What does Google say about you and your firm?

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Mark Lee highlights the need for practices to be aware of what their web contributions say about them and talks to social media expert Nancy Williams about the importance of guarding your online reputation.

It is becoming more and more common to Google someone before meeting them for the first time, whether for a potential business meeting, to interview them or to be interviewed by them. If someone Googles you now or in the future what will be revealed?

Fear of revealing too much may be one of the reasons why accountants are not avid users of social networking sites. However, many of the same considerations...

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09th Mar 2009 11:23

Re - work from online networking

Online networking (ecademy, LinkedIn, Xing...) is no different than offline networking: you have to invest a large amount of time into the process for it to work well. You also need to be prepared to pass on more referral to others before you will get any.

The more time you invest, the more likely it will pay for itself.

This time should be spent doing the following:
* creating good articles or interesting information / surveys / reports;
* genuinely helping other members in your area of expertise;
* for members looking for help in areas outside of yours, put them in touch with your own contacts that have expertise in those areas.
* social activities (1) more on this later

All these will help you become an authority in the eye of the other members and help build trust in you and your company.

Once the trust is there you have to keep working at helping others but I would say that the hardest part has been done.

(1) Depending on the network, you should invest time in 'social' activities - ie. totally non commercial. For example you might be perceived as a 'hard seller' on ecademy if you spent more than 70% of your time focussing on commercial activities. On LinkedIn on the other hand, it's ok to invest over 90% of your time on commercial posts. Know your audience and adapt your networking style to match and not upset it.

Hope this helps.

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06th Mar 2009 17:02

Further info needed
Thanks Mark, a really useful article. I'd be interested to know if there is anybody who is getting a steady stream of work from their online presence. I've made one or two contacts via LinkedIn that have then referred me work, but that's really been accidental rather than the result of any sustained campaign.

Steve Lloyd

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06th Mar 2009 15:14

There's two of us and I'm not the New Zealand record reviewer and poet and he's the one on Facebook, not me.....

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15th Jan 2010 12:41

Late reply to Steve/Cicero01

I suspect that the absence of replies before now is indicative of the relative lack of interest in the subject of accountants exploiting their online presence.  That perception has never surprised me and I've written blog posts that reinforce it to a degree. Having said that I have also noticed an increasing number of UK accountants are experimenting with twitter (over 200 now) and I've written guides to getting the most from twitter for AccountingWeb.

As with all forms of promotional activity the key question is whether your online prescence interests your target audience (or people who are well known to your target audience). LinkedIn has its place. Twitter is very different and online business forums are different again.

Mark Lee


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