industry insights, which will help build trust and credibility with your intended market. You’re also more likely to increase conversion rates when you generate social conversations. 71% of clients will recommend a business that offers quick responses to their enquiries on social media. It can act as a beacon for expertise and customer centricity.

You may also have heard the term “influencer” used in social media circles. An influencer can be generally defined as a respected voice in a particular field of expertise, with a large social media following. Your first step into the influencer world can be simple conversation. Start conversations with voices you admire as they can help you to build your network in less time than it would otherwise take. Don’t forget that content you share via social media should link to your practice’s website, to optimise website traffic and brand awareness.

Our top ten tips on how to get started

Spend time asking your clients which social media platforms they use. You are potentially more likely to gain similar clients on those platforms.
Start with one or two platforms, and don’t feel you have to be everywhere. LinkedIn and Facebook are especially relevant for accountants.
Create a content strategy and schedule your posts, so that the tone and themes of your posts are consistent. This helps to ensure that the followers you acquire are continually interested in what you have to say.
Be authentic, write as you speak and leverage your people’s own social presence. Research from Sprout Social shows that those who post only in their firm’s name are less successful than those who also leverage the social presence of individual employees.
Increase engagement and build followers by asking questions, as this encourages users to respond directly.
Use hashtags so that your posts are seen by more people. For example: #taxtips will help those looking for tax advice. #accountingandaccountants has over 4m followers.
Be organised and consistent with your content schedule: post at regular intervals and times. Early mornings can be a good time for business.
Always look at who is commenting on your posts and reply to build engagement. This will help you to build marketing personas and a broader strategy.
Evaluate your results. There are various tracking tools available to businesses, which you can use to see how your posts are performing.
Adapt your content over time, based on what you know works. This will help you to resonate better with your audience.

A powerful tool to promote your business
Social media can be a key part of any accountancy practices’ marketing strategy, and it does not need to be stressful. You will be more time-efficient by using a social media scheduling tool to schedule posts.

Investing effort in building a strong social media presence will often be repaid as your network grows and conversion rates increase. See it as a form of insurance against the unexpected loss of a client or a valued member of your team.

Wolters Kluwer has decades of experience of working with accountancy practices and our customers look to us for help with their journey beyond technology. We listen, we learn, and we partner with them. We have built up extensive knowledge of the challenges to practice growth and can advise on the best way to overcome them.

Please get in touch if you would like to find out more about how we can help: [email protected]

Oliver Kiddell is a content manager at Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting UK and co-host of the Practice Evolution podcast.

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