Love it or loathe it, everyone has a view on social media however it is used, whether it be for brand reach, communicating with similar connections or in generating accounting leads.
Really the term is something of an amorphous blob. There are so many different channels and so many different ways of using it. With your marketing hat on, it is helpful to pause and think how you can best use social media to grow your firm.
Facebook may dominate in terms of subscribers and profit reporting. Twitter generates a lot of news headlines. WhatsApp can be a great comms tool for businesses as well as individuals. And there are many others, from TikTok to YouTube.
Facebook and Twitter can work well, but for many accountancy firms, LinkedIn should be at the top of your list for generating accounting leads. The thing is…
You have to do it properly.
What not to do on LinkedIn
This is not going to be an exhaustive list. I am sure your common sense will tell you a lot of things to avoid. But these are two of the most common mistakes.
A piecemeal approach
The first is taking a piecemeal approach. Like anything else, you may occasionally get lucky, but it is not the path to success on LinkedIn. When you follow a LinkedIn strategy for generating leads you have to be committed to it. After all, why will people engage with you on it if you are not engaged yourself.
Here’s why LinkedIn is worth your time.
- There is volume – Globally, LinkedIn has more than 750 million users, and more than 31 million of them are registered in the UK.
- There is quality – 80% of people on LinkedIn drive business decisions.
- There is value – The cost per lead of LinkedIn is 28% lower than for Google Ads.
- It has track record – 97% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn as part of their content marketing plans.
The hard sell approach
We see this so much and it will yield some results, but at a reputational cost. Because generally speaking, people do not like being sold to on LinkedIn.
I’m talking about the cold spammy messages, the sales funnel, the whittling down of prospects to leads to proposals and eventually some closed business. We’ve seen the numbers behind this and you may expect to get a 1% conversion rate. Flipping that on its head, 99% of effort wasted; or worse – doing you harm.
Take a nurturing approach
Armed with the knowledge of what not to do, let’s start looking at a successful LinkedIn approach.
We advise a longer game on LinkedIn. There is still structure behind it, as with, say, a sales funnel. But instead of going straight at your prospects with invitations to sales calls, go slower. As with other content marketing, build awareness, then trust; and then, when the time is right, the opportunities for you to help with your services will present themselves naturally.
How to do it – getting started
To begin at the beginning, make sure your profile is complete and well written. It is like a cross between a business card and a personal website for you. It is an essential part in both making you visible and giving you credibility.
You want your profile to summarise who you are and what you do, confidently and succinctly. Remember, all social channels are search engines in their own right: so include some relevant keywords.
With the foundation of a good profile laid, it is time to start engaging. One of the great strengths of LinkedIn is how tightly you can target specific job titles and locations. You’ve probably already got a LinkedIn audience, but now is a good time to research key people you would like to connect to and eventually win as clients. As we have said, not with the strong sell, but just to get them in your network.
There are so many ways you can engage. The goal is to build relationships, and you do this by being present and adding value.
So post frequently and intelligently. It may be some concise insight, longer form content published directly on LinkedIn , a link to your own or third party content, and certainly commenting on other people’s posts positively. As with most digital marketing, supplementing the written word with images and video works well.
Always have two (or more)-way interaction in mind to encourage conversation. Not only does this help with relationship building, but it will also help to extend your network because LinkedIn algorithms reward such activity.
If you are familiar with Cialdini’s book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, you’ll know of the soft but effective persuasive techniques he identifies for influencing people. You can keep several of these in mind when engaging.
- Reciprocation – If you do a good turn (give advice/ comment positively) to someone, they will wish to reciprocate in some way in the future.
- Authority – If you can tactfully position yourself as an authority figure in a field, you can better influence people.
- Social proof – When people see you liked and respected by others, they are more likely to like and respect you themselves.
These are just gentle steers to be implemented bit by bit as you grow your reputation. They will all help you drive quality engagement with your network and, when the time comes for your connections, to sell your services without ever even pitching. Don’t forget, though: always keep your target audience in mind and tailor content to what they want to see.
Treat it like a proper marketing channel
As you will have gathered, this is no shortcut to success. It will require time and effort, but it will work if done correctly. With so much time going into it, it is import to measure results and adjust tactics based on what does and doesn’t work for you.
When you have established yourself, you can build on initial success by using LinkedIn’s array of sponsored content options, which are a good way to reach your ideal audience as you can create audiences.
Give it a go and see how you get on!