Leveraging Social Media to Develop Your Company


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Presentation given by Brian Swanson to the AICPA on leveraging social media to develop your company's brand in 2012 - Flashpoint Marketing - Accounting Marketing.

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  • Social media marketing refers to the process of gaining website traffic or attention through social media sites. Social media marketing programs usually center on efforts to create content that attracts attention and encourages readers to share it with their social networks. The general focus is on relationship building.
  • Social media allows you to enter your brand into the broader “digital” conversation. These are the key benefits it provides to firm’s that are looking to engage in social media.
  • Source: http://aytm.com/blog/research-junction/branding-and-how-it-works-in-the-social-media-age/Information also obtained from Neilsen Ratings
  • Daily FB users have greater influence on their followers because FB pushes status updates to the top of followers news feeds based on their level of activity. This also include page likes for companies, etc. If someone likes a page then it is pushed to the top in another followers newsfeed. Source: http://aytm.com/blog/research-junction/branding-and-how-it-works-in-the-social-media-age/Information also obtained from Neilsen Ratings
  • So you are thinking okay I can see the potential for social media, but what is the next step? Tell stories about companies that just jump in without a plan.
  • Voice - Many companies have a corporate voice for their brochure and website. However, if this approach is taken in social media then it will be difficult to engage your audience. You need to have a separate brand that does not necessarily sound corporate, but is warming and inviting. The tone needs to be conversational in the approach. Timing - This is especially important for tax and accounting professionals. No one cares about tax planning tips on April 18th, so it is important that you develop a calendar that dictates what subjects will be covered when. Timing is key in terms of prospect engagement. Audience - our audience comes to your social media outlet for several reasons. It is essential that you both understand why they are coming and then provide the sort of information they are looking for. - You don’t need a sales message if you’re targeting existing clients with your updates – instead you need to focus on building the existing relationship and creating a brand promise.Offer Solutions - Examples of this I have seen have been on recruiting social media sites where information on good interviewing skills, how to dress, key questions to ask, etc are all addressed. It relates and is relevant to the audience. This Way to CPA Facebook page Authenticity - Your audience wants you to be “real”. Don’t just post promotional information about your firm which serves as an essential ad. Engage them in conversation about their issues, or other tax issues, challenges, etc which may be coming. The easiest way to lose your audience is to be inauthentic.
  • It’s not to say the first message is not appropriate for marketing, but it is not a conversation piece and really has little value in the world of social media.
  • http://www.facebook.com/YoungCPANetwork?ref=ts
  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/prestonrahn
  • General time invest for new social media users is much higher than it should be. On average during the work day you should spend 2-3 hours per week. This is just a suggestion and not something YOU MUST follow. Acknowledge - Although by and large, many brands with smaller followings typically have a proportionately higher number of lurkers – if and when your audience does engage with you, its very important to acknowledge the engagement.
  • Clearly define in the social media plan who is going to manage the social media outlets. Will it be a partner, you (if one person business) or more than one person. If there is going to be more than one person then it needs to be clear which person is responsible for which activity and so forth. The most effective social media programs seem to have one person managing the effort.
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  • Before one can start we have to determine which social media platform to leverage. There are many options and since we are not social media managers it’s best to assess the major platforms to determine which best meets our needs.
  • There are so many options to choose from on the Internet today. The key is to start in place where most of your customers and prospects are currently active in social media.
  • This is an important social media outlet for two reasons:Only major video social media outletOwned by Google
  • This is an important social media outlet for two reasons:Only major video social media outletOwned by Google – this means that your brand will get strong recognition in search engine results specifically Google. Early adopters – So Far most CPA firms are using this as a duplicate outlet for their Facebook page content. Google Plus 1 concept has an impact on how information is shared and indexed for other users when they are logged in.
  • Discuss here why it is important to measure engagementLikely the partners will want solid stats about “what they are getting” for the effort – standard ROIIndicates what part of strategy is working and what is notDocument new leads and opportunities through social media.
  • Each social media platform has different ways of measuring engagement….it is important to become familiar with each and what they mean for your efforts.
  • Activity - For activity here it is important to mention that this is what the professional has done to reach out and engage the audience. Engagement – Google Analytics just released a new version of the software that provides exactly this information. If you don’t track your web stats then you need to. Getting the social search information will not be difficult. Bit.Ly – visit the website and let’s discuss how you can track website traffic through the links. Lead Generation – This is the trickiest one because it can be difficult to get this information from someone. If you work in a larger firm then you need to work with partners to develop a method for properly tracking internet leads. In some cases the firm will have other metrics they want to use. It is important to consider those as well.
  • The key to success in convincing a skeptical partner group or others is to demonstrate through these metrics that your efforts are having a positive effect. Start with the understanding that your peers and boss do not understand the benefits and therefore you will need to build your case. If you can do this then you are assured success in your social media endeavors.
