With social media activity growing by the minute, more and more businesses from start-ups to corporate organisations are incorporating social media into their marketing and promotional strategies.
The Wolters Kluwer (WK) Social Media Survey which has been running since 2011 continues to chart the evolving use of social media by accounting and tax practices.
The latest report (2015) on 800 accountants found that 79% of accountancy practices use social media. While usage was high among younger age groups – 100% by those under 30s and 99% by those under 40s.
However with social media becoming overly crowded, accountants are asking themselves “What’s the best way to use social media?”
The survey goes through the different platforms of social media and how they are used.
Social media usage
LinkedIn was rated the most popular social media platform with 62% of users using LinkedIn for professional purposes.
The most common usages for LinkedIn were keeping in touch with professional contacts (68%) and joining groups and associations (52%).
50% of practices used Twitter with over a quarter (26%) using it for professional acitivities.
Popular reasons for using Twitter were following individuals, groups and associations (62%), sharing knowledge and expertise (61%) and keeping up to date with industry news (50%).
Facebook remained less popular for professional use (18%). For those who used Facebook, “generating new business” was placed below on types of usage (51%), compared to liking groups and sharing knowledge (55%).
Only 16% of practices reported usage of Google+ for professional purposes. Search engine optimisation and website analysis were common reasons for businesses to use this platform.
Blogging saw a sharp increase with 36% of practices using them in a professional capacity to share their knowledge and expertise (64%).
It is clear from WK’s research that practices are increasingly using social media to
engage with their audience and to generate more business.
It’s interesting though, to compare the usage stats for accountants to the number of active users for social networks – Facebook as over a billion active users while LinkedIn has around 100 million.
This could mean that by jumping in where they feel comfortable, accountants are missing a trick in growing their reach for certain messages.
For me, this highlights the importance of having a clearly defined strategy for social. Questions you need to ask before you start spending precious time on any activity are:
- What networks are your clients using?
- What are clients using individual social networks for?
- What is your practice trying to achieve on social?
It might also be worth considering objectives beyond finding new business or sharing expertise. How could social networks help you recruit new staff? How do you want your brand to be perceived in the community? Does your firm support a charity?
As always, it’s worth thinking about the job at hand before selecting the tools.