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Social media in accountancy


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Flagship Consulting, a specialist professional services communications company, has published its ‘Social Media in Accountancy’ report. We have analysed the top 60 accountancy firms, according to fee income by Accountancy Age, and conducted a review of their social media activity. Our report positions these top 60 firms according to their social media prowess.

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Social media in accountancy

  1. 1. > Whilst social media has pervaded the majority of consumer focused industries, its use in B2B sectors is only in 2012 beginning to be considered seriously. > Industries that have been traditionally > In this, our second report looking into closed to sharing information and the social media practices of specific collaboration, and have acted behind industries, we have taken an in-depth closed doors, are being challenged to look at 60 accountancy firms ranked in the operate according to the new laws of Accountancy Age Top 50+50. marketing and customer communications. > A survey undertaken by CC H and YouGov > This poses a problem for those B2B highlighted that when accountancy firms companies, particularly in industries such were asked what the top methods were as finance, law and accountancy, that are for bringing in new clients, 78% said word- faced with changing their internal practices of-mouth, 40% personal networking and and fundamental ethos of working if they just 9% of the 99 firms surveyed said socialINTRODUCTION wish to use social channels to aid growth and manage brand. media. 38% of these firms also said they were not likely to make the move to digital. > Faceless corporates are increasingly being encouraged to take a human > Using Flagship Consulting’s own approach and interact on consumer led algorithm, we highlight those firms’ social channels. B2B firms need to learn currently using social channels to the that there are valuable conversations greatest advantage and demonstrate how taking place outside LinkedIn and find new accountancy firms can, and should, utilise ways to work that encourage a people to social media as ways of doing business people style of interaction with customers evolve. and prospects.
  2. 2. > This report is based on the analysis of the social media activity of the top 60 accountancy firms ranked by Accountancy Age, based on fee income. > To evaluate activity, Flagship Consulting > Although these brands are ranked highly developed an algorithm that takes into for their social media activity, they do so account a variety of existing social in an industry that has yet to come to grips evaluation tools such as Peer Index, Klout with social marketing. Their presence on score and Marketing Grader, as well as social shows a willingness to embrace Facebook analysis. the medium, but accountancy firms must move away from broadcasting on social > Our evaluation has shown that, on the media and proactively engage in two whole, those companies which performed way communication with individuals on well on the Accountancy Age top firms list social networks. This will have a positive also tended to have stronger levels ofEXECUTIVE impact not only on amplification of brand social media engagements. Messages, but also on recruitment and transparency.SUMMARY > The Top Five social media accountancy firms are Ernst and Young, Tax Assist > On Facebook there is a lack of brand Accountants, PwC, Deloitte and Baker Tilly, pages across organisations, with many respectively. choosing just a page for interaction with graduates. As this is still the largest social media network, a broader link targeting all stakeholders would provide the greatest ROI.
  3. 3. > To measure brand activity consistently and accurately across channels, Flagship Consulting used a number of tools that took into account: • Strength of presence • Engagement through • Interactions and and interaction on Twitter their website and blog community strength on Facebook > To measure this information, analysis from Klout, PeerIndex and Marketing Grader was taken into consideration and evaluated to create a score out of 100. As few firms listed have a Facebook presence, we evaluated engagement levels from those who did and used this to give extra weighting to their score.METHOD
  4. 4. > Marketing Grader assesses the online > Klout is measured by how often an marketing of an organisation through account creates content that drives three levels of grading – Top of the Funnel, engagement, and therefore influences Middle of the Funnel and Analytics. others, by looking at influence online from data across social networks. • Top of the Funnel assesses the sales and marketing in terms of how well an organisation brings visitors to the website. • Middle of the Funnel looks at how well an > PeerIndex is the measurement of organisation manages to get traffic to its interactions across the Internet to website.INTRODUCTION determine impact on social media. • Lastly, analytics look at measurements > A score on PeerIndex is a measure of to evaluate marketing activities that are/ online authority and reflects the impact of are not working and whether successes online activities. It measures the extent to and failures have been which a person or company has built a social capital and online reputation.
  5. 5. 1. ERNST & YOUNG > Ernst & Young is the top performer on > The website is well structured and social media, with regular posts on Twitter contains relevant information for which provide information that frequently consumers, businesses and potential links to its website, complementing SEO employees. There are also specific links to efforts. its social media channels. > However, there is not a great deal of > Its Facebook page has a high level proactive engagement and Twitter could of engagement, with an average of 12 be better used to stir debate and engage posts, shares or likes per comment. The communities on the platform. information is timely, relevant and links to current affairs issues that relate to accountancy, which creates discussion. There is also a fast response rate for questions about career opportunities.
  6. 6. 2. TAXASSIST ACCOUNTANTS > On Twitter, @TaxAssistUK has done > While TaxAssist Accountants has a highly a successful job in demonstrating its focus engaging Twitter Feed, its Facebook page on small businesses. The inclusion of a requires further development to guide person (female) as its profile picture interaction from fans. There is good use of makes the account much more human and linking to images, although there is little therefore more engaging. Posts are feedback and content is not engaging its consistent and provide links to both the audience. website and current issues. @TaxAssistUK also provides feedback and answers to any questions asked by followers, although it could be more proactive in outreaching and taking part in non-brand conversations.
