How to Find Your Firm’s Voice on Social Media

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by Sarah Warlick, content director

Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 4.20.03 PMUnderstanding the technical requirements for publishing an update on your social media profiles is an important step to using the platforms. Unfortunately, it’s not the only hurdle users face in their quest to help their firms with this powerful new media.

What should you share and how should you phrase it? What sort of topic or tone is appropriate when connecting with clients, colleagues and the general public? These questions can leave new users confused and unsure how to proceed, and with all the stories of disastrous mistakes that heap shame on famous social media users, you’re well within reason to worry.

Luckily, along with those horrible examples of what not to do, there is plenty of opportunity for learning how to carve a more productive path to social media success. To guide you in the right direction as you begin sharing on social media, try these tips.

Do as your clients do. As in many areas, your first rule should be to listen to your clients. Start by observing several of your favorite clients who are active in social media. What’s their style? What ideas are they focusing on, and what voice do they use? Are they comedic or serious, or a blend of the two? Are there topics they seem to avoid like the plague? At what times of day and on which days of the week do they typically post? How often do they use images, and what are their favorite sources for articles to share? Pay attention to the way they use language and the words they choose, the feelings they evoke and the level of formality that they maintain. Then take all this information into account when forming your own social media persona. Remember that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. (It’s also a good way to build rapport.)

Keep an eye on the competition. What is it your competitors are doing with their social media accounts? You certainly don’t want to outright steal their content but it’s only sensible to know what they’re doing. The same information you studied about your clients’ social media use will be valuable as you decide how to handle your own firm’s accounts. This time, though, also keep in mind the differences between their firms and yours. Focusing on those obvious or subtle distinctions will help you hone in on the way you want to fine tune your own communications to perfectly reflect your niche and match your clients’ interests and styles.

Follow the leaders. If you look around, you’ll find companies in every industry that are rocking social media. These trendsetters are fun to watch as well as inspiring, providing examples of the kind of creative thinking you’ll want to adopt when forming your own campaigns. Check out Taco Bell, Red Bull, Oreo and KLM Airlines for a start, and soon you’ll start to see lots of other companies that have gotten social media marketing down to an art. Which ones are your favorites and what do you like about their styles? While you can’t expect a campaign that works for them to translate directly to your clients, much of what makes these social media campaigns so successful will be just as valuable applied for your accounting firm’s benefit.

It’s reasonable to be a little intimidated when you’re new to a particular platform or haven’t been the voice of a professional services firm in that venue before. That said, you don’t have to stress or get stuck. Just take a look at the experts – including your clients and competition – and start thinking about how to build a social media voice that’s yours, but that fits with what you’ve seen from others. You’ll soon become comfortable in your social media voice and really begin to enjoy the unique relationships that you’re building through your chosen platforms. Before long, you’ll feel completely natural and wonder how you ever got along without this wonderful way of connecting to the world.

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