[IMGCAP(1)]Here are eight great examples of some of the most cutting-edge social media usage by accountants to help you take your own firm’s strategy up a notch.

1. A new social frontier. Tweet chats have proved themselves to be increasingly valuable to brands. Participating increases your exposure, exhibits your expertise, and even allows you to learn something new from other industry professionals! Accountant Cathy Iconis took things one step further by starting her own accounting Tweet chat. She now runs the most popular QuickBooks Tweetchat, #QBOChat, and even created a branded QBOChat Web site to host the weekly live chat, thereby owning all of the traffic from Twitter and the Tweet chat — genius!

2. Facebook to the max. Top 100 Firm Eide Bailly not only has a handsome-looking Facebook page, but it also makes excellent use of Facebook Page Apps (for Careers, About Us, and Welcome). Facebook Apps can create a customized, attractive viewing experience for your audience.

Eide Bailly also does a great job sharing interesting and diverse content to Facebook — a healthy mix of industry news, photos, topical content, fun behind-the-scenes content, and firm accomplishments. Importantly, all of their posts contain some kind of imagery. According to Kissmetrics, photos get 53 percent more likes, 104 percent more comments and 84 percent more clickthroughs on links than text-based posts.

3. Pinterest is in your best interest. Vincent Servello, a Boston CPA, has done an excellent job of curating boards that relate to his business (accounting and personal finance), as well as his niche focuses (the construction industry and real estate). Crucial to success on Pinterest is mixing up your business content with traffic-driving “fun” pins like those for his office decor, cool technology, or his home-run hit, “dream” Pinterest board: What Will You Do With The Money You’ve Saved?

Vincent connects the lighter, fun topics back to his profession; the description for Cool Office Tech reads, “Office technology that helps your business run more efficiently can be deducted from your taxes — let’s see if your purchases are applicable!” and many of his small-business pins relate to financial or accounting services.

4. Audio, it’s going to be big. Stacy Kildal, Woody Adams and Dawn Brolin are doing incredibly fabulous things with their weekly broadcast, which started as the audio-only Radio Free QuickBooks and has morphed into its current incarnation as The QB Show. Focusing on QuickBooks, they cover a wide variety of tips, tricks and interviews, and answer actual accountant and business questions. From a single podcast, they are able to get lasting Web content for their archives, tips for pure content marketing purposes, video assets, blogs, and, of course, social posts. That’s a whole lotta bang for your effort! With over 2,000 Twitter followers, an app, sponsors, and speaking engagements, The QB Show is a smashing success for these accountants.

5. Video, it’s going to be even bigger. Major kudos to the Ohio Society of CPAs for putting on a professional, top-notch show on YouTube. Their well-designed channel features a “Spotlight Series,” with a bimonthly discussion with newsmakers and thought-leaders in the business community about issues important to Ohio CPAs. By tapping into news trends and newsmakers they give their videos SEO juice (trending keywords and meta tags). This translates into more views and more traffic for their site. Their Tax Planning Strategies series is particularly well done and highly professional — check out the very social media-friendly video, Top 10 Tax Tips For The Self Employed for a great example of video content opportunities for accountants. Note their use of video annotations to drive traffic to their site and to other videos. Searches related to “how to” on YouTube are growing 70 percent year over year, and more than 100 million hours of how-to content have been watched in North America so far this year.  

6. Beyond the LinkedIn profile. Much has been written about the value of LinkedIn for accountants and accounting firms, but to see the greatest return on investment from this social network, you need to be participating in groups. Cultivating an active and engaged group of professionals is no small feat, and I am especially impressed with Robert Half Finance’s LinkedIn group for Finance & Accounting. The content shared is helpful and insightful and it’s always accompanied by an engaging discussion in the comments. With 12,333 members, I’m not the only one enjoying their community of finance and accounting professionals. By owning the LinkedIn group, Robert Half is able to associate their company with all the expertise and knowledge happening within the group — a powerful branding move! You can tell they’ve succeeded at creating a quality audience by noting how highly engaged their followers are (almost all their posts have several likes, comments and shares).

7. Content creation — a social home run. Props must be given to Stuff Accountants Like, a site run anonymously by one or more persons from “a Big4 public accounting background.” Though the site hasn’t been updated since 2009, it still ranks highly in Google, and their blogs continue to appear regularly as shared links on social media — they really are on the money with their assessment of what accountants like. This goes to show that content of this type can really enhance your social media marketing strategy.

8. In-house social media amplification. A company that shares its own content has a major leg up on its competitors. Top 100 Firm CliftonLarsonAllen is able to reach an impressively wide audience just from utilizing its own team’s social networks and connections. In spring 2011, regional managing principal Patrick Byer introduced this social media strategy to the firm’s Northeast region, which spans from Boston to Virginia. Eighty of the firm’s partners now use their social networks to spread the word about eight of the firm’s specific industry practice areas.

“Right now, through this program, we have 61,400 total connections through the network,” Byer said. “On average, we see about 3.5 visits from each active ambassador’s network each week from this implementation. So from that, what we track is that activity [that’s] helping us, getting our brand out there.”

Accountants stand to win big from having a robust social media presence, so having your whole firm partake will only further strengthen the prestige and success of your company’s brand. AT

Diana Mackie is a small business writer, and chief content officer at Funding Gates, which produces the FG Receivables Manager, an accounts receivable management app for QuickBooks and Xero users.

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