Social media connects people, and when people connect they share news. Online social networking has led to fundamental changes in the way news is shared and how the ‘word gets out’ for businesses.
Increasingly, practices need to engage with clients online. It’s the connections made with clients that makes the difference. Successful social media strategies reinforce that people like to deal with people to create relationships, rather than businesses.
Benefits of social media
Social media can be a successful marketing and branding tool. The benefits of social media marketing are that it can be cost-effective way to engage with existing and potential clients, raise your profile, build loyalty, increase traffic to your website, and increase referrals.
Firms can use LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to invite clients to receive updates, comment, provide suggestions, share case studies and experiences, discuss products and services, post testimonials, establish closed networks and allow clients to connect with other clients.
Blogging is another way of sharing timely updates with clients; it can also drive new clients to your website to find out more about you and your business. Always try to include links back to something you have published on your own website – this way you drive traffic to your website.
A business does not need to go viral with social media – only support and enhance relationships with clients. Social media should complement but not replace traditional marketing techniques.
There is, however, a dark side to social media if used poorly. As such, a strong appreciation of the need to manage your online reputation is required. You and your staff need to be aware of what is said about your business on social media, and you need to be sure that your staff know how to (or whether to) respond if a comment is made about the business online.
How to embed social media in your practice
It’s important to understand that each social media channel attracts different users and that not all channels may be appropriate for your audience and objectives. Your first step is to develop a social media marketing plan which fits into your overall marketing and business plan.
- Your goals: If your goal is to grow your business through your existing client base, then you may choose to use social media to educate clients about your products and services.
- Your target audience: Different types of content will resonate with different audiences. If the engagement you develop through social media channels does not meet your business goals then a different approach will be needed. Trial the different platforms and track your performance.
- What types of content you intend to post: This may be case studies, blogs, interviews with clients or sharing third party content. This content needs to be interesting and relevant.
- Who will write the content and how often you will post: Plan your posts so that they build on each other. We don't recommend spamming (numerous posts per day). Try posting a few times per week on key platforms. The key is to post content that your followers are interested in.
- Encouraging client feedback: Encourage your clientsto post testimonials or provide feedback via social media.
- Establishing yourself as a content expert: Consider writing business blogs or posting videos on YouTube. You can use individual social media channels to promote and amplify your blog posts.
You will need to
- Monitor social media: This will allow you to see what clients are saying about you. For example, through a Google search on the practice name or by using tracking tools to measure what people are saying about the firm. This information will provide a starting point in the development of your strategy.
- Keep profiles up-to-date and interconnected: Your profiles need to be engaging and include a photo.
- Maintain consistent branding: Ensure consistency across your website and social media platforms – your website should be a central part of your online strategy, nothing can replace a good website.
CPA Australia assets for your practice
We have developed some social media assets that you can use on your channels.
Tailor sample external posts (PDF) for use on your own social media channels.
INTHEBLACK and INPRACTICE articles
You may share CPA Australia content published on INTHEBLACK or in INPRACTICE by linking to the relevant article.
CPA Update and Tax News
You may reproduce content published in CPA Update or Tax News on your social media channels, on your website or in client newsletters, provided it is acknowledged as copyright of CPA Australia.
CPA Australia on social media
You can link to, but not reproduce, CPA Australia’s YouTube, Twitter or Facebook content, as long as you acknowledge CPA Australia as the author.
Find out more