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Accountants have you found clients through Twitter and/or LinkedIn?

Accountants have you found clients through...

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Firstly credit to Phil Hendy for triggering this question.

I do not use Twitter or LinkedIn for getting clients. This is because I do not think the time spent and return match. Am I wrong?

It would be really helpful to get a feedback from real accountants on the following:

  1. How much time do you spend on social media?
  2. How many clients did you find through social media and average fee level?
  3. If worthwhile investment of time, where do I start? All I have done is open an account with them.

Thanks

Replies (26)

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PAH Accounting Devizes Wiltshire
By Phil Hendy
12th Sep 2011 09:23

Thanks for the compliment :-)

Hi,

I just spend bits and pieces on social media. Keep an eye on a few forums and use twitter. With Smartphones it can be very easy.

I have found two new clients based on purely people finding me on Twitter; however, many more have come from recommendations/ referrals via that medium.

I don't use LinkedIn yet.

I find it a good investment of time as it is just part of my normal working and social interaction.

Thanks (1)
By Marion Hayes
12th Sep 2011 10:23

Hi First tab

I am afraid that I am a dinosaur really as I don't do Facebook, Twitter or any other type of Social networking. I refuse!!

However, and apologies if you have already answered this in a previous post, I have put myself on Googlemaps which is free, I don't need to do anything to it time wise and have had at least 3 clients and a few more phone calls from it in the last year.

Marion

 

Thanks (1)
Teignmouth
By Paul Scholes
12th Sep 2011 11:03

No

Hi FT - I have been on Twitter & Linkedin for 2-3 years with the prime motive of finding like-minded people who can provide me with info/services.  So I don't see them (or need them) as new client sources but obviously wouldn't turn anyone away.

As I've said before I've actually had to do a JC on Linked in (die & return) to stop being constantly pestered by people who wanted to link with me, primarily to get to my client base rather than me.

Thanks (1)
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By carnmores
12th Sep 2011 11:12

there have been endless discussions on this on Aweb

have a look at them

Thanks (1)
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By zarathustra
12th Sep 2011 11:42

Paul Scholes

Please amplify your comments about having to die and return?

Thanks (1)
Teignmouth
By Paul Scholes
12th Sep 2011 12:08

@Z

Hi - Bit like changing phone numbers, I de-registered old Paul S, left it a bit (>3 days) and re-registered as new Paul S.

Thanks (1)
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By Ken Howard
12th Sep 2011 13:35

Way to go.......

For a start, I've always found that new clients coming via a referral or recommendation tend to be higher quality and higher paying clients, than, say, someone coming cold from a newspaper ad or Yellow Pages.  That's why I stopped advertising in paper media years ago.

Following on from that, I've tended to be active in various online forums where you answer questions and give advice freely.  Other users start noticing you, remembering your name, and getting a feel of how you operate, your personality, etc.  Over the years, this had led to many new clients, who again, came to me knowing a lot about me, and therefore much easier to convert into good clients.

Now, we have Linked In, Twitter, Facebook, etc., and exactly the same applies.  It makes it far easier to reach your potential clients in an informal way, and really cements the relationship with existing clients, when you can follow each other's thoughts, pictures, comments, etc.  It also extends your own network as having a mutual friend gives you something in common.  When previously unknown people can read what you're thinking, look at your holiday photos, etc., you break down barriers.  

I've virtually abandoned my website these days, just leaving it as the typical who are we and what we do kind of thing and spend my "marketing" time on social media and it really does pay dividends.  Being successful in business has always been down to who you know as well as what you know, so extending your network and contacts can only be a good thing.  Best thing is it's cheap and easy to do, and enjoyable, as you're looking at what other people are saying and doing as well which really ratchets up a boring business relationship and helps secure your clients for the long term.

Thanks (3)
Image is of a pin up style woman in a red dress with some of her skirt caught in the filing cabinet. She looks surprised.
By Monsoon
12th Sep 2011 15:11

No.

I'm on Twitter, but don't have the patience or attention span to keep doing it regularly. I don't always feel like talking to people, especially if I have to keep coming up with "new material" so to speak. So for me, social media is a bit tricky!

I know that social media is excellent - I get a reasonable amount of business from other business networking forums where I can join in discussions and help with tax questions. I've found this better than Twitter.

I'm on LinkedIn but I just don't get it and can't be bothered to try.

Thanks (2)
By petersaxton
12th Sep 2011 15:29

For the future

Twitter and LinkedIn are in the same holding place as my website and newsletter.

