It’s time to make some hard choices about where to invest your CPA firm marketing resources.
These days, the noise about social media and its value for accounting, consulting and other professional services firms can be deafening. It seems like firms are being swept into the social media maelstrom by a tide of inevitability and a fear being put at a competitive disadvantage rather than strong strategic reasoning.
Involvement in social media involves so much more than just signing up for a few channels and doing an occasional post. Firms that are successful employ a set of best practices and the type of resource and budget commitment that any major marketing tactic deserves.
With budget season coming up, you need to start making some hard choices and asking some tough questions about your firm’s social media program.
Four Tough Questions about Social Media
Here are four tough questions about social media that every managing partner and executive committee should be asking, and that every marketer should be prepared to answer:
(1) Have we set our goals?
Resource and “mindshare” investments in social media need to be built on reaching specific, measureable goals. Our recommendations:
- Reach – for each social media channel you want to use, what do you want to achieve in terms of fans, followers, subscribers, etc.
- Number of visitors driven to the website – you need to define the extent of the contribution you expect social media to make in drying eyeballs to your website overall, and by channel
- Leads – tracking the number of leads that come directly from social media, by channel, is critical for measuring ROI
- New clients – the Holy Grail of Marketing Metrics is being able to directly cite the number of new clients and their contribution to the firm’s tip line
(2) Are we using social media strategically – not just tactically?
The strategy of social media lies along two fronts:
- Using the right channel to reach the right prospect
- Using it to build awareness through engagement, and using it a key component of the firm’s lead generation activities.
(3) Are we monitoring and measuring results?
If results aren’t measured, monitored and reported, there’s no chance that you can come to any sort of conclusion about the ROI for your social media activities. There are a number of tools, like HubSpot, that allow you monitor and measure social media activity.
(4) Are we making the right level of investment in social media?
With monitoring and measurement in place, you will be able to see what’s working and what isn’t working, and adjust your level of investment accordingly.
Make a Sound Strategic and Financial Investment in Social Media
My take is that accounting consulting and other professional services firms should be involved in social media. But like any marketing strategy or tactics, social media requires investment, commitment and persistence in order to become a key part of any firm’s overall awareness or growth goals.
Define your goals for social media. Fish where the fish are in terms of what social media channels you use for specific marketing objectives or to reach specific target personas. Always measure and monitor your social media program for effectiveness. If what you’re doing works, double down in terms of investments, but if it’s not working, stop the investment and try something else.
Don’t just blindly follow the crowd into social media, and do it because you feel pressured to do so.
Stop listening to the noise and start listening to what the market is telling you about how they are engaging with social media. You might just hear some things that will help you grow your top line.