Accountants confused over social media

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Robert Lovell
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There is widespread confusion on the subject of social media among employees at the top 100 accounting firms, according to new research by CaseWare.

Firms are failing to use social media effectively, with many employees reporting little knowledge of what their firm does in this space.

Around 17% of respondents did not know whether their firm actively used business networking site LinkedIn; however, just about all large and mid-sized firms do.

Despite a large number of firms having some form of Twitter feed, awareness of whether their firm was using Twitter was even lower.  A quarter of accountants reported that they did not know whether their firm used it or not.

A similar amount also...

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By Tickers
19th Nov 2013 18:36

What confusion?

There's no confusion when it comes to social media for accountants, its a waste of time simple as. I dipped my toe in the pond a couple of years ago and came to the conclusion that Facebook, twitter et al is not suited to accountants. Reason being is that if somebody is shopping online for an accountant they're generally looking for the cheapest quote combined with the litany of tweets asking how VAT works or "how much tax do I pay if I earn £80 per week". My twitter feed effectively turned into a citizens advice bureau.

Thanks (1)
19th Nov 2013 22:08

Could cut and paste

these finding to pretty much any business sector.

Employees of large faceless organisations tend to have very little idea what is going on in terms of advertising, marketing and social media.

Very different for small firms.

@Tickers - have to disagree, I invested hundreds of  hours (literally) in social media primarily linkedin, just before starting my practice and in the first six months of my practice - started in mid 2011. Now have 100+ clients and I can track around 80% of those back to contacts I made through social media.

I haven't used any other form of marketing.

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By Tickers
20th Nov 2013 16:46

@kent accountant I guess we've had different experiences in terms of social media, and while I do agree that Linkedin is a must have for businesses and individuals alike, purely because potential clients and employees like to be able to find you on the internet. My experience was that it served recruitments consultants and job hunters more than it does as a revenue generator. Maybe I'm way off the mark on this and please feel free to share any tips or pointers you may have. However, I should also point out that I invested my time in Facebook and twitter which only tended to generate page likes from friends and queries about how much tax back people would get after they quit their summer job. 

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20th Nov 2013 23:07

The biggest confusion arises....

The biggest confusion arises when people include Linkedin when discussing social media in a business context. Twitter is SO different for example that the only similarity is that both are online tools.

In my experience there are a few things that it is worth the top 100 firms doing on social media. Recognising how to use it as a recruitment tool for example or how to reach out to local and national journalists for PR purposes. Also monitoring references to their brand and addressing complaints, that appear online, effectively and promptly.

Obviously it would be good to ensure that staff understand the firm's Linkedin strategy and the twitter strategy (and possibly faceboook too - for recruitment). They can contribute, support and echo the firm's messages so as to extend the reach of the messages.  

As for twitter use by smaller firms of accountants - there are differing views here. In my first article on the subject (Dec 2008) I explained why accountants do not need to bother with twitter. My view has mellowed over the years and as I hear more positive stories. BUT equally I encounter hundreds who get it all wrong and give up. And others who waste far more time on twitter than is warranted. There are typically far more effective ways to spend time seeking out new clients - if that's your objective.

Here is my latest article on the topic: What do accountants do on twitter?



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23rd Nov 2013 10:44


@Tickers - I had no structure to my social media approach when I first started. I joined Linkedin after receiving an e-mailed invite, as most of us do.

I did nothing on it for a couple of years. I then started paying more attention to it when I started working for myself.

First of all I fell into the trap of trying to connect with anyone and everyone - a common mistake but I did stop short of adding LION (LInkedin Open Networker) to my profile headline a.k.a  I'm a social media tart and will connect with anyone.

I realised I needed a more structured approach.

I made a conscious effort to connect with individuals who I thought may be able to refer work to me - IFA's, mortgage brokers, finance brokers, bank managers etc. I made a point of actually speaking to or meeting many of these - this was crucial.

The next step was to join Linkedin groups where I thought my potential clients would be members. I started and contributed to discussions in these groups and connected with members.

I even started my own group as well.

I also posted regular updates on my profile - what I was working on, relevant tax issues etc.

Quite quickly I started to get enquiries from this approach whether direct from Linkedin members or referrals from Linkedin members I had connected with or had discussions/meetings with.

I then started to use Twitter with a similar strategy and had success from this as well.


So, it wasn't a quick process, it took time but once I had the approach right it started to pay dividends.


Nowadays I rarely use Linkedin or Twitter. They were good to get my business kick started, now I rely on word of mouth enquiries. I've been getting around 3-4 enquiries a month for the past year and have been converting 90%.



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