  • Start Small:Objective – Just pick one objective and start working towards it. The goal maybe to open a twitter account and starting generating followers. Consider what will you tweet about? The way to generate followers on Twitter is to start following other people. So who do you want to follow and why? Flashpoint example!If you have a blog – open a Twitter account and start posting bit.ly links to the Twitter account highlighting your firm’s blog posts. Consider tweeting information about the firm’s newsletter articles. Using the Bit.Ly feature you will be able to see who is clicking through your links and document the traffic to your blog, etc.
  • Leveraging Social Media to Develop Your Company

    1. 1. Leveraging Social Media to Develop Your Company‟s Brand Brought to you by the AICPA Young CPA Network April 25, 2012
    2. 2. Brian Swanson, MBA 14 Years in Accounting Marketing MBA in Finance & Accounting Marketing Experience at Big 4 & Regional CPA Firms SEMPO Certified - Search Engine Marketing SEMPO Certified in Advanced Search Engine Optimization Digital Media Committee – AAM Association of Accounting Marketing 2
    3. 3. Agenda Social Media & Branding Taking Your Brand Digital Developing a Social Media Plan Major Social Media Platforms Measuring Engagement Putting It Together Questions 3
    4. 4. Taking Your Brand Digital What Is Social Media Marketing? Attracting Interest Engaging Stakeholders Sharing Traffic Generating Content Building Relationships It‟s the New „Word of Mouth‟ Marketing 4
    5. 5. Social Media & Branding - Benefits How Social Media Can Help You! Build Meaningful Relationships Brand Awareness Client Loyalty Builds Brand Trust Reputation Management Increases Search Visibility Free to Participate! 5
    6. 6. Social Media & Branding – The Facts Why is Social Media Important? 6 Source: http://aytm.com/blog/research-junction/branding-and-how-it-works-in-the-social-media-age/ Information also obtained from Nielsen Ratings
    7. 7. Social Media & Branding – The Facts 7 Source: http://aytm.com/blog/research-junction/branding-and-how-it-works-in-the-social-media-age/ Information also obtained from Nielsen Ratings
    8. 8. 8 What Happens Next? A Social Media Plans Is Necessary To Guide Efforts!
    9. 9. Developing A Social Media Plan Key Components Include: Goals – What Do You Want to Accomplish? Engagement – Content Strategy Time – When & How Often will You Be Online? Assignment – Who will Execute the Plan? Conversation – How will You Encourage & Manage Conversation? Interest – How Many People are Being Engaged? 9
    10. 10. Developing A Social Media Plan Define Your Goals – Determine Direction 10 Branding Reputation Management Employee Engagement Client/Referral Partner Engagement Recruiting Press Engagement Promotions
    11. 11. Developing A Social Media Plan Establish A Content Strategy 11 Voice – Everything Posted Should Sound Like Your Brand - (Corporate vs. Personal) Timing – Have a Content Calendar Highlighting When You Will Discuss What Topics (Google Trends) Audience – Understand Your Audience and Why They Follow You – Provide Content That Speaks to Them Offer Solutions – Use Social Media to Offer Advice on Issues the Audience May Be Facing Authenticity – It is Essential to Be Authentic
    12. 12. Developing A Social Media Plan Importance of Authenticity: 12 Not Authentic - “Tax season is approaching! Refer a friend for 10% off your preparation fees.” Timing – Have a Content Calendar Highlighting When You Will Discuss What Topics (Google Trends) Authentic – Tax season is approaching! We’re up for a challenge, what’s your toughest tax question?”
    13. 13. Developing A Social Media Plan ALWAYS AVOID (BLATANT) SELF PROMOTION 13
    14. 14. Social Media Examples - Effective 14
    15. 15. Social Media Examples - Effective 15
    16. 16. Social Media Examples – Ineffective 16
    17. 17. Social Media Examples – Ineffective 17
    18. 18. Developing A Social Media Plan Define Your Time Investment 18 Stay Focused on Your Goals Define Your Daily S.M. Tasks Limit Your Attention Plan S.M. Efforts Into Your Day Keep Track of Your Time Remember to Stop Monitor Engagement – Acknowledge Start Small & Progress
    19. 19. Developing A Social Media Plan Identify Who Will Execute The Plan 19 Marketing? Professional Staff?IT? Partners? Human Resources? Outsourced Provider?
    20. 20. Developing A Social Media Plan How Are People to Be Engaged? 20 Don‟t Speak Through Canned Messages (Be Authentic) Offer Solutions Giveback & Reciprocate Consistently Create & Subtly Reinforce Your Value Participate In Others Social Media Outlets – Don‟t Just Focus On Yourself
    21. 21. Developing A Social Media Plan 21
    22. 22. 22 Wait Not So Fast!
