It's been a while since we mentioned twitter on here so just thought I would ask the question how twitter was working for you in terms of generating leads. What tips would you share if any?
I just started last week so it's early days for me - I now have a whopping 8 followers!! How many leads it will generate remains to be seen, but I am convinced it is a good way to raise the profile of my practice and engage with a wider audience, so I'm going to persevere with it.
i personally believe it is not worth the time, I am following some advocates of social media and respected contributors to this website but I do not get anything meaningful out of it.
difficult from 140 characters (or something like that).
....asking if Twitter is generating leads is possibly the most absurd question I've heard this year. I have to assume the person asking this question is a so called 'social media marketing' expert.
Sorry Maxxy. Accountants who start tweeting in the belief this will generate leads will almost certainly be disappointed.
A copuple of years ago I write this piece: Twitter is not for accountants. My rationale being that twitter is much too time consuming to be an effective lead generation tool. By which I mean that the prospect of securing leads is very low FOR ACCOUNTANTS in practice even if they adopt all the best habits of effective tweeters.
Still, I know an increasing number of accountants are keen to experiment and to play around on twitter. It's certainly fun.
I maintain a twitter list of accountants in the UK who tweet. I add everyone I find and invite anyone not on the list to let me know and I'll ad them. It currently has 402 nmes on it but most are accountants who started tweeting and then gave up. Which pretty much ties into my first article on the subject.
Last year I wrote a couple of pieces for AccountingWeb for those who do want to give it a try, for fun and/or as an experiment. My tipsand advice should help dispel some of the nonsense and theory that is promoted by marketing and social media 'experts' who don't really understand the accountancy sector. Nothing much has changed in the ensuing period.
Personally I think Twitter is a waste of time for lead generation and have never tried to use it for that purpose. What it's good for is keeping up to date on the latest developments, and peoples' - other accountants, financial journalists, small business owners - thoughts on them.
This has been especially useful since the change in Government. Some key areas for many of my clients - IR35, furnished holiday lets and pensions - are "under review" - and I want to be all over all of these like a rash!
And not because I claim to be some social networking Guru, but because I have several clients who are reaping the rewards of having an active presence on Twitter.
As I have worked with accountants for many years now, I was very sceptical about the whole idea when one of my clients mentioned they had decided to use Twitter as a marketing tool. Then another popped up with the same idea, and another. I didn't discourage it as I think it's worth giving anything a try. Within a couple of months they were all having success and actually signing clients up. Admittedly, the one common denominator, is that they all use a firm to do the tweeting, blog writing etc for them. One client openly admits "because I wouldn't have a clue what to write about." But he is signing up a whole lot more than he is paying for the service!
We currently don't offer social network marketing so this is not a post with some hidden agenda, I'm just passing on experiences.
-- David Ellis Managing Director
T: 01604 211221
well if I could find such a firm I'd give it a go. My marketing policy consists of two things:
1. Try anything ethical once.
2. Cur the losers and run / extend the winners.
I was reluctant to join this debate as the Twitter issue is very much like Marmite you either love it or hate it. And Mark is spot on many do try and give up after a few short weeks.
However there are several points that need clarification.
We tweet for a number of accountants many of whom do get business and referrals from Twitter. But all of them get great networking opportunities and many joint venture options. The real point about Twitter is that it's a community you build (and it really is your choice) and one which you can engage with in many different ways.
But Twitter is only a first step - It introduces you, your practice and allows you to show capability and expertise in your chosen area but you will not get any 'business' from Twitter unless you take it off line and start speaking and meeting with people you've engaged with. But the fact that you've had conversations on Twitter is a great plus as it breaks down barriers before you actually meet.
Twitter allows you to communicate with local businesses (or niche communities) you choose - This could be 100 200 or 1000. Not all these businesses will see each and every Tweet( in fact only a few will) but if you are consistent then over time the vast majority almost certainly will.
If you then break down your Followers into manageable lists of 'Influencers' with whom you can engage regularly and privately as required then Twitter becomes both a mass marketing tool and a private network builder.
The reality is that Twitter will work for some and not for others and many may feel that the time investment is not worth it but that's the choice to make. As part of an overall marketing strategy I would certainly say yes but as a stand alone lead generation machine absolutely not.
To clarify our position we never personally represent ourselves as the accountant we simply build a targeted following and provide relevant blogs and articles. The personalisation and the direct engagements all come from the accountants directly. I can only say from our experience that those who work at it benefit.
