Social media for Accountants: an opportunity for publicity or a threat to your practice?

  • Martin Pollins, founder of Bizezia and a client of The Marketing Eye, shares his thoughts on the use of social media by professional services firms.


    Earlier this month, Ryan Babel became the first Premiership footballer to be fined for 'inappropriate' use of his Twitter account. To bring this issue closer to home for the professional services community, accountant Paul Chambers lost his job and was fined £385 when he jokingly tweeted he would blow up an airport back in November 2010.

    In their effort to keep up with the times, people launch themselves into using social media without any clear idea of 'why'. Accountants are no different. Paul Chambers' defence is evidence of the naivety still present when using social media, he said: "It did not cross my mind that Robin Hood (airport) would ever look at Twitter, or take it seriously, because it was innocuous hyperbole."

    The fact is, people are taking it seriously, and this can work to your benefit as long as you approach it in the right way.

    Mark Lee, former chairman of the ICAEW Tax Faculty, is now one of the most networked professionals in the UK. He runs 3 professional networks, has 3 blogs and has long been active on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, accountingweb and ecademy - he is living proof that it works

    And accountants shouldn't believe that their clients and prospects don't use it, A

    new study has shown that the over 50's are adopting social media faster than the younger generation and they are three times more likely than the average 50+ person to earn £50,000 or more.

    Like anything new, there are a few things to remember when setting out. Here is a short list of do's and don'ts that should be considered before embarking on a practice social media account.

    The list includes:

    • Do set clear communication objectives and question whether your 'posts' are working towards them.
    • Don't start a
    Twitter account, LinkedIn or Facebook page for your firm and then forget about it.
    • Do communicate clearly and consistently
    • Don't make spontaneous or ill-informed posts
    • Do consider creating a
    social media policy.

    Social media is both an opportunity and a threat, it just depends how you use it. Like any form of communication you need to have a clear objective in mind, communicate simply and stay consistent.

    Notes

    Bizezia provides high quality website marketing applications and practice management tools to professional services firms. Bizezia's products are designed to make business easier and encourage people to to visit a firm's website through the provision of relevant and up-to-date content.

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