If you’re in the professional services industry, your business’ online existence is almost as important as its physical existence.
Do you find that difficult to believe?
Here’s why: People want to do business with other people, not businesses. This means you have to humanize your business or brand as much as possible. Social media gives you the venue to do exactly that – humanize your business by interacting and engaging with the world.
Social media is a continually-growing aspect of digital marketing, which presents professional services firms with the opportunity to reach and engage with potential and current clients. Professional services firms depend heavily on relationships and reputation. Long-term relationships with clients are built on integrity, credibility, and intellectual leadership – traits that can be exhibited through social media.
At a minimum, professional service firms should implement social media strategies to accomplish the following objectives:
- Build a following so that, if needed, social media can be used as a public relations management tool to communicate with target markets and the public.
- Position your firm’s team members as thought leaders in the industry and in their respective niches.
- Spread relevant, interesting messages and news about your firm and its team members and/or employees.
- Increase awareness and reputation of your firm among target markets.
- Increase reach/visibility of posts and engagement among target markets.
- Maximize word-of-mouth marketing efforts through reviews.
So how can you use social media to achieve those objectives? Whether you’re an accountant, investment manager, attorney, or other type of professional, here are five social media tips for professional services firms:
Tip #1: Humanize your business.
In a professional services firm, your people are your assets – and they’re what set your business apart from competitors. Through social media and content marketing, you can “humanize” your business and introduce your team to prospects in the following ways:
- Post news about employee awards won, volunteer work, or other community involvement.
- Start conversations on social media by commenting, liking, and sharing others’ posts.
- Host a webinar, write a white paper, or record a video of team members sharing tips, insights, and other valuable information.
- Write blog posts and articles authored by team members. The subject matter should include expert advice specific to each team members’ niche within the industry.
Tip #2: Bring something to the table.
Always ask yourself: is this content valuable to my clients or prospects? If the answer is no, don’t waste your time – or theirs! If you continue to provide valuable, useful, or entertaining content, you will begin to establish credibility among your followers. The goal is for your followers to view your team as thought-leaders in the industry, so that your firm will be at the top of their mind when it’s time to hire someone for the job.
In addition to curating your own content, be sure to share interesting, informative content created by others. Spread the love – and always give credit where credit is due!
Tip #3: Improve your LinkedIn presence.
LinkedIn is a professional social media networking site that allows users to connect with clients, colleagues, prospects, referral sources, and more. LinkedIn provides your firm with a platform for maintaining and enhancing your professional credibility and networking opportunities.
Start by creating a personal LinkedIn profile, and then create a LinkedIn Company Page. Complete as many fields on your profile as possible. Then, maximize your LinkedIn connections by engaging with users and requesting to “connect” with others that you know or have done business with. Join groups to participate in discussions with other professionals and build online relationships with potential leads.
What’s a heart without a Pulse?
Whether you’re a lawyer, financial planner, IT consultant, investment manager, engineer, recruiter, or any other type of professional, consider publishing articles on LinkedIn Pulse.
LinkedIn Pulse is similar to a blog, but it is posted to your LinkedIn personal profile. Pulse allows you to share your content with people from your industry, which means your blog can reach your target audience. Depending on their settings, some of your connections may even receive an email from LinkedIn Pulse with an aggregation of recent posts written by influencers in their networks.
LinkedIn profiles allow you to tell your network what you can do by allowing you to post your resume online. LinkedIn Pulse, however, takes you one step further by allowing you to show your network what you can do. Sharing your valuable content demonstrates your knowledge and credibility in the industry.
LinkedIn is one of the most trafficked websites on the Internet, which means Google is more likely to index its content than the content you put on your website. Although it’s still very important to post blogs to your website, Pulse provides an additional platform to publish your content. Just be sure to not post duplicate content on both your blog and LinkedIn Pulse.
Tip #4: Don’t flout Facebook.
Ah, the almighty Facebook – there’s no ignoring the pioneer of social media
More than 1.4 billion people use Facebook, and more than 900 million visit every day. Don’t underestimate the power of a strong Facebook strategy – yes, even for professional services firms and B2B companies!
When you run a Facebook Ad, you choose the audiences that see your ad by targeting location, age, interests, and more. This makes your ads more relevant for the people who see them and, subsequently, highly targeted ads yield better results. One of the most important social media tips for professional services firms is to set up Facebook ads that target different types of custom audiences while accomplishing different sets of objectives, as explained in our blog post “Facebook Advertising 101.”
Tip # 5: Hire expertise over experience.
One common mistake that professional services firms make is hiring someone who’s experienced in their own industry’s niche to handle their social media marketing efforts. Although it’s important for the social media manager to be familiar with the industry, it’s paramount that he or she understands how to generate the best ROI from social media efforts.
For more social media tips for professional services firms, read our other posts on the IMPACT Marketing & PR blog.
– Sarah Lane, Marketing Specialist