Social media is the new SEO (and what that means for accountancy firm lead generation)


SEO and Social Media

Accountants are already waking up to the fact that “SEO is dead” – or a version of that, which indicates that even the very little that you may or may not know about SEO has changed recently.

This is really excellent news for your accountancy firm marketing.

Why? Because everything we’ve been preaching about content marketing is not only more true than ever: it’s more effective than ever.

Content marketing will deliver more leads to your firm when you combine it with the power of social media, and your other marketing efforts.

Remember the “two bucket rule”? You can no longer separate marketing into a myriad of categories, trying to determine if spending a little money on Twitter is better than spending it on LinkedIn, or whether networking is worthwhile.

But what you can do is embrace “the new SEO”, which is comprised of two things:

Content marketing and social media.

The reason these two work in tandem so well is that the one feeds the other (and vice versa).

Without true content marketing, you have very little to say on social media.

And yet without social media, what platform will you use to share your amazing content?

We’ve seen it happen with a number of our accountancy firm clients: they’ve invested well in content marketing, and have built up a good bank of content, whether it be blogs, or downloadable resources, or sharing expertise via events, or something else. And they’ve had some success with sharing that content.

But when you’ve had some success, you naturally are keen to move to ‘more success’, and so these firms begin to ask the question, “How can I get more of the right kind of people to see my content?”

And in comes social media to help.

How social media functions as the new SEO

Here are a few ways social can help share your content, and your message – not just with the world at large, but with your world. The world that you want to reach.

Social media allows you to reach certain audiences (and not others)

One of the questions I’m often asked by accountants is, “Which social media platform is the best to use?”

And my answer is a solid, “It depends.”

It depends on your target market, your audience. Not just your existing clients (and for some accountancy firms, not your existing clients at all!) Where are they? What social media do they use? Where do they hang out online?

The old water cooler concept comes to mind – except instead of your employees, it’s your future prospects. They’re all huddled around having a chat, and in you come to casually mention an article you’ve written for retail businesses. Two or three of those around the water cooler are retail businesses, and their ears perk up.

But what if there were hundreds of water coolers? Which one do you go to? How long do you stay there? What do you say?

Social media gives you a plethora of options, and you may need to try a few until you discover who is where.But as one of my clients discovered recently, most of her retail clients were using Instagram and Pinterest, so that’s where she’s going to be. She’s even going along to a NON-accounting conference for those who are exactly her type of clients. Imagine that! And she’ll be using social media throughout to connect with those people.

The first step, of course, is to actually have defined that niche or target audience very clearly.

For the record, neither “owner managed businesses” or “SME’s with growth aspirations” are a niche. Almost every single accountant we work with – and then some – have this same “niche”…which means it isn’t one. And what business owner greets your question of “So, what do you do?” with the answer, “I own and manage an SME with growth aspirations”?

None, that’s how many.

I’ve discussed in a previous marketing tip the power of content crafted for your niche, so go read that if you haven’t already. Once you’ve done so, we move on.

Social media lets the buyer come to you.

Because your potential buyer has so many options, it’s critical that the decision always be (or at least feel like) their choice.

You can craft your way around it by constructing content relevant to them, sharing it in places where they are (online and offline), searching out strategic partnerships with those who work with that type of buyer, and constructing your website in a way that they are drawn to the page(s) you want them to be.

But ultimately, it’s their decision. Do they click? Sign up? Follow? Send a message? Ask a question? Ignore you completely?

Social media is quite calm about it all.

Well, the very best social media is, anyway. Your buyer does not want to be pressured, pushed, or otherwise sold to. They merely want to discover who is available to help them with a high impact critical problem. …Oh look, there’s a blog post you shared! How extremely relevant!

Because you’re an accountancy firm, it’s rare you will have a product of some kind to sell instantly. (Although I must say, if you were wise you would get on that bandwagon yesterday – because having an online programme or a purchasable product of some kind sets you apart from almost all the other accountants.)

So you continue to write and share good things, and share them in different places, and keep adding to the bank of what you share, and eventually the right kind of buyer will discover it.

It builds over time. The firms who have been writing and sharing content for years are getting leads from they don’t even know where. It’s hard to define where the lead ultimately came from, because there are so many platforms and engines and sources and places. Even your buyer often doesn’t know. And that’s okay – because the point is, they came.

Social posts ensure that your content ranks higher in the search engines.

Even though traditional SEO may be dead or dying, getting ranked highly in the search engines is nothing to scoff at.

Having content on your website is valuable in and of itself. But it gets a rocket engine boosting it higher and further when it’s been shared on multiple social media channels.

Enter the humble #hashtag.

For those still learning their way round social media terminology, the #hashtag is rather like a miniature Google search within one social media platform. Searching for #pfcontent or #karenstips will take you to posts relevant to our Content Marketer programme, or my marketing tips, accordingly.

But because the #hashtag is used in multiple social media platforms, it’s making it easier for the search engines to categorise and organise and rank the content you’re sharing.

So the fact that you’ve written an article and shared it on Twitter and LinkedIn and Google Plus using similar hashtags helps both you and your potential buyer.

There are unwritten rules about how to use the #hashtag, as well. Twitter – one or two per post, and no overkill. #cashflow and #forecasting, perhaps. LinkedIn, possibly one. Just #forecasting. Instagram – go crazy with twenty or thirty if you like. Make them up, make them as long as you like. #runningacashflowwebinar #isforecastingthesameasbudgeting

If you don’t understand #hashtags, you can go a variety of places to learn about it – or you can join our Social Marketer programme and learn all about it, exclusively for accountants.

And have a great Friday!