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This morning while at Sage Summit (during a breakfast of beignets) I had the opportunity to meet IRL (in real life) the global CEO of Sage, Stephen Kelly. 

And guess what?

He knew my name.

After all, we’re Twitter friends. 

I won’t profess that we are “besties” but I will say they he was aware of some of the conversations we have had on the Twitter feed.  

Yes, the global CEO of a huge company was aware of me because of social media.  Social media makes everyone more accessible.

Are you really surprised?

Aside from setting and executing the vision, strategy, and culture of a company, the CEO is also the face.  He sets the tone and, as such, his Twitter feed should be “him.”  Now I’m sure he has helpers, but @skellyCEO (his handle) is very much him.  And that’s way cool!  

That is the future of business and it’s already happening now!

Yeah, great. But how does this translate into real work? This is a question I often receive from my peers.

You tell me!

The whole world of business is based on relationships, this we already know.  It’s a well-known fact that people do business with other people. I want to do business with his company because he is “my friend.”  As a consumer, I feel like I know him and I understand where he is leading his team.  This is enticing to me.

Never before have customers, vendors, and partners had so much access to the C-suite.  But people don’t take advantage of how social media can literally create and change relationships in an instant.

It still amazes me how many CPAs, especially firm partners, are afraid of social media. And no, I’m not talking about your marketing team’s use of social media. That doesn’t count.  I’m talking about representing yourself as an authentic voice for you and your firm and building relationships just like you would do in person.

As a firm owner, no matter where I am, I serve as the voice for my company. My business deals happen because of relationships, not because of social media marketing.  I am that same relationship builder online that I am in person; I just have a much more global reach. 

As a firm owner or partner don’t you want to solve real business problems using the relationships in your network?

If you don’t believe other firms' owners are doing this today and making a difference, check out @joeyhavenscpa (managing partner of Horne LLP, a top-tier firm) for another outstanding example of a “big CEO” who has embraced social business to make a difference with his company.

Now tell me again why you aren’t doing business in the social world?  

Jody Padar, CPA, MST, is the chief executive officer and principal at New Vision CPA Group and the author of The Radical CPA (www.theradicalcpa.com).