Accountants & Bookkeepers

Becoming a Firm of the Future: Working Smarter, Not Harder, Using Social Media

Joseph Patterson | August 30, 2016
Three months. 25 cities. 500+ progressive accounting firms -- just like yours. That’s what you can expect from this year’s Firm of the Future roadshow -- a FREE nation-wide event intended to modernize your accounting practice and increase the longevity of your firm as well as the accounting industry as a whole. Oh, and we’re going to be there every single step of the way (that’s right, all 25 cities). We wouldn’t miss it for the world. Here’s why: The Firm of the Future roadshow combines nearly all of the things we love most! Industry leaders, technology partners, progressive innovation, and, of course, TSheets PROs (plus much, much more). It’s day after day of important discussion, networking, and shared insights from over 500 progressive accounting firms. Want in on the fun? Click here to find a Firm of the Future stop in a city near you and register for the event.Be the Firm of the FutureReady to become a firm of the future yourself? It’s easier than you think, and it all starts with (drumroll please) social media.Social media is the new hook, line and sinker to net web traffic, brand awareness, clients, sales and more. A recent report released by content marketing hub Shareaholic found that social media drives an impressive 31 percent of all web hits. This makes it the ultimate feeder source for referrals now, edging out even search and SEO. Social media is a free, instant, uniquely measurable and (debatably) easy way to leverage your message and propel your brand forward. So how do you use social strategies to your best business advantage, without letting Twitter posts and Facebook timelines take over your entire life? Based on real world experience, here are five tips to help you rule in social realms.

Tip #1: Face the Fans

Facebook is still number one among all the social media networks—boasting a total traffic share of up to 25 percent month over month. A study by Shopify found that Facebook also dominates as a sales driver, accounting for nearly two thirds of all social media visits to online stores, and 85 percent of such sales. Facebook had the highest conversion rate for all social media ecommerce traffic too, at 1.85 percent. So if you’re just starting out in social media, start with a Facebook fan page. Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn and other outlets each have special merit and appeal too. On your website, use icons that link back to each social media network to organically build your fan base and keep the cross connections going.

Tip #2: Pin Down Your Purpose

Prior proper planning prevents…well, you know. To really perform in social media, you’ll not only need to plan ahead, but you need to pin down your personality and overall point of view. Sound like a lot of work just for social media? It’s not a frivolous exercise, and it’s not just for social either. Your business needs this branding definition at its core to consistently radiate your message outward over the long run. At TSheets, there’s a lot of heart in everything we do, because that’s the key message that everything here pivots on, framed under the tagline: “We love employees.” So before we press “post” on every social and marketing message TSheets sends out, we first ask, “Is this helpful for employees? Does this spread the love?”

Tip #3: Map Out Campaigns & Measure Results

Stop making social media an afterthought. Using Buffer, Hootsuite or other management services, you can schedule and control all your social platforms from one central spot. Far in advance, just like you would the rest of your marketing calendar, brainstorm and align social campaigns that fit with your overall plan for the year. For example, if you’re focusing on the promotion of a new product, start early. Write and design exciting, informative, visual and useful ways to introduce the need for that product. Stir up social links to informative blog posts and news sites that can help frame the situation before you try to break out in the marketplace. The likes, shares, feedback and stats you gather from these social mediums can show you what really resonates, and possibly help you shift your overall strategy to what works best.

Tip #4: Be Strategically Hashtag Happy

Think of hashtags not as random word combinations to be thrown haphazardly at the end of posts, but as precision-made campaign lines to use strategically. At TSheets, our most well-known hashtag now appears every week on social feeds across the world: #TSheetsTuesday. TSheets makes and sends out high quality t-shirts to our partners, employees and customers, who then take and post selfies wearing them every Tuesday, paired with the hashtag. It’s become a fun exercise for everyone involved, and spreads the joy, energy and employee enthusiasm of TSheets in a totally organic way. For Valentine’s Day, we did a feel good promotion, #putyourheartintoit, to help people share stories about the way they bring passion and love into their daily work and lives. It shared our brand message, while letting people express what really matters to them, without relying on dry, heavy-handed marketing.

Tip #5: Share the Love

Social media is not a vacuum, and the more you make it about other people, especially your existing clients and potential customers, the bigger and better it becomes. So cross promote. Be a guest blogger on partner sites, or ask them to contribute to yours, and spread the links far and wide. Repost, tag and congratulate clients on their wins and successes. Build campaigns and promotions focused on spreading excitement with your target audience. For example, in an effort to generate some excitement about QuickBooks Connect -- one of the biggest and most exciting events of the year for accountants and bookkeepers (and pretty much anyone who likes to have a good time) -- we created #GetMe2QBC, a social contest in which we asked our clients and PROs to post photos using the contest hashtag. Once the contest was over, we picked three winners to send to QBC on us! The #GetMe2QBC contest generated a lot of buzz on social media, and was the perfect way to highlight both our company and our partner. Social media is not an easy beast to tame, because it’s constantly evolving, and can be time consuming to manage and measure. However, it’s only cementing its place as an essential tool in today’s marketing world. So the best tip? Get started on each platform as early as possible, tweak your social strategy based on real statistics and feedback, and keep posting on.

Interested in learning more about using social media effectively within your firm?

Click here to find a Firm of the Future stop in a city near you and register for the event.

A little about Joseph Patterson

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