When I have time I will organise myself to make use of them properly. I prefer not to take time away from client work at this stage given I am the only person in my business.

Thanks (0)
John Stokdyk, AccountingWEB head of insight
By John Stokdyk
12th Sep 2011 15:49

Resounding "oh yes!" from Twitter users

It had to be done - I posted a tweet about this thread and two accountants shot back that Twitter did win business for them.

One of them was Elaine Clark, aka @cheapaccounting who has lectured and written about her use of Twitter - which also helped to win her the CCH/AccountingWEB Progressive Practice award last year. Her blog is full of useful social media advice.

The other was @edenaccountant - less well known to me, but as enthusiastic as Elaine about social media.

For more discussion of this issue check our pages on social networking, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Thanks (1)
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By aggy91
12th Sep 2011 16:34

Yes from me too

For some reason I checked AccyWeb before Twitter otherwise John would have had a thumbs up from me too (@ataccounting btw).

 

Topic covered in detail in enough places here so all I will say is Twitter can work for you, but its something its easier to do wrong than right. If all you are interested in is getting clients then it is unlikely you will. Twiiter more than any other Soc Media is about conversations and connecting personally with people. I have picked up more clients by people I know on Twitter recommending me than directly through Twitter.

 

I have also got clients onto Twitter which means I can connect with them daily and keep a little eye on what they are doing (as they can wth me, so no swearing about them!).

 

But for me the most positive thing about Twitter is the netwrok of Professional contacts that I have built, both in terms of other accountants but also related trades. Almost all the people who supply me I have met through Twitter and know almost as well as my own offline friends.

 

In addition the occassional "Tweet-up" has enabled me to introduce clients in complimentry businesses which has helped my clients (and led to the occassional thank you bottle of wine which is always nice).

 

For me it is part business generator, part netwroking tool, but mostly its the office watercooler where I can talk to people socially.

Thanks (3)
Replying to Old Greying Accountant:
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By chatman
14th Sep 2011 13:57

How do you "meet" someone on Twitter

aggy91 wrote:
Almost all the people who supply me I have met through Twitter and know almost as well as my own offline friends.

In addition the occassional "Tweet-up" has enabled me to introduce clients in complimentry businesses which has helped my clients (and led to the occassional thank you bottle of wine which is always nice).

How do you meet someone  on Twitter, and what is a "Tweet-up"?

Thanks (1)
Replying to ShirleyM:
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By aggy91
15th Sep 2011 10:43

Tweet-ups, Twits and other Twuff

chatman wrote:

aggy91 wrote:
Almost all the people who supply me I have met through Twitter and know almost as well as my own offline friends.

In addition the occassional "Tweet-up" has enabled me to introduce clients in complimentry businesses which has helped my clients (and led to the occassional thank you bottle of wine which is always nice).

How do you meet someone  on Twitter, and what is a "Tweet-up"?

 

I guess I use "Meet" when I really mean "Connect". 

 

There's also a little silly tradition on Twitter that anything Twitter related has the beginning changed for "Tw" so Tweet Up means Meet Up. These can take to form of random meetings when two Twitters happen to be in the same place, to formal gatherings. One of my clients hosts regular "Random Tweet-ups" where he just sends out the time and date he will be in a particular pub and anyone local can go along for a drink.

 

Ultimately it puts a human face on the people you talk to online. I'd suggest an AWeet-up if it wasn't likely to turn into a bloodbath :)

 

Social media of any description be it Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook works best when it focuses on the "Social" and less on the "Media". I am a big supporter of Twitter over other Social Media as its much more conversation based. I happens in real time and it is easy for people to dovetail into one conversation, then out into another, much the same as if you are in a room at a networking event.

 

If you have a smartphone Twitter becomes very easy to keep on top of. I used to buy a newspaper at lunchtimes. Now I often spend the hour on Twitter and reading the links people Tweet.

 

But I will warn again, if the only reason for using any form of Social Media is to win clients you will be disappointed. Do not just broadcast, get involved and talk to people.

Thanks (1)
bike
By FirstTab
12th Sep 2011 20:33

Time v Dosh

Just to want say Hi to Phil, Marion and Paul. Thanks I really needed it today.

Thanks for a varied response.

My concern with social media remains time spent and return on that time. I do not have any experience or evidence to justify the following comments - it does sound like a time consuming activity with little returns?