  7. 7. 3. PwC > @PwC_UK has a bright Twitter page with > On Facebook, there are posts that images highlighting the company’s work highlight the latest work within PwC, with and events. While there are close to 11,000 links to its website. However, the page fails followers, there could still be more use of to respond to career enquiries efficiently. outreach and interaction. The tone is There is a minimal amount of engagement upbeat and casual, yet still provides high on the page and there is no levels of information that would be acknowledgement by the brand when valuable for its business audience. users share information on the page.
  8. 8. 4. DELOITTE > The @DeloitteUK Twitter feed averages > Deloitte (global)’s Facebook page approximately 3-4 posts per day, with provides a continuous stream of relevant information that links to its website. There posts that are highly engaged with, and is also a good use of retweeting to increase provide excellent insight into, the brand Engagement, but no conversations or and its personality. There is a great deal of questions which could be used to provoke proactive engagement and endorsements interactions from its community. from fans which reinforce the brand positioning. The brand’s custom tab links through to a branded section providing strong video content and links to other social channels. Of all the brands reviewed, Deloitte’s Facebook page is the most successful.
  9. 9. 5. BAKER TILLY > @BakerTilly has more than 2,600 > Baker Tilly’s branding is clearly aligned followers on Twitter, with an average of 3-4 across its website, Twitter feed and posts per day. The information posted is Facebook with thorough and relevant use informative and generally links back to its of linking and content sharing. website. However, there is no outreach or conversation with followers. > The Baker Tilly International Facebook page is global, and provides information about charities supported, awards received, graduate information and interactive videos. It receives an average of 2 pieces of engagement per post (in the form of a like, comment or share) and provides information that is more personalised than its Twitter page.
  10. 10. 6. BISHOP FLEMING > @BishopFlemingUK’s Twitter is very > Bishop Fleming has established great Engaging, with retweets and information branding of a ‘lifestyle’ organisation with linking to other people to follow. Tweets its ‘Aspire to success’ slogan, and has a are varied and include questions and comprehensive website that is easily read information about the industry and Bishop and navigated. Fleming. The page proactively outreaches to others and is very conversational. > Bishop Fleming’s Facebook page is currently operating solely as an additional platform to share information, via press releases. There is no interaction or engagement with its community.
  11. 11. 7. GRANT THORNTON UK > @GrantThorntonUK’s post rate is high, > While Grant Thornton is currently lacking with approximately 5 posts per day. These an all-encompassing Facebook page, it include retweets, information about new does have a Recruitment UK page that staff, its organisation and the industry. allows interaction to occur with potential There are lots of tweets about speakers new graduates. This tone of interaction is within the organisation and events they lighter; posts include information about are attending. However, there is a lack of pop culture, including references to the TV interaction and response when people show ‘The Apprentice’, as well as reach out with questions. competitions that allow students to further their skills. > While this is successful, it could increase its social media influence with the inclusion of a brand page.
  12. 12. 8. KPMG > KPMG in the UK averages approximately > KPMG is currently lacking outreach and 4 posts per day across a wide range of interaction with its online community information - including video content and across all channels. At present there is informative industry information. It good communication with graduates, currently has over 5,000 followers. however this could be strengthened by communication with all stakeholders. > While KPMG does not have an all- encompassing UK Facebook page, it does have a page that focuses specifically on Graduate Recruitment. This page provides information about upcoming vacancy opportunities, as well as more of a ‘lighthearted’ tone with jokes (while students are revising for exams), news updates and links to KPMG achievements. This page has more than 6,000 ‘likes’ and allows for an interactive platform between KPMG and graduates.
  13. 13. 9. BDO LLP > @bdoaccountant is a strong feed with > BDO appears high on this list due to its regular updates and good levels of engaging Twitter account and excellent interaction. The feed is engaged with real website, which offers interactive services life events taking place in the company, such as the section entitled ‘Talk Shop’ – such as awards, and uses Twitter as an where business leaders offer their extra arm for its marketing efforts. The personal thoughts and views on current feed has a positive and fun personality business issues. The website presents a that is engaging and relevant for followers. bold layout and easy navigation to source content. > BDO LLP UK does not have an active Facebook page.
  14. 14. 10. SJD ACCOUNTANCY > @SJDA ccountancy has a well branded > The Facebook page currently looks like a Twitter feed with an average of 1-2 posts basic RSS feed, with notes that showcase per day. These posts include information latest press releases. The community has about the industry and its organisation, not yet been established and there is no however there is little outreach to and engagement at present. from followers. The branding aligns with the website, which provides links to the > SJD’s strength lies in its website, which has various areas of information. good levels of content, syndicated blogs and interactive elements.
  15. 15. > Those companies performing best on social media include a blend of the big four as well as more nimble firms, able to alter their practices to be more in line with current marketing styles. > For the larger firms operating in this > Predictably, proactive engagement and space, their sheer size and resource – both outreach remain low. Instead, accountancy financial and human – means that they can firms tend to use social media as a means successfully implement a social strategy to distribute content rather than create that will position them as thought leaders. conversations around it. Few firms can be Smaller firms may not have the same seen to produce content specifically for financial clout but, as we have seen, can social media purposes, meaning many take a more human approach to online feeds on social channels appear to simply communications that deliver greater be an off-shoot as an aid to a greater dividends – allowing them to compete in SEO/content marketing campaign. the same space as multinational firms. > The content being shared on socialCONCLUSION channels by the majority of firms is not opinion led and fails to take into account conversations taking place online. Accountants should focus on monitoring these conversations to provide relevant branded context to offer value to their social audience, nurture leads and engage customers.