And one last point it's worth bearing in mind that there is a whole generation whose first choice of communication is Social Networking. Seeking out an accountant for many means talking to their on line friends followers and connections so in the very near future your on line clout will become very important to you
I'm not a Social Networking guru as all the vacancies have been filled. I'm a Marketing Professional with 25 years + experience building businesses. The most important issue in marketing is identifying your market - If yours hang out on Twitter go and talk to them.
So the marketing people are "yay" and the accountants are "nay"?
I referred to lead generation deliberately as people tend to skirt around why they are using twitter but let's face it, it is not to make new friends to invite for sunday lunch. It is an opportunity and powerful method of making connections that will identify prospects, listen to views and problems and opinions, interact, share information, build relationships, and get to know people. From that the connections develop naturally into leads. Self promotional tweets doesn't equal lead generation.
I do tweet for other people and I do use twitter for generating accountancy leads so I can say that it works for me but I do see a quite a few accountants tweeting half-heartedly or giving up quickly which was what inspired this post. Is it a case of mis-matched expectations of time and effort versus reward? Or using in conjunction with an overall marketing strategy as Mike refers to?
The things that work for me are being yourself, being helpful, making connections offline after introductions on twitter.
Any other tips people would like to share?
-- www.maxxy.co.uk www.find-me-an-accountant.com Twitter:@maxinemaxxy
Actually you're agreeing more than disagreeing I think. This is confirmed by @Mike's interjection.
The accountants who are generating leads and clients in the main are not the people doing the tweeting.
As I've said elsewhere, accountants who want to generate leads need to first consider who are their target market and then consider how they will get most value from the time and effort they devote to lead generation. Twitter is one option IF your targets are using twitter and IF either you or your ghost tweeter know what you're doing AND you've concluded it's going to be more cost effective than alternative options.
and everybody knows it - why these so called marketing experts keep trying to hijack social media for businees use is beyond me unless its to fool people into buying into their services - most accountants would be better off down the pub or wine bar in terms of leads
now edited as i have found my glasses and corrected my typing
Twitter is a mysterious beast, almost purely because its been spammed to hell by the thousands of marketeers out there.
It can however produce extremely powerful results when used properly.
I wouldn't suggest it to any business that does not have either a dedicated and skilled social media consultant on board or essentially limitless free time.
SEO/SEM is where your money should be!
@mike - so basically you're ghosting Tweets for accountants? Wow - that's going to go well when peeps who get connected meet in person.
'social media expert?' - I've never met one...do they exist? As far as I can tell they do, but only in the minds of PR people...
So what do you mean by use it properly? any Tips? Advice? :)
...I'm an accountant, and I use Twitter and I've had some good leads....and I'll be the first to say that I don't think I use it "properly"!
I am a sole practitioner, working from home, just me, on my tod, so I don't have dedicated marketing resource. I signed up to Twitter to help with my online networking and it does the job for me. I find it useful for staying in touch with latest news and info, and yes, I follow some celebs too! However, I generated a very valuable lead from another Twitter user (Accountants' Circle), just from a couple of quick tweets.
It doesn't work for everyone, and I feel like I need to invest more time in it to get the best out of it, but new leads are flowing in nicely at the moment from various sources (mostly online) and I have plenty of work to keep me busy for now.
I think it's all about horses for courses: if it works for you, great, and if it doesn't, please don't knock it, just don't use it!
@carnmores There's little point in a "so called Marketing Expert" offering a service that doesn't get results because they would simply lose their clients and end up in legal wrangle.
I'm glad that going to the pub has been mentioned as it would seem obvious to me that social networking is a virtual alternative. (you could even sit with a pint whist Tweeting!!) So if you think you can build strong leads from going to the pub then I would imagine social networking should work in the same way!?
I'm not an expert in this type of Marketing, nor am I an accountant. Further more I certainly wouldn't attempt to tell either how to do their jobs!!
T: 01604 211221 E: email@example.com W: www.qualityimpactmarketing.com
its overhyped nonsense
I meant to reply earlier just to say it will be interesting to see how you get on with twitter and good luck ... perhaps let us know your twitter name then we can all follow you :)
One tool I like to use for finding conversations and people to follow is twitterfall.com as you can use a combination of words and geographical radius which can be good for finding discussions by topic and location.
@carnmores - how much time did you spend on Twitter and how did you interact with people?
Did they just not want what you were offering maybe?
As you said the biggest problem is people going at it half heartedly. Like any marketing campaign a lot of thought has to go into the engagement of followers. I recommend for people to start following about 10-15 people and commenting on their pages to get the ball rolling. Followers should start appearing fairly quickly, when they do start engaging them as well.
Post at least twice daily, once with some personal quip, another with a link to an industry related piece of info or your own blog site.
