Social media can help you grow your business by increasing awareness of your brand, capturing new clients and engaging current clients to drive more value.
Social media isn’t just for silly photos; more than 50 million businesses are now on Facebook. Today’s social media users turn to their favorite social platform for all aspects of their lives, including keeping up with friends, shopping, researching or finding businesses, and staying abreast of news and content that is relevant to their lives.
Here’s an overview of how to approach social media marketing to drive maximum impact for your tax practice.
Starting and maintaining a social media strategy doesn’t have to be hard – I promise! What you need is a yearly calendar of key holidays, deadlines and seasons that are relevant to your practice, as well as a social media scheduling tool and one to two hours of dedicated social media copywriting time per month.
- Step 1: Set up your calendar. Identify important deadlines that relate to accounting or financial needs you’ll want to post about. This includes tax deadlines, when to send out employee W2s and so on. You should share posts about these deadlines for two weeks before each deadline.
- Step 2: Pick a social media scheduler. There are many free software options that allow you to schedule social media posts across numerous platforms at once. Some of the most popular and easiest to use are Buffer, Hootsuite and EveryPost. Connect your accounts and load your posts! Switch around the order so the same message isn’t shared to multiple platforms on the same day.
- Step 3: Write your posts. Once a month, sit down and write down about 20 ideas, and write each one slightly differently (longer or shorter is a great place to start) for 40 more posts. Accountants can also enlist the help of a freelancer with experience in social media.
Make Each Post Count
Social media marketing is most successful when it enables your firm to reach the largest and most relevant audience possible, increases awareness of your firm and services, and helps drive traffic to your firm’s website. Here are some top tactics to drive greater engagement and reach for each of your posts:
- Get visual. Images increase engagement rates and help your posts reach more people than text-only posts. According to Hubspot, Facebook posts with images see 2.3x more engagement than those without images, and tweets with images receive 150 percent more retweets than tweets without images. Why not go the extra mile and make a video to share on social media? Hubspot also found that 4x as many consumers would prefer to watch a video about a product than read about it. Organic (non-paid) Facebook engagement is highest on posts with videos. There are tons of free resources for photos and videos on the internet – just Google it! Photos and videos are even less common on LinkedIn, so yours are likely to stand out.
- Label content. If Facebook or Twitter users click on your link only to come back to the social media site right away, Facebook and Twitter will show your post to fewer people. Combat accidental or unsuccessful clicks by ensuring that those who click your link know exactly what they are about to encounter: distinguish between a resource with a download form, or a free and easily accessible blog. The more people who click your posts’ links and engage with your site, the larger the audience Facebook and Twitter will give your post. On LinkedIn, viewers are more likely to click a link if they are aware of the type of content being promoted.
- Address multiple topics. The best way to grow your Facebook page’s fans is to share useful content on multiple topics. Even if your firm has a specific focus, share helpful resources from the IRS, the Small Business Association and even major financial brands. Think about your clients holistically; they need all kinds of financial and business advice. Tips on running a small business is a great place to start when it comes to expanding your posts’ topics.
- Be relatable. Sharing images or stories from your personal experience as an accountant, parent or business owner will make you more relatable, which increases engagement with your posts. Share your excitement at opening a new office, scenes of your kids working on homework while you finish up your work or a fun ice cream social for your firm’s employees. Your business owners will enjoy sharing your experiences.
Social Media Content Strategy
You’ll see the greatest impact for your social media marketing by sharing these five types of content. Include a newsletter sign-up button for your blog, and download forms for longer resources on your website, to collect contact information for potential new clients.
- Tax and financial tips. As a tax professional, you are uniquely qualified to provide tips and financial “FYIs.” This isn’t content Facebook users regularly see, so it will catch their attention and be useful. End each tip post with a reminder that your firm can provide even better advice if they know more about the reader or their business. Include a link to your website and a call to action to get in touch to get advice specific to their needs.
- Remind your Facebook audience of upcoming tax deadlines, seasonal reminders (the end of the year is only two months away – is your business ready?) or reminders relevant to current events (today is National Post Office day; did you know there are tax deductions for postage and shipping supplies? Check out our blog to learn more!). Link to your blog to share more information about what needs to be done by the deadline. Consider downloadable checklists, too.
- Downloadable resources. Business owners and individuals appreciate when businesses share useful resources, the foundation of content marketing. Create guides for specific industries, or a dictionary of common tax forms. Resources should be useful all year long, also called evergreen content. Provide a preview of your resource, but require interested parties to provide you with their name and email via a form to download your resource. Promote your resource on social media to capture increased numbers of potential new clients for your firm.
- Q&A sessions. Whether you write up a Q&A blog ahead of time or actively answer questions on Facebook, Q&As tend to drive the highest engagement rates on social media. If you are too shy or too new to social media to have a large audience, join in a Tweetchat on Twitter and answer questions posed by moderators. QBOChat is a great place to get started! As always, encourage social media users to get in touch to get even more detailed, thorough answers.
- Promote value. It’s important to share what makes your firm different from other firms and to remind current clients of all the various services you offer. Content that conveys this increases the likelihood of capturing new clients from Facebook and encouraging current clients to ask you about additional services. A savvy way to promote the value you drive as a tax pro is to share a customer success story from your blog or a case study on how your services helped another business owner grow. Case studies may be gated behind a download form to capture leads.
Results in social media don’t happen overnight, so be patient. Yes, these tactics and best practices take time, but think of social media marketing in terms of new business and retaining your current clients. Isn’t the time you’re putting into these efforts worth the hard work?
Editor’s note: The Intuit® ProConnect™ Tax Pro Center has featured several articles on social media. Check out “Using Your Tax Blog for Client Recruitment and Retention” and “5 Online/Social Communities for Tax Professionals.”