How Professional Services Use Social Media

A couple of separate studies on how professional services use social media reveal that there is still much room for improvement for CEOs and accounting firms as most respondents are still struggling with the basics.

The first study is conducted by SocialCPAs, in collaboration with Inovautus Consulting and the Association for Accounting Marketing (AAM) to measure certain behaviours and activities. A total of 395 individuals from accounting firms, state CPA societies or vendors/consultants to the accounting profession who have access to basic social media and web analytics were surveyed.

The second is directed by Domo and for their  Social CEO Report, an annual look at trends in the engagement of Fortune 500 CEOs across the major social media networks.

Here are the highlights of the two studies:

LinkedIn, Number One Social Network for Business

One of the major findings of the Social CPAs’ study is that LinkedIn is the most widely used social media network by all respondents. 92.8% of them currently use LinkedIn, while Facebook and Twitter come in second and third respectively. Also, it is producing the highest number of leads for accounting.

On the other hand, the Social CEO Report revealed that LinkedIn dominates as the “entry network” of choice for social media among Fortune 500 CEOs. 74% of these CEOs who only participated in a single network joined LinkedIn first, presumably because of the unmistakable business benefits of the professional networking site.

The Value of Twitter

Meanwhile, CEOs are starting to realise the value of microblogging site Twitter. There are currently 42 F500 CEOs on Twitter, up from the previous year’s 28. However, almost half of the active (having tweeted within the last 100 days) CEOs on Twitter tweet only once a month or less.

Accounting firms were also asked how often they posted to the social media sites they used. Twitter has the greatest frequency of posting, next to Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+.

The Lack of Substance

Content is a part of all forms of marketing, that’s why it’s dubbed as the “king”. Social CPAs asked respondents about the content they are sharing, the kind of format they use, and how that content is being generated. The type of content varies for every social network: culture-driven posts for Facebook, self-published content (original) for Google+, recruiting/hiring opportunities for LinkedIn, and events (seminars, webinars) for Twitter.

However, the text is the standout format of choice for posts at it gained 92.3%, instead of pictures and videos which are more visually appealing. Also, almost half (43.5%) of their content is outsourced from writers and licensed vendors instead of created.

Basics Overlooked

The main fact that the Social CPAs survey exposed is that these accounting firms are struggling with the basics: an overwhelming majority of respondents, 80.6%, revealed that they do not use social media for advertising, and more than half of the firms do not track leads through social media efforts, do not have a written social media policy, and do not provide any social media training. These figures show that these firms are overlooking a lot of opportunities that social media can offer.

Is your firm among those that fail to focus on the basics? Take the time to re-evaluate your social media efforts and bring them to the next level.

The Outsourced Accountant  supports Australian and New Zealand accounting firms by helping them understand and implement outsourcing solutions to help them become more proactive and truly add value to their clients. If you want to know more about outsourcing, call us at 1300 896 522 / 0800 452 853, and download our e-book.