    23. 23. Social Media Platforms 23
    24. 24. Social Media Platforms #1 Visited Site Worldwide 200 Million Users Wide Acceptance Broad Demographics Page Oriented – Active Mobility Brand Development/ Recruiting/Press Engagement 24
    25. 25. Social Media Platforms 50 Million Tweets per Day 300 Million Users 1.6B Searches per Day “Basic” Version of Facebook News Oriented – Passive Brand Development/ Employee Engagement/Press Engagement 25
    26. 26. Social Media Platforms Professional Social Media 150 Million Members 200 Million Companies 4.2B Searches -2011 Page Oriented - Active Features – Groups, Questions & Company Pages Recruiting/Prospecting/Brand Development 26
    27. 27. Social Media Platforms Video Sharing Site 800 Million Visitors Per Month 200 Million Companies 500 Years of YouTube Video are watched Every Day on Facebook 100 Million People Take a Social Action on YouTube (Likes, Shares) Every Week 500 Tweets per Minute Containing a YouTube Link 27
    28. 28. Social Media Platforms 28
    29. 29. Measuring Engagement The Key to Your Success 29
    30. 30. Measuring Engagement Each Platform Measures Differently : Facebook – Total Likes, Reach, Talking About This, Check Ins, Testimonials, etc. LinkedIn - Followers, Number of Posts, Likes Twitter – Number of Followers, Re-Tweets YouTube – Comments, Number of Views, Shares Google Plus – People in Your Circles, +1 Identify the Most Important Metrics To Track! 30
    31. 31. Measuring Engagement Key Metrics to Assess Monthly: Audience Growth – Increase in the number of followers, subscribers, readers, etc. Activity – Number of posts, tweets updates, and comments Engagement – Number of re-tweets, link backs, user comments, likes, shares and conversations. Web Traffic - Determine how many visitors came to your firm website from social media platforms. (Bit.Ly) Lead Generation – The total number of leads that come from social media efforts. 31
    32. 32. Measuring Engagement Website Lead Tracking 32
    33. 33. Putting It Together Take A Focused Approach: Identify A Clear Objective Select the Proper Platform Start Small – K.I.S.S. Stick to Your Plan Ensure A Consistent Flow of Content Develop/Leverage Measurement Process Make Adjustments as Needed 33
    34. 34. Contact Info Brian Swanson – Flashpoint Marketing bswanson@flashpointmarketing.biz Twitter: @bswan775 34
    35. 35. Questions 35
    36. 36. 36 Monthly Edge Newsletter • Community Discussions • Career Management Advice • Leadership Articles • Work-Life Balance Tips • Opportunities to “Get Involved” • Young CPA Events To Subscribe: • Email YoungCPANetwork@aicpa.org
    37. 37. 2012 AICPA Leadership Academy October 1-4, 2012 The program offers promising young CPA professionals a unique opportunity to dive into experiential strategic leadership exercises and forge a valuable network of relationships with thought leaders and promising professionals across the country in an intimate and interactive setting. Visit www.aicpa.org/leadershipacademy for program details and applications. Application period ends May 15th. 37
    38. 38. Maximo Mukelabai Award 38 Nominations due May 15 for AICPA Maximo Mukelabai Award The 2012 Maximo Mukelabai Award recognizes a young CPA who has demonstrated outstanding service towards the advancement, stewardship and promotion of the accounting profession and selfless contributions to the community. Maximo Mukelabai was a member of the inaugural class of the AICPA Leadership Academy. Tragically, his life ended abruptly at the age of 36. He was an extraordinary individual filled with passion, intellect and inspiration; traits immediately recognized by anyone who met him. Mukelabai was the youngest and first African-American chair for the North Carolina Association of CPAs board of directors. Peers, AICPA staff, employers or state CPA society liaisons may submit nominations for the annual award until May 15, 2012. Self-nominations are not accepted. For more information and to access the application, visit Maximo Mukelabai Award webpage.
    39. 39. 39 Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Young-CPA- Network/84974895761?ref=ts LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?about=&gid=1607 05&trk=anet_ug_grppro Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/YoungCPANetwork Social Networking Opportunities If you enjoyed today‟s webcast, register for our upcoming events at www.aicpa.org/YoungCPANetwork
    40. 40. ThisWayToCPA.com AICPA‟s website for college students and CPA exam candidates. Find tools to help become a CPA, such as: CPA exam rules and study pointers State requirements and other need-to-knows A community of current and future CPAs www.thiswaytocpa.com Social Media: 40
    41. 41. Resource The Inside Track to Careers in Accounting 41 The Inside Track to Careers in Accounting is designed to help new accounting professionals and students interested in accounting expand their understanding of what CPAs do and navigate the numerous opportunities that are available. This book focuses on careers in • Public accounting • Corporate accounting • Government accounting • Nonprofit accounting • Academics • Starting your own business as a sole practitioner Detailed job descriptions, typical salary ranges and career trajectories, plus invaluable background information, history, and personal insights are provided for each career path. In addition, the book includes interviews with more than 50 CPAs from every corner of the profession who share their insights on career choices, succeeding as a CPA, and the future of the profession. The companion CD contains full transcripts of each interview. Available at www.cpa2biz.com