When it comes to social media for accountants, popular sites can help you build your profile and showcase your expertise. From Facebook to Twitter to LinkedIn and Google+, these tools can prove valuable for marketing yourself or your business to a wider potential customer base. You also can use smaller or niche networks, ones with a more regional focus or industry-specific sites for professional networking. Here are some suggestions that may work well for you.
While Facebook and Twitter can help build your brand, LinkedIn is the most popular professional site and a particularly good choice for CPAs.
Establishing your profile begins with your professional resume, and you may list your business for free by creating a LinkedIn Company Page. Both tools can generate high placement on search result pages, so make sure to do a detailed setup.
LinkedIn Groups can be a great place for connecting with industry peers, too. The AICPA has formed several LinkedIn Groups and subgroups including a general AICPA group, the Young CPA Network and AICPA Tax Section. Search LinkedIn to see if your state CPA Society has established a group for more regional discussions and networking. There is even a group called SocialCPAs focused on conversations about social media for accounting professionals.
You can post content to your LinkedIn profile and Company Page as you would any other social media outlet including company news, industry news, and conversation starters. You can also comment on posts from your connections that you see in your news stream on your LinkedIn Home page. Ask for or give Recommendations to colleagues and clients or give quick Endorsements to others as an icebreaker. Giving Recommendations and Endorsements can encourage others to reciprocate and enhance your LinkedIn profile.
This Way to CPA
The AICPA sponsors an industry-specific social network called This Way to CPA. Create an account, join Groups, and earn badges for participation in the online community including taking polls.
Another industry-specific social network for connecting with your peers is the ARNE or Accountant's Resource Network Community geared toward tax and accounting professionals. The network is hosted by Thomson Reuters, the tax software company. Create a profile, engage in topic-specific conversations within affinity groups, upload videos, and post updates similar to Facebook or Twitter.
Hosted by CPA Net, this forum offers networking opportunities for accounting students, established professionals and other people in the industry. Besides offering general discussion topics, some conversations focus on exam preparation, accounting careers and industry news.
Yelp is a business directory where consumers can find local businesses and read or even write reviews about those businesses. As a CPA, you can set up a free account for your company that includes photos and messages to your customers. You can also see what your customers post about your business and respond swiftly and thoughtfully to customer issues.
Managing Social Networks
With the increased demand for monitoring and managing social media communications, a dashboard can bring together your social media into a single tool for easier review. A dashboard tool like Hootsuite lets you manage Twitter, Facebook pages and personal accounts, LinkedIn profiles and Google+ Pages. SproutSocial works with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn personal profiles while MarketMeSuite works with Twitter, Facebook Pages and profiles and LinkedIn profiles. Buffer works with Facebook Pages, LinkedIn Profiles and Pages, Twitter and more.
Social media is an important tool in your marketing mix that can enhance your online marketing and communications efforts. Even as you adopt social networks, don't neglect your more traditional email list. Email is still very effective for reaching your target audiences. You can also direct people to subscribe to your emails from the social media you’re using and even embed a subscription form into a Facebook Page.
No matter where you decide to establish a presence in social media, commit to maintaining each account appropriately and regularly to put forward a professional image and showcase your know-how. Consistency and good content helps to build trust.