To supplement this, start trying to network with your followers on Facebook, Linkedin, etc. Link your twitter account to your linkedin account and Facebook account so the information you tweet is syndicated out through your statuses, this helps increase your reach and remind those you've added who you are and what it is you are doing.
After a month of networking begin to drop offers for your services amongst your tweets.
To build a proper campaign it could take 2 months of managing at that level to start getting genuine social enquiries, however there are now various services that can help you post your tweets to over 160,000 followers across multiple accounts.
These services can work very well but rely on a well written advertising message squeezed into 140 chars so you'll need your marketing hat on to make effective use of them.
Twitter can be a great way to supplement any online marketing campaign, though when I look for a new accountant I go to google and type : Accountant Bracknell. Whoever is in the Top 7 local results pretty much gets my business.
This is something that all accountants should be looking at developing!
Can you contact me please??
I have 2 Twitter accounts, one for the business and the other personal. I have a few hundred followers for both accounts.
The personal account is working very well, I tweet about me, I rarely mention what I do for a living and I never tweet about deadlines, etc. I've built up a circle of twitter friends, some of which are now close friends in real life. Whenever anyone they are following mentions needing an accountant they always refer me. My company has had several new clients this way in the last year. All in areas we wouldn't have know a way into, ie film, music, design. It's working well
The business account is tricky. I've tried to keep it informal, and to interract with other tweeters but I'd say they are either suspicious of builiding relationships or they want to sell us something. Sometimes I will post a question from both accounts to check the response, for example "can anyone recommend a hotel in x?" There will be approx 20 responses from the private account and none from the business. So at the moment I just use it to remind people of deadlines and when we have a new blog post but I may go back to it properly soon.
I know you could have written oodles on this and thanks for tips especially about starting small and interacting with people :)
... but how could you say you just go to top of google for an accountant!! hehe ... I will educate you yet! (but point taken about rankings)
I like and embrace all things computer and internet but just do not get Twitter!
In marketing there are the 3 M's Market Media & Mesage.
Identifying your market and where they are is the most important of the 3 M's. Now assuming you have a clear and sustainable message (I know that's a big assumption) you are left with Media i.e how you broadcast that message.
Twitter is quite simply a media that allows you to deliver your message. And if for example you are a practice that serves local small businesses Twitter alongside Search Engine Marketing (SEO & PPC), Google Maps, Local Directories and additional Social media such as Linkedin and Facebook can be a very powerful marketing tool for you.
The real advantage for you in this scenario is that by using geo targeting (which is well facilitated by Twitter) you can attract local business followers quite easily. Many in this thread have already eluded to the advantages of having such followers and in reality who would not want to engage with their target market.
Social Networking (ineptly named I'm afraid) has a distinct advantage over many other forms of marketing. Having built up a network of followers and connections and built your reputation and standing within that network you have a communication channel that is unparalleled.
And a real life example supports this. We were engaged recently to get bums on seats at a seminar being run my a local accountant. Virtually all the attendees bar existing clients came from Twitter and Linkedin. But a more important statistic is that from direct invitations to attend we received over a 60% response and even those unable to attend had a positive response about potential future events. In a cold direct mailing or email broadcast we would expect somewhere between a 0.5 - 1% overall response. In fact in this very instance an email to over 150 prospects yielded no response.
There is of course a time issue with Social Networking and indeed marketing in general but surely any business must invest time and effort to grow their business,
And to clarify in an earlier post regarding us 'ghosting tweets' on behalf of accountants. We send out general tweets regarding finance,tax and local issues etc and build followers quickly and efficiently but all personal interactions and on-line discussions are conducted by the accountants themselves albeit with a little coaching and direction.
At the moment there is a great drive to find active twittering accountants. Search for the #attu to see all related tweets.
Personally I'm optimistic about the use of Twitter as a marketing tool. It helps develop your brand and adds that human element your company which in the world of accountancy can only be a good thing.
I'm on there as @AccHelp
Like you I think Twitter can be an excellent channel for accountants to engage with their clients and potential clients, and for me it's an essential source of information - I pick up most my technology news, and a lot of my general news from the smart people I'm following, and they help me filter the important stuff I should be reading within the information overload. The whole premise of this thread, of viewing Twitter as some sort of lead generation tool is wrong. But it's a vital communication channel that any smart accountant should be tapping in to. Anyone who suggests it is a waste of time is missing the point by a mile, and needs to find out how and why to use it.
I spotted news of this new tweetup thing over on ICAEW's IT Counts. I shall certainly be joining in the conversations.
www.d2c.org.uk and biztwozero.com
p.s. Anyone who wants some free help on Twitter and how it can be useful, just track me down via the numbers/email on my blog or company site. Very happy to help.
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