It’s that time of year when tax professionals bury their heads in the sand, focused on completing a multitude of tax returns in a short period of time. However, it’s also the time when taxpayers are actively paying attention to their accountants and wondering if they are using the right advisor or if they could get better service, advice or value from someone else. Do you see the conundrum?
During a time when you don’t want to spend a minute more in the office than you have to, you might be ignoring social media altogether. However, that decision constricts the leads funneling into your pipeline not only for this tax season, but the next one as well. Rather than take a social media break for a couple months, find ways to be effective in as little as time as possible. The return can be well worth the investment.
Here are nine tips to help you gain awareness for what you do, greater engagement, referrals and even more work:
- Have a Goal. Why are you on social media? It seems like a simple question, but your answer will influence what you do, what you share and how often you do it. Are you looking for leads? New relationships? Positioning yourself as a thought leader? Know what you want to accomplish so you focus your limited time working toward it.
- Keep it Simple. There are so many social media channels. Even if you have five different accounts, that doesn’t mean that all five of them need to be part of your social media strategy during tax season. If you need to pick fewer channels to use them right, then do that. However, if you are connected to prospects on LinkedIn, you may want to make sure that one makes the cut.
- Use a Social Media Tool. There are numerous tools out there to help you manage your social media accounts at all different price points. A great starter is Hootsuite, which lets you set up a free individual account to manage up to three social media profiles. This is a single tool you use to view and update all of your accounts—no logging in to three different sites or apps.
- Plan in Advance. Can you dedicate 15 minutes to social media each week? You can use your social media tool to schedule your posts in advance. In a few minutes on a Monday morning, type out and set a post to go out on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday (or whenever you find you get the best responses). Don’t have time each week? Then schedule out your posts for the month. There are enough changes in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 that you could share one aspect of the law each day between now and April 17 without running out of things to talk about.
- Share Content Developed by Others. You don’t have to personally develop everything you share on social media (although that’s a great strategy). Did you read a great article by the AICPA or even right here on the Intuit® ProConnect™ Tax Pro Center? Share it. Doing so tells your followers you are familiar with the content being shared, but also reinforces your position as a subject matter expert and provider. Over time, as you share on a single topic such as tax, the perception of your followers will evolve. You don’t just know taxes; you are a specialist in this area worthy of their time and potentially their work.
- A “Like” Goes a Long Way. When you are in LinkedIn, simply like something your firm, a coworker or someone else shares. Doing so will allow you to appear in the newsfeeds of your connections. They will see that you, by name, thought a specific post was worthy. It helps keep your name front and center on a regular basis.
- A Share Goes Further. In LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, there is some form of share function. When you share, you should add a short insight of your own. Something such as “A great read,” “Pay attention to the second bullet” or “Something everyone should know.” It doesn’t take a lot of effort, but when you share, your name, picture and message appears in the feed for your followers … and that’s more powerful.
- Poll the Public. On Twitter and Facebook, you have the ability to share a poll question. In Twitter’s case, you can ask a question once a week and provide up to four answers for people to select from. Facebook lets you add two answer options, and you determine how long to leave the poll there. If you ask an engaging question, the poll will get people participating long after you hit post or tweet.
- Respond to Those Who Reach Out. Social media is about two-way communications, so you want people to engage with you. Selling does happen on social media, so this could be the start of the sales process. No matter how you access your social accounts, be sure to turn on the feature that alerts you when others talk to, or about, you. Most importantly, look at those alerts and take the time to respond back if the situation calls for it. If you don’t get back to someone for days, a week or even longer, it’s a lost opportunity.
Social media doesn’t have to be a time-consuming marketing tactic during your busiest time, but it should be a tactic you continue. Potential buyers are checking you out, and chances are, your competitors may have taken a social media sabbatical. You need to capitalize on these market opportunities while they are ripe to achieve your social media goals.
Connect with your potential buyers when they are looking to connect with you and you are building your firm for future growth.