Introvert In Business
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Why most Accountants fail at Social Media, and how to fix it.

20th Dec 2013
Introvert In Business
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Have your heard things like:

“We’ve tried social media, and got nothing from it”

The owners of many small Accounting firms certainly have said that to me. If you’re one of them, read this article just before you give up, and then put the action plan into place.

But, there are many that are getting good business from Social Networking sites. They’re getting leads and having fun.

What’s the difference between the two?

I’ve spoken to many that are happy to keep using social networking sites to get business, as they are getting business from them. There’s one point that rarely, if ever, came up in the group that were struggling.

Let me explain by turning to something that used to be a major problem to ship captains – Icebergs.

Social Networking success and the Iceberg.

A few months ago the owner of a small practice told me he really ought to get into social media as his competition was be doing well on it (although six months earlier he had strongly been against using it).

He was like ship captains many years ago, who believed that Icebergs wouldn’t affect their journey, only to panic when they saw some.

Recently I caught up with him again and asked how it was going. He was mystified, it wasn’t working. He was using Twitter and LinkedIn (in a professional manner), created a great campaign and got somebody to run it for him. But success had eluded him.

This time he asked what I thought. I reminded him of our previous conversation and told him about the Iceberg story.

You know that the big problem with Icebergs is that most of it is below the water. That’s the part the does the damage.

What he, like many others, didn’t see is that social networking is about being social.

Social Networking is about relationships. The small practices that get value, are creating and enhancing relationships (invisible, below the water). They are not just creating great campaigns (that’s the visible bit, above the water).

Modern marketing is about relationships

I’m sure that in your practice you’ve found the best way to get new leads is referral. Those same practice owners that are concerned about Social Media will certainly do. But, they haven’t connected the dots between people, referrals and SOCIAL networking.

CNBC was talking about Beyonce’s recent album launch:

"I wouldn't so much say that 'marketing as we knew it is dead' but rather that marketing is reverting back to what it was in the 1960s—relationship marketing. ... Beyoncé's new album isn't successful because she kept it a secret and dropped it out of thin air, it's successful because she has a huge fan base, has poured her life into her brand, and is an incredibly talented human being."— Jason HeadsetsDotCom

Your action point

Consider that Iceberg while you relax over Christmas before tax return season hits hard. How will you drive relationships? How will you use Social media for Social Networking? You may also enjoy our free guide to Social Media, download it by clicking here (email address required).

So, carry on doing whatever you currently do “above the water”, whether on LinkedIn, Twitter etc. But try this.

Each week get in touch with 5 people on whatever platform you use, converse, “chat”, “network” or whatever you call it. Grow 5 relationships each week, bring the networking into Social Networking and don’t think of it as (anti)social media.

That’s the one difference between practice owners who are using Social Networking sites successfully and those that aren't.

So, enjoy, have fun, and remember there is more Iceberg below the waterline than above it.

Written by Jon Baker, of venture-Now. The 5-50 Coach, who helps professionals to grow their practice from 5 to 50 employees, profitably, sustainably and while they still have a life.


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Replies (8)

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By Old Greying Accountant
20th Dec 2013 12:38

Unfortunately ...

... many accountants are very good accountants but are introverts and are no good at social media networking because they are no good a physical networking.

Whilst you can learn techniques, those who are learned networkers generally stand out a mile from those that are natural networkers, and, in my humble opinion, that can actually work as a negative - what I would call TTH syndrome (trying too hard).

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By Flash Gordon
20th Dec 2013 12:30

Nail on head

OGA is right. I'd scare people off! I'm very (and some) introverted so in a million years I'm not going to excel at networking because I find it so very, very difficult. I tried to get myself to say hello (nothing more than that, literally just hello) to 5 people each day while walking my dog and unless there were dog walkers around that I knew (and could therefore manage a hello and appropriately British comment about the weather) I found it difficult. (I'm just grateful that I am British and can therefore rely on the weather as a main topic!) Needless to say its a habit that has fallen by the wayside.

So growing 5 relationships each week isn't a reality for the likes of me. I'd rather take my chances with real icebergs.

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Replying to Wrighty59uk:
By The 5-50 Coach
23rd Dec 2013 09:18

Thanks Guys,

OGA and Flash, I appreciate a great start to the discussion thread. I think there is something about being "naturally" good at talking to other people (isn't that the core of networking and therefore social too). 

I also think there's something in very interested in the point about talking to other dog walkers. What starts off as a grunt and a morning it's cold, becomes over a number of months almost a full blown conversation (I know this because that's me too). So, it's not that we're no good at networking, it's finding something that we can talk (briefly) about - even if that's dog walking :)

And I agree with the Aggy91, answering blogs is a great way to start discussion - thank you 

And as for the secondary discussion thread in there. I totally agree. I'm very happy sitting quietly and love christmas for the fact that I don't have to talk to people :)

Have a brilliant Christmas, whether avoiding or embracing people, or just eating Mince Pies,


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By aggy91
20th Dec 2013 18:31

Wait... isn't commenting on blogs social media...?



I tweet. I get clients from Twitter. Not many, I'm certainly not a social media guru, but more than a handful a year.


I suck at offline networking. Serious bad. I got dragged to one event recently and spent half the night sitting in a corner until a kindly lady dragged me round the floor introducing me to people. "This is X he isn't very good at this". So if I can get clients from Social Media you can get clients from social media.


The number one rule on Twitter? The one that gets missed in most write ups? Be human. Seriously thats it, if you can start there and succeed at that (and lets be honest you've been doing it offline for years) then the rest is easy.


Rule 2 - Be interesting. What do I mean by that? You will find an audience if you make tweets that you find interesting. Someone out there will find them interesting to.


