“Those who fail to plan, plan to fail”, Benjamin Franklin once said. The same is true on social media. If you jump straight in without really knowing what you’re doing or why you’re doing it, it’s not going to work very well.
You know that planning anything – including social media – gets you better results.
So the question is not “How do I get started with social”, but “How do I create a social media plan that works?”
1. Know who you’re talking to
If you target everyone, you will get no one. So I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to choose a specific niche before you begin a social media campaign.
For example, targeting “business owners” is too broad. Targeting business owners who provide IT support and have a company with 5-25 employees is much better.
The more specific you are, the easier it will be to target your potential clients and get results from your social media and content marketing.
2. Identify the platforms you will you be using
In a previous article I wrote, I explained your accountancy firm does not need to be on every social media channel and how you can find out which channels are going to be best for you.
In your social media plan, it’s best to put your time, energy and attention on the social media channels that your potential and existing clients are most likely using.
For example, if you’re targeting creatives, Instagram and Facebook could be good options for you. If you’re targeting property investors, then LinkedIn and Twitter might be best.
But don’t just guess. Actually do the research and see what are the best channels for you and your accountancy firm.
After you have joined the right social media channels for your accountancy firm, you then need to be active.
For example, don’t just have a Twitter profile and leave it there collecting cyber-dust. Use it. Post on it. Engage with people. Share content. Make it a habit to do this.
One of the easiest ways you can be active on social media is to post daily social media updates.
For bonus points, I also recommend you actually engage with your audience by replying to their posts and sharing / retweeting their content.
3. Plan your educational free content
If you know your niche well enough, you’re going to understand their pain points and what they need help with. Then you can provide a solution to their problems through educational free content.
The free content you create could be a guide, a video, a webinar or even a live event.
The important thing at this stage is that the content solves a problem your niche has.
A good starting point when looking at what content to create is to build a content progression model.
Think about how you will take your potential clients from someone who has never heard about you before, to someone that knows you exists, to someone that trusts you – eventually to someone who buys from you.
In your accountancy firm, do you currently have a content progression model? Do you have ways of attracting your clients (through content and social media), building trust (with more content and social media) and then getting them to buy from you?
Top tip: Map out the exact content pieces you will create for each stage of the progression model. For example, if you’re going to get people to come to a Xero training workshop, what free things will you provide? What blog posts will you write?
You don’t actually need to create the content yet, but at least have a rough idea of the type of content you’ll need to create in the future and then put that into your social media plan!
4. Be clear on how you will follow up with leads each month
The next step in your plan is to have a system in place to convert these leads into clients. In short, this involves following up with your leads on a regular basis.
You can do this in lots of ways.
I recommend you focus on email marketing, posting daily social media updates (as mentioned in step 2 above) and also retargeting leads and prospects that visit your website.
You can generate leads by giving your potential clients free content to consume in return for their contact details, such as their name and email.
Once you’ve identified the content you will use to generate leads (see step 3) then you can map out what emails you will send to follow up with them.
Here is an example of how this could work:
Step 1: A prospect downloads a free guide on your website that educates and helps them
Step 2: You sign up to an email marketing software provider (such as MailChimp) and automatically send any new leads an email to introduce yourself (we call this the “welcome email!”) and give them the link to download/consume the free content
Step 3: Using your email marketing software you automatically send them more content every week to provide even more value to your prospect
Step 4: If they want additional help, give them the opportunity to book a meeting with you or something that takes them to the next step in your sales process
Step 5: Whether they book in a meeting with you or not (most people won’t yet), don’t just give up and never email them again! Keep following up with them at least once a month with more free valuable content, stories, videos – or anything else you’re doing that provides value to those in your audience.
Over time, you’ll build up enough trust with your potential clients that they will reach out to you for additional help when they need it.
Daily social media updates
I’ve written about what you need to do step by step to start posting social media updates here.
When people visit your website or become leads, another great way of building trust and moving them to the next step in your marketing and sales funnel, is to retarget them.
Here’s how it works:
Step 1: You install a Facebook or LinkedIn (or both!) tracking code on your website. This is a bit of code that will allow you to track and retarget people that visit your website
(Note: if this step is a little too technical, feel free to reach out to us for help or to your web developer)
Step 2: Wait. Yep, do nothing and give it some time for Facebook and LinkedIn to start building up data. When you have enough data to retarget people, Facebook and LinkedIn will let you know.
Step 3: Run Facebook / LinkedIn ads for people that visit your website showing them your latest and best content. For step by step videos on how to do this, they can be found inside the Social Marketer or the Facebook booster for accountants.
5. Track your social media results
The last step of your social media plan is to track your progress and results.
Overall, you’ll want to track your reach, your leads, your new business enquiries and your sales over a period of at least 12 months.
Track your reach
Each social media channel you’re active on will be able to tell you how many people you’re reaching in total.
For example, if you use Twitter then you can go to analytics.twitter.com to get insights on how many people see your tweets and posts.
Or, if you use Facebook / LinkedIn ads, you can login to your ads business manager, and see how many people you’re getting in front of under “reach” – as seen in the screenshot below:
Track your leads
We count a lead as someone who gives you their name and email because they are interested in learning more about how you can help them in some way.
The easiest way to track your leads is to login to your email marketing software and see how many new leads or subscribers you’ve generated for that month.
Track your new business opportunities
We count a new business opportunity as someone who reaches out to you to learn more about actually working with you. This could be in the form of an email, filling in a form, booking a meeting with you or picking up the phone and giving you a call.
To track your new business opportunities I recommend you use one system that all your new prospects will need to go through before working with you.
For example, at The Profitable Firm, all new clients need to fill in an online marketing diagnostic. This allows us to easily track how many new business opportunities we get each month by seeing how many people fill in that form.
Track your sales
Well, if you’re an accountant, I’m pretty sure you’ll know how to track your sales. 🙂 But, it is worth mentioning that when tracking your sales, you keep an open mind as to where you think the sale came from.
For example, you might get a lead on LinkedIn that turns into a sale and you could think to yourself that LinkedIn was the sole channel that attributed to that sale. And while there is some truth to that, what we’ve really found, is that it’s never just one channel on it’s own that contributes to a sale.
Normally it’s all your marketing together that helps you generate sales. This includes your content, your website, your branding and many other things. Quite frankly it’s very difficult to track every single touch point someone may have with your accountancy firm before they are ready to buy.
By tracking your results you’ll also be able to see what’s working and what you can do to improve.
For example, if you’re generating a lot of new business opportunities but not enough sales, then maybe there’s something that can be improved in between those steps? Or if you’re reaching out to a lot of people but you’re not generating many leads, then maybe your audience or messaging needs to be tweaked to improve the results.
Need a kick start on your social plan?
The steps we’ve gone through above are the steps we take with accountancy firms who sign up for our social media workshop – which is where we help you map out all of these steps in more detail and help you create your own step-by-step social media plan.
Even if you’re not ready for a full workshop yet, you can book a free call with me to talk through what you might need.
About the Author
Ashley Davis is the Social Media Director at The Profitable Firm and also works with small to medium sized businesses at Skyline Social.