In addition clients are likely to be small fee (less than £1000) clients?

If I spend an hour a day on social media, that would be 5 hours a week. That is a lot. Knowing the way I am with Any Answers (AA) I would be addicted and may spend longer. At least AA really helps with my work.

I started to accept connections requests  on Linked In. This was followed by an email the stating - " We are now connected, we offer.....  Paul I understand where you are comming from.

There is so much around now in the guise of helping us to improve our business. The difficult part is making a decision on the areas my time would be well spent.

It is easy to say social media works. No one has produced any evidence (time v dosh) for accountants that it works? For this reason I will not be pursing this avenue at this stage.

If I have missed the evidence, please point me in the right direction.

 

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By Old Greying Accountant
12th Sep 2011 20:43

I think, as many things ...

... horses for courses.

If you do not use twitter and facebook at all, then signing your practice up will have no real effect, or may be even a negative effect because once you are in you have to keep swimming.

If you buy in to social networking media, then you can use it for business networking, but there is no point jumping in otherwise.

I did read a wonderful term about twitter at the weekend, along the lines of not wanting to look at peoples digital excrement, made me smile :o)

Thanks (1)
Mark Lee 2017
By Mark Lee
13th Sep 2011 16:25

Your caution is well founded

I'm an enthusiastic user of various forms of social media and write/speak extensively on the subject - WITHOUT the hype as I'm more cynical about the REALITIES of accountants getting much benefit by way of new clients through social media.

I'm aware of hundreds of accountants who have experimented with twitter. However only a few claim to have won much in the way of valuable work. And even those who do make such claims have mostly gained 'clients' who are new start-ups, landlords or home-based businesses. If these are your niche then it can be worth the effort. (I put 'clients' in quotes though as many who claim to have won work have yet to receive much in the way of fees.....)

There are a few exceptions who claim to be more successful than the others but they have spent many, many hours to get the return they sought. I tend to think that few accountants would be keen to replicate this approach. In this regard I agree with @aggy91 above.  

Your self confessed addiction to Any Answers on accountingweb does indeed suggest that you would get sidetracked and stuck on twitter if you explored it. You clearly like posting Qs and engaging with those who reply. Here it gets you some useful advice. Twitter could be the same but it takes time to build a substantial following who will engage with you and all messages are far more transient.

I've shared loads of tips and advice re twitter in articles on accountingweb. For example here's The accountants’ guide to Twitter and The dos and don’ts of Twitter for accountants

I've also written various pieces on my blog re the use of social media by accountants. One such post compares various forms of social media in terms of what accountants can expect from them. 

Linkedin is a special case I think as it's the only site where it's worth you having a decent profile even if you're going to be inactive there. I've explained more about this on my blog here.

Mark

Thanks (4)
bike
By FirstTab
12th Sep 2011 22:40

Mark

Thanks, I found your response helpful.

Thanks (0)
By Sarah Offord
13th Sep 2011 22:31

LinkedIn, Twitter & Facebook

I use all three although I have only just started using them properly I have to say. In the past couple of weeks that I have been using them regularly I have already booked in an appointment with a potential new client (small limited company), who saw a recommendation I had received from another of my clients who was connected to them.

I try and update my status once a day, the trick being to follow the BBC Business, Accountingweb, HMRC, Businesslink etc on twitter and re-tweet anything of interest that comes through. This saves valuable time looking for interesting links. The issue I am having at present is ensuring enough variety of my posts and keeping it interesting enough for my followers to die of boredom.

Also, just in case you weren't aware you can link your twitter account to your linkedin profile, so everything you post on twitter automatically feeds through into your linked in account. I don't know if there is a way to do something similar with Facebook.

In summary, I don't know if the time input will pay off it really is early days. I suspect there is a way to make social networking work for your business, but I also suspect you might need advice from an "expert" to get it right.

Hope that is helpful to you Firsttab!

SD

Thanks (2)
bike
By FirstTab
14th Sep 2011 06:22

Sir Digby

Thanks for your response Sir Digby. Wow! 2 appointments already, that is great. Please respond here how it goes.

You have given some good tips. I think I will try social media, starting with an hour a week max and see how it goes. I just do not want to get addicted as I am with AW!

 

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By Tim Robinson
14th Sep 2011 12:30

Paul Scholes wrote;

"As I've said before I've actually had to do a JC on Linked in (die & return) to stop being constantly pestered by people who wanted to link with me, primarily to get to my client base rather than me."

