Social Media for the “Boring” Professional Service Business

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Which of the following statements is true?

“Social media is only for companies with products or food to sell, and for bloggers with large followings.” Or,

“A strong social media presence is important for every company regardless of the industry.”

Of course, the latter is true. But, why don’t business owners act like it is?

Most business owners understand the importance of social media in theory but do relatively little to implement a strong social media strategy. This is especially true for individuals running professional service companies, the “boring” businesses without Instagram-worthy products to sell or slick Facebook promotions to run. Attorneys, financial planners, IT guys, insurance pros, and, yes, even CPAs struggle with social media. They’re just at a loss as to how to harness the power of social media to achieve their marketing goals or, worse, think it’s just a waste of time for companies like theirs (pro tip: it isn’t).

The truth is, your company’s online existence is nearly as important as your physical existence, regardless of your industry. That’s right. Today’s consumer, no matter what they’re buying, wants to do business with another person, not another business. That means you have to connect with your audience, engage your audience, build credibility and intellectual leadership, and take the “boring” out of your business. Social media gives you the venue to do just that.

Not sure where to start? Here are 5 simple tips:

#1: Showcase your best assets — your people.

A professional services firm’s best assets are its people. Think about that for a second. Your partners and employees are what set your business apart from your competitors. So, use social media and content marketing so show them off. Introduce your team to your audience by:

  • sharing news and photos of employee accomplishments, volunteer work, community involvement, and employee gatherings.
  • starting conversations on social media by commenting, liking, and sharing others’ posts.
  • hosting a webinar, writing a white paper, or sharing a video of team members sharing tips, insights, and other valuable information.
  • writing blog posts and articles that display team members’ expertise within the field.

#2: Bring value.

Don’t waste your audience’s time (or yours) with posts that aren’t valuable, useful, or entertaining. You’ll lose credibility if you do. One of the goals of social media is for your followers to view you and your team as thought-leaders in the industry so that you will be at the forefront of their mind when it’s time to seek advice or hire help.

So, create your own content often and share it. Share also interesting, informative content created by others. Spread knowledge and a collaborative spirit, and always give credit where credit is due by tagging the author and/or publication in your post.

#3: Leverage LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is THE site for social media networking for professional services. Here, you can 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.

Complete as many fields on your company profile as possible. Engage with users and request 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. And, don’t forget about publishing articles on LinkedIn Pulse.

LinkedIn Pulse is similar to a blog, but your writing posts to your LinkedIn personal profile. Pulse allows you to share your content with people from your industry, which means your writing can reach your target audience. And, since LinkedIn is one of the most trafficked websites on the Internet, Google is more likely to index its content than the content you put on your website, especially if you’re just starting out. (Still post blogs to your website, just use Pulse as an additional platform to publish your content.)

#4: Don’t leave Facebook.

Yes, Facebook changed its algorithms so companies have a harder time showing up in feeds, but don’t abandon Facebook completely. An estimated 1.11 billion people use Facebook each month (665 million active users each day), and its audience is your audience — American women and men between the ages of 25 – 54.

Think of Facebook as the social “home base” for your business on the Internet. It’s a place people can go to leave a message, browse through business products and photos, or chat with you online. Update your page on a daily basis with not only promotional information but engaging and interesting content as well. The more likes, shares, and comments you receive, the more you’ll start appearing again in customers’ newsfeeds. You can “beat” the Facebook algorithm if you can prove you’re valuable to your customers.

# 5: Choose the best team member to run your social media.

The best person to run your social media accounts is the one who understands social media best, not the one who understands the company’s niche best. This person needs to understand (or at least quickly learn) how to generate the best ROI from social media efforts. Social media is a branch of marketing, and you need to treat it as such.

Bottom line? Don’t expect anyone to spend thousands of dollars with you without being able to get to know you. Your social media efforts should aim to do the following, as displayed in the infographic above:

  • Act 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.
  • Boost awareness and reputation of your firm among target markets.
  • Increase the reach/visibility of your blogs.
  • Grow word-of-mouth marketing efforts through positive reviews.

Social media is for every company. Even the “boring” ones like us have something to say. Get out there and share your story.

 

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Comments

  1. Great read. I want to know why doesn’t LinkedIn pulse link not work?

    • Heather Roberson says:

      Thanks for reading and noticing the outdated link. We had that link going to an FAQ page on LinkedIn regarding Pulse, and it appears it’s been taken down. We updated the link with a great beginner’s guide to Pulse published by HubSpot. Hope it’s useful for you!

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