By Becky Livingston, Senior Manager, Social Media Marketing at CPA2Biz, Inc.
Unlike some traditional marketing efforts, e.g., direct mail or email, social media gives you and your staff the opportunity to reach out, connect, and stay in frequent communication with prospects, clients, and industry experts no matter what time zone they may be in, or what day of the week, or month of the year.
Leveraging this medium demonstrates your firm's grasp of new technologies, while making the concerted effort to keep clients abreast of new developments, share advances in the profession, and network with like-minded clients and innovators. Really!
According to 2011 research conducted by inbound marketer Hubspot, accounting and financial service providers that engaged social media efforts in their firm experienced a customer acquisition increase of up to 61 percent. Most of that increase came from using LinkedIn and blogs, which was closely followed by Twitter and Facebook engagement.
In 2010, Socialware conducted a survey among 196 financial service advisors about their social media engagement. At that time, nearly 50 percent of respondents had one or more leads from social media; while 10 percent claimed to have identified 21 new leads.
As if that wasn't enough, Pershing LLC of Jersey City, N.J., conducted a study in 2010 among 144 financial advisors in firms ranging from $1 billion AUM to firms with less than $100 million AUM which stated financial advisors using social media have a 19% higher growth rate and a 21% increased client base than firms that do not leverage social media. One caveat, the firms in this study already had a strong marketing strategy and social media simply played well within that hand.
Like marketing, social media is a method or channel to distribute your message; however, it should not be used solely as a marketing channel, but rather as a mechanism to connect with peers, clients, and influencers while increasing your online net worth. Below are several ways in which the two differ.
LinkedIn is among the most well-known networking social media platform, consider starting there. Below are four easy steps you can take to interact and attract potential clients. If you do not have a LinkedIn account, now is the time to get on board. In August 2011, the LinkedIn announced it had over 115.8 million members.
Here is a simple, visual way help you better comprehend the power of social media and how it may help you to increase your client base. Think of your message as a pebble and your network as rings or "circles."
Dropping your message into the social media waters creates a ripple effect. The more weight or relevance the message has (the pebble size) the wider the ripple effect. For example, a Tweet from Tom Hood, CPA, who has a network of nearly 3,500 followers, goes to all his followers and appears on all their Twitter feeds. They, who trust Tom and consider him an influencer, may re-Tweet his message to all their followers—the 2nd ring of the ripple. Their followers then re-Tweet the message to their network…..You get the picture.
As with all communication or relationship efforts, they do not grow without effort. Social media networks, if unnourished and ignored, it will not prosper. However, with the right amount of attention and care, they can grow into networks beyond your wildest dreams.
Becky Livingston is the President of Royal Apple Marketing, a marketing firm specializing in social and digital marketing. Speaker, author, and trainer, Becky has more than 20 years of marketing and communication experience in the engineering, technology, and financial services industries. She holds a Corporate Training Certificate from New York University, a Master’s degree in Information Systems from PACE University, and an undergraduate degree in Marketing Communications from the State University of New York - Geneseo. Connect with Becky or her firm on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.