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Business benefits of social media for accountants

Posted in: Accountant, Marketing, sales and PR, Social media
18 comment

Paul Donno

Sorry – competition now closed – We’re giving away three free tickets to the ICAEW’s Business Benefits of Social Media (in association with Sage). To win leave a comment on this blog post by Thursday 30th June and we’ll randomly chose the winners. Don’t forget to include your email address!

It revolutionised our leisure time, now social media is redefining the way we do business too. Or is it? I work in marketing and over the past 3 years social media has become a widely used communication channel; every campaign that I work on now has a ‘social media’ element.  I happily admit that I live in a ‘communication’ bubble due to my role, so was left wondering if the rest of the world is switched onto using social media for business…or is it just us?

It seems that the answer from accountants is “yes, we are interested”. So interested in fact that ICAEW approached us about partnering with them to create a social media event for accountants, as they felt there was a need for accountants to get more information on this subject and how they can use it to market their practice. Obviously we agree!

So is it useful to my business?

Like all marketing tools, getting it right takes time and energy. A well-defined social media plan will help you achieve further growth. And as accountants are finding out, the benefits of an effective strategy can be many and varied, offering cost-effective ways to market your practice and services.

Ok, sounds good, but give me an example…

This is where I hand over to Accountant, Paul Donno, who has been one of those accountants keen to embrace the trend which is now providing him great results. His Suffolk-based practice, Paul Donno & Co Ltd, serves more than 300 small to medium-sized clients and has had a formal social media strategy in place since 2010.

For us it’s about branding and marketing, about putting a human face to our business and broadcasting our messages to a wider audience.

It gives clients a snapshot of who we are and how we operate and can work well as a recruiting tool. It is straightforward to negotiate, extremely cost-effective – in most instances it will only cost you the time it takes to update your account – and it’s fast too.

We use it in a variety of ways, most notably to tell people about things like training courses. The results speak for themselves. We’ve just had bookings for two days of ACT! training as a direct consequence of our Twitter advertising.

Our followers are growing every day, so much so we’ve taken on an external agency to manage our account for us. Now we’re looking to identify further channels and ways of reaching our clients and market.”

Paul’s Tips For Social Media Success

Be consistent

If you are going to have a social media presence, you must be prepared to maintain it. There’s no point starting something you can’t finish!

We’ve issued three iPhones to staff on the condition that they use them to tweet every day, that way we know there will always be a steady flow of information.

Decide on tone and content

Think carefully about the image you want to project – and the language you need to use to do this.

In relation to content for our corporate Twitter account, my brief is actually fairly wide. At this stage, I’m as interested in the idea of creating a solid social media presence as the content. I trust my team to produce tweets and content that is appropriate – in the same way I’d trust them to attend a networking event and behave in a way that was respectful.

Think engagement

For me, social media is a great way of engaging with people – and showing them the human side of your business. With that in mind, content has to be engaging – interesting enough to keep their attention and relevant enough to keep them coming back for more.

Who will manage things moving forward?

Many practices, including ours, consider taking on an external agency to manage and implement their social media strategy. They can help monitor your output, take care of day to day maintenance and also measure your success.

Joined up thinking

It’s worth thinking about how you are going to let people know you have a social media presence and where they can find you.

Linking different platforms – websites, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages– is relatively straightforward and can help direct traffic. We have recently added a live Twitter feed to our web page to ensure clients can see what we’re saying, and what our thoughts are, across a range of platforms.

Look ahead

Technology is constantly transforming the way we communicate and we are always looking for the next ‘big thing’. YouTube is going to be massive for us. We’re looking in to using it at the moment because it’s great for putting short, sharp messages across in an accessible way.

Follow Paul Donno @pauldonno

Follow Sage UK @sageuk

To register or find out more go to ICAEW Business Benefits of Social Media in association with Sage or follow  #icaewsm on Twitter

Sheryl Thomposon, Sage Accountants’ Team and Paul Donno, Paul Donno & Co Ltd

Posted in: Accountant, Marketing, sales and PR, Social media
18 comment


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  • Simon Sturman

    With more and more people using social media this is the way to go. Recently came back from the US where it is used lots for business especially LinkedIn

  • Dan @ InSync Marketing

    Some interesting points made there.

    I DO think that social media is for ‘everyone’ (in terms of industry) but also strongly believe that certain industries are better at it than others….

    And for years and years of doing this now the only thing I can really say is the difference is ‘vulnerability’

    Really – I think businesses that are overly hard and ‘professional’ via Social Media are the ones who struggle with it..As the medium requires a lot of two-way equal relationship building, certain industries are naturally going to be better at it than others. We found entertainment to be the easiest business to connect with people.

    Accountants we have worked with and found it worked for the ones who were willing to become more human through the channel…..Of course it’s simply that certain industries naturally ‘take themselves more seriously’ than others. So there are exceptions to them all – But, in my opinion to be really good at this, accountants need to learn to ‘soften up’ a bit and think more like media figures than accountants when connecting with their ‘fan base’ ;)

  • Liam

    At A&C Chartered Accountants, we are launching our new website tomorrow, and we want social media to be a part of our strategy of obtaining new business. Thank you for your insight.

  • Veronica Pullen

    I am a qualified Bookkeeper who changed course a few years ago and now works with businesses advising and training them to get the best results from social media

    When planning your social media activity it is important to understand that there is no blanket approach to choosing where to focus your attention. My role is to find out what your aims and aspirations are and help you achieve them.

    One great benefit that social media provides Accountants is the chance to be friendly and approachable – dispel the out of date stereotypes. You can also share your knowledge – demonstrate your expert status. You will begin to build up a community who think of you as soon as they hear the word Accountant!

    There are so many opportunities out there. The way the world communicates is changing and we need to embrace this for our own benefit

  • Paul M Tate

    As with all marketing, Social Media needs to be embraced but must be part of an ongoing plan. It is no good putting your toe in the water and then finding you don’t have time to maintain it and swim occasionally, The essence is more of drip drip feeding your other marketing tools on a continuous basis.
    (just my pov)

  • Helen

    Dan is right about social media, but you have to be canny in how you use it. Any low cost accountants have to make sure that they retain a professional image, so a Facebook status update or Tweet that goes awry can do a lot of damage.

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    Yes the business benefits of social media for accountants will definitely help them. Thanks for sharing.

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