9 Social Media Pitfalls to Avoid
by Becky Livingston, Penheel Marketing –
August 1, 2019
Many accounting firms recognize that social media should be in their marketing mix, but they have little knowledge of how to do it effectively. Below are some pitfalls to avoid as you build your firm’s social media presence to generate leads, increase brand awareness and engage with clients and influencers.
- Failure to plan. Without a strategy, the plan becomes haphazard and ineffective. Instead, create a monthly topic calendar in which all social media and marketing initiatives align. You might also leverage trending social media hashtags, such as #TipTuesday #WednesdayWisdom or #FunFriday to tie in your posts.
- No budget. Even though social media is free to use, someone needs to spend time creating content, sharing it, managing it and reporting on it. That time is not free. Consider increasing your marketing budget to include the time needed to support the platforms you choose to use. Estimate three to five hours per week.
- Lacking personality. There are a lot of accounting firms using social media to spread their message. However, to stand out you must have an online personality. Share that personality in your social media posts. For example, if your staff does volunteer work, loves sports, has pets, etc., leverage that in your social media posts. Also, consider the topics on the National Day Calendar to boost your brand’s presence and tie it into something fun and engaging.
- Text overload. Share posts that are image centric by creating graphics, checklists, tips and more rather than simply sharing text. There are many free tools you can use to accomplish this task, including Venngage, Canva, Adobe Spark and Stencil.
- Neglect. Social media is just that, social. Monitoring, engaging and connecting are the foundation of its creation. Just like in-person networking, you need to engage. Regularly check your social media platforms, share content from others, comment on posts and connect with influencers in your field and your client’s fields. Listening tools can help you, such as Hootsuite, Keyhole, Buzzsumo, Brandwatch and Google Alerts.
- Boring content. The accounting profession may not seem exciting to others, but there are many ways to inject some fun and excitement into your content. Consider posts using accounting humor (“Be Audit You Can Be” is a great example); tying content to trends, for example, when a celebrity dies without a will, you could talk about estate planning; and interesting stats and figures about the profession. Find fun facts using a search engine by looking for “accounting did you know” or “accounting fun facts and stats.”
- Blanket posting. If you’re using a post-to-all social media tool, you’re missing out, confusing readers and alienating others. All social media platforms are not created equal; thus, avoid sharing one post on all platforms without adjusting copy for the platform’s best practices. Facebook is a conversational social media tool. LinkedIn is a business tool. Twitter is a headline tool. Instagram is a photo-centric tool. Each tool has nuances about the types of posts it prefers and in what format. Blanket posting your content on all platforms will easily demonstrate you don’t know what you’re doing and cause people to stop following.
- Self-promotion. Rather than hard selling on social media, consider creating opportunities for a conversation. Do that by posting open-ended questions, fill-in-the-blanks, polls, quizzes and more. Then take those answers and create a response, such as a webinar, video, ebook or whitepaper to share.
- Reporting. If you’re not tracking your success with social media, then how do you know what your audience likes/dislikes? At a minimum, view your analytics monthly to identify what’s working and opportunities for improvement.
Social media can be a great tool to help your brand expand, reach new leads and connect with influencers and clients. Using a strategy will not only help you to stay on track but will also help you to determine the path you should follow going forward. If social media engagement intimidates you, or will take too much time from your day-to-day work, consider outsourcing that role to help move you toward your goals.
Becky Livingston is the president and CEO of Penheel Marketing, a New Jersey-based firm specializing in social media and digital marketing for CPAs and small business owners. She is also the author of "SEO for CPAs — The Accountant's SEO Handbook: Get Found Online Organically" and "The Accountant's Social Media Handbook."
This article appeared in the July/August 2019 issue of New Jersey CPA magazine. Read the full issue.