Do you embrace social business? Do you use social media to connect and collaborate with your clients? Is social a way for you to converse with and help serve your current customer base?

If not, it's time to embrace this powerful platform to serve and engage with your current customers and potential prospects. For many accounting firms, it's no longer about just "doing" social media, but rather making it part of the firm's DNA.

Too many firms think that social media is marketing. The power of social comes from engagement, conversation, and ongoing communication with clients and prospects. It's not just about pushing out marketing messages. It's about the increased pace of information sharing and the deeper level of communication and relationships when you put yourself out there. This is what gives new-age social firms the ability to exponentially grow. This is what has disrupted the old firm model, because old ways of doing business simply don't meet today's customers' and team members' needs. Consumers are hungry for information and they find it within the social space, usually within minutes.

 

THE NEW WAY

By now you are well aware of the social movement and the cadre of "crazy" practitioners who are celebrating a new way of doing business. This group of professionals is calling for others to redefine their firms (and lives) by moving away from the traditional business model and incorporating elements like social media into firm processes.

Progressive firms are using these tools to collaborate with clients and communicate with the community in general. It is also how clients are providing their information to firms - in real time. It's a game-changer: This is how these firms are staying relevant and keeping the world consistently informed and educated about what goes on within their four walls and how they participate in their customers' lives.

Becoming a social business can be accomplished in many ways. Don't think of it as "doing social media;" just engage in the online social community happening around you. Don't be overwhelmed, because not all social media channels need to be tackled at one time or ever. Social is not one size fits all. You get to choose what works for your firm.

And when it works, it works. For example, consider trying the following outlets to boost the social savviness of your firm:

  • Facebook to maintain relationships with current clients and prospective clients.
  • YouTube to learn the latest technology update on your cloud software.
  • LinkedIn to attract qualified employees.
  • Twitter to follow tax updates as Congress passes them; and,
  • Any social media channel to foster internal staff communications.

The key takeaway here is that social technologies hold the power to fundamentally change the way your firm broadly communicates and how you and your staff interact with one another, clients and prospects. Partners, managers and staff can now just hang out and socialize with clients, prospects and team members on Facebook. That's what makes social business so powerful and, to some, extremely scary.
Firms are still concerned about being too transparent. I say get over it! The world has changed and it's time for you to change, too. It is true that a lot of what you are doing is available online when you actively apply social media. Just accept it, because you need to understand that it's not so much a business-to-business world anymore. Consumers want to get to know those they are doing business with; it just feels good. Firms need to invest the time in figuring out how to use social networking so that it is a good, positive fit within their firm culture, and not be so fearful. Follow me to learn more about social media and the power it offers today's fast-moving firms. Find me on Twitter @jodypadarcpa or friend me on Facebook. See you in the cyberworld!

Jody Padar, CPA, MST, is CEO and principal of New Vision CPA Group, as well as an adjunct professor at Oakton Community College. She speaks nationally on various technologies and taxation.

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