An example, from my tweets today, I've tweeted about:


Freedom of speech

Abuse of power


Burnt bacon

Hipster Jazz piano

Moon landing conspiracy



Google Android

Calvin & Hobbs

Comments on forums (not here)

And more.... and almost 600 people follow me! (Could of sworn I tweeted something accounting related but maybe not). And they talk to me about stuff that I tweet too.


I'd keep listing rules but eventually I'd hit rule 34 and no one wants that.


If you do not think you can be social then start with Twitter. It moves fast, a tweet at 10am is forgotten by 12pm. It is only 140 characters so it only takes a few seconds to type a reply. Much less time consuming and more relaxed than say Linkedin


Also its public, there is more chance to stumble across people. I've had conversations with Jon Baker on there and only realised when I came to write this that he follows me and I didn't follow him (fixed now Jon @ataccounting).


The thing about most networking is that you are not really selling to the people you are talking to at an event, but the entire network of people they connect to. Most of the clients I have got through Twitter are not the people I followed on Twitter but their friends (yes I know a great guy on Twitter you should try him). Whilst I get where Jon is coming from with his targetted approach you will find you basically do this anyway. People see you have retweeted them. You can quickly send someone a comment which they will see. And mutual friends see it too, then they can join in, or you can join in on their conversations.


Twitter is sort of like standing in the middle of a crowded room at a party. All around you conversations are happening and you catch bits of each. Finally you hear something intesting to you and you go and join that group of people.


And back to the heading. Both OGA and Flash say they can't do social media, and yet I see them commenting on here regularly. Talking to people and... gasp... being social.... I'd almost suggest they are networking, but neither do that ;)




Didn't there used to be a preview post button here somewhere?

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By Flash Gordon
20th Dec 2013 20:20


Yes I comment on here but no-one knows me (so I can't lose clients) and I'm usually second-guessing myself afterwards. If I was doing this where my livelihood depended on it.....

I'll admit I could probably tweet about a fair few things (Calvin & Hobbes included!) but I don't think they'd impress potential clients. And I'm no good at instant replies unless I'm prepared for them as for some reason my brain doesn't go that fast e.g. I went out (being social!) with friends this time last week, had a nice time, stood in the car park at the end saying goodbyes & I get 3 'Happy Christmas' type comments in my direction. I'm still processing them as I get in my car (I managed a 'see you soon' when I've no intention of meeting up again that soon!) and realise that I didn't wish anyone a Happy Christmas. Naturally it's too late at that point. Anyway, my point (and I may have had one) is that I can talk utter rubbish provided that I have time to think about it, but I'm not sure how useful that would be in the wonderful of business.....

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By Old Greying Accountant
21st Dec 2013 18:41

Agree with Flash ...

... anonymous networking - a great way to gain new business!

I did sign up for twitter, lasted an 2 minutes, my computer became possessed so I removed everything - I have a life, I'm no tosher and really can't be arsed to wade through the virtual sewers of verbal diarrhea for the odd gem.

What makes me laugh is  "I know this realy good guy on twitter, you should try him" - no, you don't know me, unless you have met me - this great guy on twitter could be a psychop[athic serial killer who just has a good IT team putting this fantastic image out in the virtual world.

Anyway, for the record, I didn't say I can't do social media, I said social media networking, but I didn't say I can't do it. That seems to be the problem with social media, no one reads anything properly and then an incorrect statement gets sprayed around the internet and then becomes incontrovertible fact.

Flash didn't say they couldn't either, which is why I tend to agree with David Cameron that someone who twitters is a ...

Also, don't confuse introversion with shyness, or just being a dick. There is a big difference between being in a room and wanting to join in but being too shy; or not knowing what to say; etc. than being in a room when you have no desire to be there in the first place and even less desire to interact with anyone!

Agree with Flash on the delayed retorts, the gems I come up with in the car on the way home are priceless!

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By Flash Gordon
21st Dec 2013 20:18

Introversion v shyness

So many people confuse introversion with shyness. You can be shy and introverted or shy and extroverted (worse surely as you'd want to be joining in) or not shy and... well you get my gist. Given the choice I'd rather not be there, if I am there I might feel like joining in (extremely rarely actually) but not know where to start or (more likely) I might feel like I should be joining in but really not have the desire to and feel like the odd one out. 

Introversion at Christmas = either being happily alone but having everyone look concerned and ask if you're okay and not feeling lonely or agreeing to do stuff and regretting it the whole time

Flash this Christmas = 2 weeks of sheer joy on my tod starting 6pm (or preferably before) tomorrow, Miami beating Buffalo, the mince pies are all made (and already disappearing) and I am ready for peace and quiet and solitude. Sheer bliss. I've warned everyone that the front door is staying closed to visitors and no, I'm not lonely, I won't feel lonely, I don't want to see anyone, I am HAPPY!!!!!!!

(yes, I have had a couple of drinks while baking!)

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By Old Greying Accountant
23rd Dec 2013 13:06

think the crux of my view is ...

... no networking is better than bad networking.

If you are not good at networking, it is not the be all and end all, if you do a good job, in good time and give good advice your clients wil recommend you anyway.

Personally, I prefer it that way, as a classic Englishman blowing ones own trumpet is not the done thing.

I don't actively network, but I have a steady stream of new clients just from referrals from satisfied clients.

I personally find a relentless stream of "thought you might find this interesting" or "you should read this" e-mails etc. intensely intrusive, wastes my time and clogs my inbox, but that is just my preferences.

So, it is horses for courses, the active networkers probably turn off more than they turn on, but there are enough clients and enough accountants to allow each to find a relationship(s) that suit their particular needs. 

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