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Social media, the dawn of a new empire.

Ok, so you have a great business model what’s next?  How do you grow your business and encourage positive feedback?  How do you service and maintain the ever growing universe that is the internet?  These are just a few of many great questions that face new ventures as well as older more established entities.  In my opinion, the most important question you must ask yourself is really what are you trying to accomplish especially if using a social media management tool?  Of course you could go through more traditional channels and advertise, attend conferences, socialize with industry leaders, market to perspective clients and tap into various other networking resources or use social media to your advantage.  The alternative combines all these approaches and then some.  Social media management is a growing business and really offers numerous advantages.  As an accountant myself, I can attest to the fact the most valuable resource is time.  Time is a precious and with various audits, tax returns and bookkeeping projects, finding the right person for the job is difficult.   When you do find a company that specializes in social media monitoring and promotion it is really in everyone’s best interest to take advantage of it.  Another thing to keep into perspective, I’m assured your already aware of, is not only do your employees use social media but your customers do to.  To really capture your audience you have to be visible where they hang out.

Step 1 – The first step of the process, when planning your next move, is to keep the following questions in mind.

–          Who is your audience?
–          What message do you want to convey to them?
–          What do they value and how are you going to reach them?

Step 2 – Establish a measurable goal and reach for it.  Anyone in the accounting industry will tell you that they always go into an engagement with a define set of rules, objectives and savvy skepticism.   Our goal among many is to complete the engagement with the highest quality of workmanship possible and as quickly as possible.  The same guidance should be used to establishing goals in social media.

Step 3 – How do you get there? After reviewing a vast array of possibilities, some of my favorites include using HootSuite and Salesforce.com.   HootSuite’s slogan is, “customize, automate, simplify” and it really does just that.  It provides a simplified way to track and monitor several leading social media applications from the comfort of your own home. The cost of such a service is minimal, unless you need a complex array of services; the average consumer/small business needs the “Pro” version which is only $8.99 a month (last I checked).  My second favorite application is Salesforce.com.  Salesforce.com strength relies on its sheer analytical and algorithm capabilities.  Currently, Salesforce.com is an industry leader and continues to improve every day.  See the below video for a brief overview.

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Do you have what it takes?

Do you have what it takes to become the next big thing? Now, I know you’re thinking of course I do! SuperheroWhy would you ever have any doubts then read on my friend, read on.   Now for those of you who are still on the fence and trying to determine if blogging is right for you then keep reading and maybe I might just make it look easy enough to try. One thing I know for sure is marketing to the masses continues to evolve and no matter what channel it’s communicated through it’s always a wild ride.  Have no fear; if I can do it so can you!

 Step 1 – Getting started and finding your voice

The number one rule when starting a blog is you MUST grab the reader’s attention within the first few sentences. You can achieve blogging superstardom through a variety of ways. You can write a catchy opening paragraph or add cool interactive features such as pictures, bullet points and videos.  The key importance of these features is to break up the writing and make it pleasing to the eye as well as engage the reader in additional content if they want to explore.   The second most important rule is to write about what you know.  People want to read witty, informative and entertaining post not some drawn out and boring drivel on a topic that may be somewhat new to you.  Not to say that blogs featuring the trials and tribulations of learning something new or forging a new path are not entertaining because they can be, I’m just saying that the best blogs are the ones that feature a compelling story.

Step 2 – Don’t be a quitter

I admit there is nothing more annoying than finding a blog you love only to realize it hasn’t been updated in ages.  The best rule of thumb is to update regularly, and check back frequently for comments.  One of my favorite blogs The Anonymous Accountant has been around for years and the last update I could find was back in 2010.  Seriously, have you seen the enormous following that blog has?  Why would you ever let that kind of talent die?  So many questions so little time, all I can say is don’t be a quitter; your legions of fans will thank you later.

Step 3 – Engage the audience and expand your readership

Ok, so now you’re a blogger – how do you become a superstar?  I thought you would never ask!   First you need to understand your consumer, figure out where they like to hangout and advertise.  Advertising your blog can be simple but requires dedication and consistency to the cause.  You can direct traffic to your blog via a few social media giants such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or the old fashion way such as word of mouth and emails, among others.  Yes, people do communicate in person and no, email hasn’t gone the way of the dinosaur…yet.

Step 4 Have fun

Have fun, enjoy what you do and your readership will follow.   Who knows maybe I’ll be following you someday?

Additional resources:

Check out Dan Rickershauser’s blog: “10 best practices for corporate blogging” – His blog provides great additional content on best practices.

Groundswell by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff – A must read for any new social media diva and features “a case study framework for harnessing the wild world of social applications for business.”

A Brave New World!

Your average modern day accountant, despite the stereotypical viewpoint is no longer chained to a desk surrounded by paperwork.  Although, from time to time we may encounter such misadventures it is truly a Brave New World out in the accounting industry.  So… I know what you’re thinking, how can an accountant operate in a cyber-world without facing intense privacy concerns or possible future legal entanglements?   Your right, these are all issues the accounting industry faces on a daily basis but our core principal is to help those with financial needs no matter what medium they may be presented on.

I know from personal experience that most accounting firms operate several public online profiles. The majority of these accounting profiles focus on advertising services followed by a description of the Firm as a whole and the resources available to those in need.  My post today will focus on two great social media tools and provide a quick overview of the benefits each has to offer.

linkedin2

 

One of the first reason I tried LinkedIn, as I’m sure many others can attest to, was my simple attempt to find a job.  As you may know, one of the top reasons people visit an accounting firm’s website is to first find a service and second to find a job, while the third is to communicate those needs and locate the firm in question.  LinkedIn is one of the largest and most popular online professional communities.  LinkedIn’s main purpose is to provide a medium for businesses and business professionals to locate and connect with other businesses and professionals.  LinkedIn promotes a clean professional image that helps to weed out clutter and focuses the Firms voice.  Accounting firms today use LinkedIn to endorse others in the field especially those that may assist in funneling business their way (i.e. Lawyers, Insurance appraisers, bookkeepers and small business associations), additional advantages are to promote current job openings, showcase connections to industry leaders and expand upon scholarly articles all in an attempt to grow the brand image.  LinkedIn also provides a place to connect and advertise each partner’s credentials and achievements. The more advanced sites will provide additional scholarly resources and “best practice” suggestions.  Overall LinkedIn is a great tool that can assimilate and organize the firm’s communications and creates an easily sharable resource across all social mediums.

twitter2

 

Twitter has transformed the modern day news media and ushered in a revolution that each individual can contribute and broadcast events much same as a news anchor would years ago.  The world no longer waits until 5 o’clock to sit around the TV waiting for the latest events to unfold. Twitter allows each individual to participate, at 160 characters or less, while reporting live and streaming content to the far reaches of the globe.  Never before have live “real time” conversations and group think tanks developed across the internet as is now possible through Twitter.  Now your neighbor could report live and within minutes have group discussions with like-minded individuals discussing the same events.   Take in point the recent situation in Boston and the manhunt that ensued.  The cyber detectives were a force to be reckoned with and as a result a debate developed about the security and safety of such future events.