 

I am fascinated by the "client base" comment because I have so far refrained from linking to my clients on that medium for precisely the same reason, which I include under "client confidentiality". 

However in response to my comment on the Linked In ICAEW group that our Institute hasn't given us any guidance on this issue, the response (from a practitioner, not the Institute) was;

 

"Confidentiality is not a major issue. If your client does not want it to be public information then they will not agree to connect and will tell you why - I assume, and by connecting they are giving consent to the 'disclosure'.

As Michael stated there is nowhere it actually states that they are clients. I have contacts which I would love to also be clients.

I terms of using Linkedin I find it handy to be able to put someone in touch with someone else and clients like the idea that I can be on their computer and 'show a bit of background' in respect of someone I am recommending - often puting a face to a name is a good start.

The discussions in various groups often give points of current thought which is good to discuss or show awareness of when talking to clients or even potential clients."

 

What does the AWeb community think about this?

 

Thanks

Tim

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Replying to ShirleyM:
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By Old Greying Accountant
14th Sep 2011 15:02

I think that is very sweeping assumption

Tim Robinson wrote:

"Confidentiality is not a major issue. If your client does not want it to be public information then they will not agree to connect and will tell you why - I assume, and by connecting they are giving consent to the 'disclosure'.

 

They are assuming the client is fully cognizant of the effects of accepting, and in my experience most people just click accept to any of the media without appreciating what they are saying yes to. If people were fully aware of the affect of all these things fraud and identity theft would be less prevelant (IMHO).

Thanks (1)
Replying to MFJ Logical:
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By Tim Robinson
14th Sep 2011 14:50

Not My Words

It wasn't me who wrote that, it was part of the response on Linked In, which I don't necessarily agree with!

Tim

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By Old Greying Accountant
14th Sep 2011 15:03

I see, I get the speech marks now ...

... edited original post to reflect this, changed you to they :o)

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Mark Lee 2017
By Mark Lee
14th Sep 2011 23:30

Building on Tim's comments re LinkedIn

I'm connected with over 1400 people on Linkedin. I'd defy anyone to know who are my clients (in any senses of the word).  

Connecting with someone is not indicative of a client/accountant relationship so of course there is no confidentiality issue there. I see no need for ICAEW to provide any guidance (leaving aside the fact that there may be no one with both the authority to give guidance and who has a sufficient understanding of LinkedIn).

Most accountants will end up being connected to just a few hundred people. Some will be clients, some prospects, some friends, some advocates, some met at face to face networking events, some because they want to be connected with you. Some clients will be connected with no accountants, some with just one, some with more than one. If it's just one who is to know if it is theirs or simply a friend or someone who is pursuing them as a prospect client?

ps: I don't get pestered by people wanting to connect with me on Linkedin. Those who are pestered may need to change their settings. (top right of the screen when in Linkedin. Click on the down arrow by your name and follow the link to 'your settings'. Choose which emails you want and which you don't want for example.) There may be other reasons too such as: Making your profile attractive to the wrong type of people. (NOT saying this applies to Paul of course)   

Mark

 

Thanks (1)
Teignmouth
By Paul Scholes
15th Sep 2011 10:29

Being pestered

As it happens my concern/annoyance was not in having my clients pestered through my Linkedin account but rather requests from various people wanting to connect with me in the same way that I used to get cold calls & emails, eg from IFAs, Insolvency practitioners.

The fact that they could see my connections online never occurred to me (can they?).  As mentioned by Mark nobody would know who are & are not clients anyway and, let's face it the name of the facility and it's primary purpose is to build links and networks so you should know what you risk when signing up.

In my resurrected state I have hardly any connections but, low & behold, a local IFA sent a request through to be best buddies last week.

I only joined because mates & clients of mine in the IT industry have raved about it for years and told me I just had to get onboard.  It's great for them as people move about so much in their industry and so they can keep track of old colleagues and contacts where ever they might be.

I have no doubt some in our industry will also be at home in this sort of environment but, as Mark says, given the amount of time necessary to be active and make best use of it, I don't have the heart, especially when there is real life and fresh air going on around me.

So I think it's time to meet Dad, so to speak.

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Mark Lee 2017
By Mark Lee
16th Sep 2011 00:34

Paul

Check out the settings on Linkedin so that only people who already know you can ask to connect with you. Or the option that requires everyone to put in your email address before they can contact you through the site. The first of these options works for me I must admit).

Mark

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