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Social media strategy booklet

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  • 1. Developing a Business Case forSocial Media User Guide
  • 2. Included in this guide, you will find the following sections: ƒƒ Business Case for Social Media The ƒƒ LinkedIn ƒƒ Twitter ƒƒ Facebook ƒƒ Blogging ƒƒ Comparing The Top ToolsThe Developing a Business Case for Social Media Guide was written in collaboration withMichelle Golden of Golden Practices, Inc. 1
  • 3. The Business Case for Social Media “Connecting to people, building a relationship, establishing trust, sharing, collaborating, serving customers, helping customers. So the business case is, if you want to increase the number of connections you might have to customers, then you should think about those (social media) tools.” Tom Hood, Maryland Association of CPAs, Journal of Accountancy, August 2009. Social media is a rapidly growing part of our For professional users, both individuals and culture. Facebook, for example, added more companies or firms, social media sites provide than 200 million users worldwide in 2009 opportunities for networking; knowledge alone and currently has more than 500 million sharing; client attraction and interaction; career active users. Just a couple of years ago, a advancement; and recruitment. Additionally, social network called Twitter was unveiled many conversations about relevant accounting at the South by Southwest festival. Today, topics and perhaps even your company Twitter has more than 75 million users. already are taking place on social networking sites. Listening and participating in these So, how and why should any company or conversations can help you and your business business professional care? How does the stay on top of industry news and can provide high-speed adoption of these social networks valuable insight into what your customers are in our personal lives translate to our saying about you. professional careers? For professional users, both individuals and companies or firms, social media sites provide opportunities for networking; knowledge sharing; client attraction and interaction; career advancement; and recruitment.2
  • 4. Before setting up an online profile on social quantifiable performance indicators for each Before setting upnetworking sites, it is important to define the of the social tools. Each tool offers unique an online profile ongoals and objectives, as you would with any metrics, for example the number of followersmarketing communications initiative. A few on Twitter and number of fans on Facebook. social networkingexamples of common goals are: You should also measure traffic to your website sites, it is important ƒƒDevelop and strengthen relationships from these mediums. It is important to keep to define the goals an eye on some more qualitative data as well, and objectives, as with key audiences, such as clients such as engagement through interactions like comments, “likes” (specific to Facebook and you would with ƒƒShowcase thought leadership on relevant topics LinkedIn) and retweets (specific to Twitter). any marketing communications ƒƒProvide pertinent news Next, choose which social media outlets are initiative. ƒƒIncrease traffic to your website the best fit for your goals. Some of the more popular platforms are LinkedIn, Facebook,Once your goals have been established, you Twitter and blogging. Starting on theneed to determine how best to measure following page are overviews of each ofsuccess. Keep track of some baseline, these social platforms. 3
  • 5. LinkedIn is a LinkedIn looking at a prospective client’s profile, LinkedIn will provide you with the “degreesuser-profile based of separation” between you and that person.database that houses LinkedIn is a user-profile based database You can use this information to contact yourusers’ professional that houses users’ professional background connection and ask for an introduction to the information, their contacts and their affiliatedbackground prospective client. groups and associations. These comprise one’sinformation, their “network” and within a user’s network, various A challenge with LinkedIn is the unknowncontacts and their interactions can occur through groups, events context of the connections for various people.affiliated groups or periodic updates. While LinkedIn suggests that users connectand associations. only to people whom they’d be comfortable With its widespread use—the more recommending or endorsing, this criterion participants, the more effective it is—LinkedIn simply isn’t uniform across all users. Be aware is an increasingly powerful tool and a safe of this challenge as you use LinkedIn to be place to “collect” a lifetime of business introduced to new people—the person whom connections. With automatic notifications of you ask to introduce you to a prospective client changes to your contacts’ profiles, LinkedIn is might not know the person all that well. especially valued by those who’ve lost contact with important people over time. The LinkedIn User Guide provides a closer look at establishing and maintaining a Researching to find connections to prospective LinkedIn presence. Click here to access the clients within your known contacts is one Guide online. brilliant way companies use LinkedIn. When 4
