Social media is becoming more important to accountants in generating new business and raising their profile, according to the Wolters Kluwer 2015 social media survey.
Since the survey’s inception in 2011, more accountants have embraced social media as a part of mainstream marketing.
Younger accountants utilise social media the most with 100% under 30 using some form of social media. However, more accountants over 60 are getting to grips with social media, with figures rising from 45% in 2012 to 50% in this survey.
LinkedIn remains accountants’ chosen social media platform. The respondents found that LinkedIn assists in networking and reaching new clients. LinkedIn’s popularity is demonstrated by how consistent its figures have remained, with 62% of accountants using LinkedIn in their professional lives.
68% of accountants used LinkedIn to keep in contact with their professional network. The respondents cited their LinkedIn business profile as an avenue for prospective customers to research their skills.
Bringing personality to the fore
The survey found accountants use Twitter to humanise their practice. Sharon Pocock, Rachael Carr and Karen Reyburn promoted this social media strategy at last year’s Practice Excellence Conference.
Pocock advised accountants that bringing their personality to their social media accounts will differentiate their practice. A survey respondent backed Pocock’s advice: “Most tax advisers and accountants have awful corporate Twitter accounts with no personality. If you show you are human and interact with people it helps provide context and empathy for them.”
Another respondent noted that Twitter lets their clients see they have ‘a life beyond accountancy’. Twitter usage is gaining ground, with accountants boasting over 100 followers rising from 57% last year to 66% this year. Accountants find the most value in Twitter through following people and groups and sharing knowledge.
Just 17% use Facebook for business purposes. While Facebook networking for business purposes remains low, the respondents who did use this social channel applied the Twitter trend of presenting a human face to their business. One respondent, responding to a question on why they remain active on Facebook, said it: “makes us look like a fun place to work/do business with.”
This respondent’s response aligns with the results which show accountants put sharing knowledge (55%) and updating what they’re doing (53%) ahead of generating business. Brand exposure trumps any other motivation for using Facebook, with respondents exploiting personal connections for referrals. One respondent said: “I have had people get in touch for advice after seeing I am an accountant.”
Blogging has seen a hike in usage, with 46% now using blogs compared to 22% last year. 64% blog to share knowledge, which respondents found translates to ‘increased credibility’ and ‘reveal the sort of person and adviser’ they are.
Accountants are also no longer consigned to the written word as YouTube and other video sites have opened another avenue for accountants to demonstrate their expertise.
Not all social media outlets are used. Google+ is largely ignored by accountants. 70% of respondents don’t use Google+, and those who do struggle to say how it helped them generate new business.
Find out how accountants are using social media by downloading Wolters Kluwer’s 2015 social media survey results.
Which social media channel do you engage with the most? And how effective have you found it in growing your business?