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Can accountants really get new clients through social media?

18th Apr 2024
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Social media promises so much yet all too often, delivers so little. Is it worth putting time and effort into it? Two accountants explain how their social media strategies deliver solid, quantifiable results, week after week.

Can accountants get new clients through social media - AVN Inspiring Accountants - images of social media icons
Adem AY on Unsplash

Have you ever proudly crafted a snappy tweet or a thought-provoking LinkedIn post, only to watch it disappear with not a single like or comment? Disheartening, isn’t it?

Social media may not be a natural fit for many accountants. But that doesn’t mean you can’t learn, as these case studies show.  

Take that first step into social media

You may know Dan Heelan of Heelan Associates as a regular guest on AccountingWEB webinars and the No Accounting For Taste podcast. You may not know that his YouTube channel has more than 37,000 subscribers. Or that some of his videos on the platform have over 100,000 views.

In fact, Dan’s YouTube channel brings in so many enquiries that he’s had to employ two additional team members to deal with them. 

What advice does he have for someone who’s wondering how to get started?

“I think we all have that imposter syndrome of feeling like we're not good enough. The first thing is getting over yourself in terms of you are good at your job, you do know a lot of stuff. Putting your head above the parapet can be a really scary thing to do. So, the first thing is getting over that.”

And he’s clear that you don’t need to be an expert on social media marketing. Dan’s videos quite simply deal with the questions that business owners want answered. They offer value, not a hard sell.

For example, his video called ‘VAT for business explained’ has 108,000 views and over 200 comments (which all get a reply, even if it’s just a thanks). Other popular topics include ‘How to start a limited company,’ ‘Being self-employed and employed at the same time,’ and ‘How to pay yourself as a sole trader.’ By targeting the most common areas of concern for business owners, Dan reaches the widest audience possible. 

It's also important to post regularly so you start to build a following. 

As Dan says, “We all see these people with millions of followers and think that's what's needed to be successful. Some of the videos we do only get three or four hundred views but it's the quantity of videos. For example, someone phoned up and said, ‘I want to speak to that bald guy I saw on YouTube, I’ve been binge watching him on YouTube for the last hour and a half and I thought he’d be a good guy to talk to.’”

Find your own voice

Michael Hemme, of MDH Accountants, has won multiple awards and achieved the challenging 6* AVN Excellence accreditation at first go. But he suffered from a lack of confidence when it came to social media and in particular, creating videos.

In fact, Michael’s team had been pushing him for years to start creating videos and raise his profile, but he always had an excuse for not doing it. It was only when he noticed that the stream of new clients was starting to slow that he knew he had to take the plunge.

He got over his lack of confidence by bringing in an expert. 

“I worked with a speaker coach to help me on my speaking because I was genuinely struggling with it. And, while it’s absolutely horrid to go through that process, it put the actual delivery on turbocharge. So it took a lot of pain to get through it, but ultimately, it was just allowing the real Michael to come out to the world.”

As with Dan, the results have been transformative.

“We've seen our enquiries go through the roof, to roughly 20 to 30 a week. Some of them are utter rubbish but we're getting some absolute gems. In the past we couldn't get above a certain GRF level, it just wouldn't work. But we've smashed through that glass ceiling by another £75k and we're now employing lots of other team members. And I can see it going  even further.”

Is social media just about video?

Videos are an incredibly important aspect of social media. YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google and the second most used social media platform (after Facebook). Around 5 billion YouTube videos are watched every day! So you really can’t ignore them.

But not everyone is a natural in front of the camera. Like Michael, you may need help to find a way of presenting that suits your style. Alternatively, there may be someone in your team who would jump at the chance do this. It’s a question of trial and error until you get it right.

And of course, social media is all about amplifying your message and reaching as many people as possible. So with just one video you can create posts on other social media platforms and link back to your video. The video content can be repurposed into a blog or a downloadable resource. And as your catalogue of videos grows, you can link between them to encourage more views.

Many accountants would say that it’s not essential to be on social media to be successful, and that’s true. But it’s a massive opportunity to raise your profile and reach business owners you wouldn’t connect with in any other way. Done right, as Dan and Michael have done, it can generate a steady stream of new clients. Though, as Michael says, “It's not just about attracting new clients. It's also nurturing people to talk to us.”

See how Michael developed his social media strategy in this video