  • 6. Twitter public attempts to help (not shift or defer blame) — are a wise public relations activity.Twitter is a forum that consists of a running Twitter is especially effective for businessthread of 140-character-or-fewer postings development relative to niche specialty areascalled “tweets.” Through a very simple, and when coupled with blogging initiativeseven minimalist, interface, users subscribe to or other content the firm can share. A large(aka “follow”) people of their choice with no number of Twitter users also author blogs —obligation to follow anyone in particular. they go together well.There also is an unbelievable volume of Twitter is about sharing information.information. Twitter offers a “list” feature to While some users do share frivolous factshelp you group or sort those you follow, and (e.g., “I had a PB&J for lunch”), most businessmost want to read. Third-party applications users share tips and links to articles or newssuch as TweetDeck help users manage and they feel are worthwhile or controversial toprioritize the information they are most spark interest or conversation. It’s best to mixinterested in capturing. shared content between others’ work and one’s own.Monitoring Twitter for any tweets about yourfirm, easily handled through Twitter’s search The Twitter User Guide provides more in-depthfilters, is a must. When monitoring turns up any learning to establish and maintain a Twitterresults, positive or negative, respective thank presence. To access this Guide, please click here.yous and remedies — in the form of equallyCrystal Knight, Vester & Wiler CPAs, said “I joined Twitter becauseit’s a powerful information tool where I can scan the latest headlines,not just the accounting industry but the industries our firm serves. Inaddition, Twitter is a great tool to expand my professional networkand make existing professional relationships stronger.” Journal of Accountancy, August 2009 5
  • 7. Most CPA firms find Facebook set up accounts to keep in touch with their college-age or teenage kids.a corporate presenceon Facebook is more Facebook is more complex to use than The use of Facebook groups, or Companyfruitful for recruiting LinkedIn, but also is far more conducive to Pages, is where CPA firms come into play — ongoing conversation. Facebook’s averagethan business at the firm level. A corporate presence can user age is now older than 40 for a coupledevelopment. make sense if the firm has good content to of reasons. One, reconnecting with former disseminate or hosts a number of events. classmates is free through Facebook. Another Most CPA firms find a corporate presence on reason is user-friendly photo sharing. Digital Facebook is more fruitful for recruiting than cameras make it more efficient to share photos business development. with relatives and friends electronically than the old print way. Facebook also facilitates sharing The Facebook User Guide will help you securely and without charge. Grandparents establish and maintain a professional presence find they need to get on Facebook to see on Facebook. To access the Guide now, their grandchildren’s photos. Now parents also please follow this link. 6
  • 8. Blogging Blogs definitely require more energy to maintain than one’s LinkedIn presence, though Most exciting from a marketing time spent on Twitter or Facebook could rangeBlogs are distinctly structured websites that from much more to much less. But blogging perspective is thatcontain short, conversational-style articles blogs disseminate provides benefits the other social media(called “posts”) each housed on a separate channels cannot. or push your contentURL that are date/time stamped and can becommented on by readers. through RSS (Real Blog posts open new doors to effective search engine strength because they are Simple Syndication)Most exciting from a marketing perspective is written more casually than a technical piece. to feed readers orthat blogs disseminate or push your content More importantly, authoring blog posts allows to emails, if peoplethrough RSS (Real Simple Syndication) to professionals to show a bit of their personality subscribe to yourfeed readers or to emails, if people subscribe and at the same time it emphasizes theirto your postings this way. Blogs can replace postings this way. expertise. Since people would rather buy fromor supplement an email content distribution people they know and like, having a regularprogram (e.g., traditional push-marketing) at reader of your blog is a brilliant relationshipfar less expense and far greater ease. Blogs accelerant.are “alive” and available anytime, anywhere,which facilitates “pull-marketing” for intended The Blogging User Guide provides deep-diverecipients and new prospects. learning into establishing and maintaining a blog. To access this Guide, please click here. A Process Not An Event It is important to keep in mind that social media is a work in progress. The goals and objectives you set at the outset will not be accomplished overnight. Experiment to see what works for your business and then refine your plan as you go along. “I think the important thing about a blog is it demonstrates very quickly to your clients the level and depth of your expertise. It also shows your personality.” Journal of Accountancy, August 2009 7
  • 9. Comparing The Top ToolsUnless you have Unless you have tremendous time and resources at your disposal, you’ll want to decide which new media to explore, and among them, which one to tackle first. This chart is subjective,tremendous time and based on the experience of Michelle Golden, Golden Practices, Inc., with the way CPA firmsresources at your would and could use the tools.disposal, you’ll wantto decide which new USEFULNESS (based on moderate to excellent use of tool)media to explore, and LinkedIn Twitter Facebook Blogamong them, which Maintain contact & reconnect ★★★★ ★★ ★★★★ ★★one to tackle first. Regularly alerted to opportunities for interaction (reasons to reach out, as others update) ★★★★ ★★★ ★★★★ ★ Demonstrate your expertise, establish credibility ★★★ ★★ ★★ ★★★★ Increase your knowledge ★★★ ★★★ ★ ★★★ Promote events and firm-hosted activities ★★★ ★★ ★★ ★ Distribute content ★★ ★★★ ★★ ★★★★ Communicate without distributing firm-developed content ★★★★ ★★★ ★★★★ ★ Promote others (thus building goodwill) ★★★★ ★★★★ ★★ ★★★★ Conducive to deepening relationships, building rapport ★★ ★★ ★★★★ ★★ Connect others together (facilitate mutually beneficial introductions) ★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★ Recruiting (firm presence) ★★★★ ★★★ ★★★★ ★★ Identify resources ★★★★ ★★★ ★★★ ★★ Obtain answers to questions ★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★ Meet new people ★★★ ★★★★ ★★ ★★★★ CONCERNS (more stars, greater concern) Business/personal crossover concerns among contacts N/A ★ ★★★★ N/A Time investment to be effective ★★★ ★★ ★★ ★★★★ Noticeable if absent ★ ★★ ★★★ ★★★★ Process considerations to execute well (internal, firm level) ★ ★ ★★ ★★ 8
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  • 11. T: 888.777.7077 | F: 800.362.5066 | E: socialmedia@aicpa.org | W: aicpa.org 10906-312# #

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