According to Hinge Marketing, www.hingemarketing.com, Accounting and Financial services have not been in the forefront of social media marketing. Accountants and financial professionals chose their career for a reason. If they were strongly inclined toward Marketing, they probably would have chosen a different career. These professions are, by tradition, fairly conservative. This environment did not often nurture and encourage the early use of social media. There are a host of regulatory and legal requirements that dictate what one might say or do online.
True, but accounting firms have been making up for lost ground and here are some of the ways in which they’re using social media.
- Talent attraction
- Profiling of professionals – i.e. articles in media, Partners on Boards, etc…
- Promotion – of newsletters, events, testimonials, publications, community involvement…
- Announcements – of new Partners, clients or wins
- Information on service offerings
- Driving future clients to specific content, websites or pages
As a social networking tool focused on business, LinkedIn is used extensively, although not exclusively for recruiting. You Tube is used to provide insight into the professional services firm environment such as work-life balance and other values.
Twitter is used to promote events in advance to create some “buzz”, during the event to draw attention to a specific venue or speaker and post-event to continue brand building. LinkedIn is also used to promote events, typically during and post-event and links are included to direct recipients to specific content, either a publication, webpage or registration site.
Ultimately, social media tools are used in some combination as part of a Marketing Plan with the objective of moving the right people to action.
A mid-sized accounting firm, MNP, takes a very direct approach to talent recruitment. It has a separate MNP Careers website, similar to the larger, global firms and it also employs Facebook and You Tube to deliver content to potential employees. MNP is one of the fastest growing accounting firms in Canada and has baffled some of the BIG 4 firms with its aggressive growth record. Clearly, it is executing an effective Marketing strategy including the use of appropriate social media tools.
Another accounting firm launches a myriad of thought leadership. Perhaps a more cautious approach, it has employed Twitter and LinkedIn for a few years for various promotional aspects of its Marketing plans, however, it is still too reliant on traditional media (online newspapers/articles) and advertising, including banner ads and limited inserts. While it has very recently started using infographics and short videos, very little, if any, blogging is evident and Google+ remains a future tool. Recent campaigns didn’t effectively target influencers which could have amplified the messaging further. Listening to specific, relevant communities appeared limited. Content splitting is recommended as it could increase the “storytelling” to engage with its target audience(s), build relationships, and increase shareability of content. There are indications that future launch campaigns will improve the use of effective social media tools, including for example, slide share.
Professional Services firms, specifically accounting and finance, are making great strides in their use of social media to improve visibility and credibility, demonstrate expertise, and, connect with and understand client communities. Already in use by many prospective clients, Social Media can help Professional Services firms grow faster and become more profitable. Stay tuned!