Gone are the times when people would drive around town, visiting random accounting firms and then choosing one for their business. Instead, people rely on social selling, online reviews, and forums to learn more about a company. If you’re not leveraging social selling as part of your accounting firm’s growth strategy, you’re not reaching your true growth potential.
Over 4.6 billion people are on social media, so you can be confident that many of your ideal clients are too.
Social selling can help you attract these potential clients, convert them, and retain them.
What is Social Selling?
Social selling involves someone in your firm, or a third-party, interacting with prospects on social media. For example, LinkedIn for social selling is common in B2B marketing, and over 80% of social B2B leads go through the platform.
We’re not talking about social selling in terms of bombarding others with messages. So, no, you can’t have your firm sending message after message asking people to use your service – that’s spam.
Instead, you need to use your social channels to:
- Connect with prospects
- Build relationships
- Engage leads
There’s a good chance that you’re already using social selling to some extent if you have a Facebook Business page or a LinkedIn page for your business. But, without the right strategy, you’re just scratching the potential of social selling.
Using Social Selling to Boost Accounting Firm Growth
Many firms post a video or a wall of text explaining their business, sit back, and wonder why sales aren’t pouring in. Unfortunately, this process likely won’t work. If you want to make sales through social, you need to do a few things:
- Add value by publishing informative posts
- Engage with your followers, comment on their posts, and reply to them
- Start conversations and be engaged
- Answer questions from your potential prospects across multiple platforms
- Share content that can build authority and trust
- Create a community
The key with social selling versus social media marketing is that you’re honing in on prospects on social media platforms. For example, the following is a prime example of how to use social selling the right way:
- A new business in your city opens and is looking for an accountant.
- You reach out to the business owner and recommend software they can use.
- The prospect adds you and realizes that you’re an accountant, reads your posts, and gains a little trust in you.
- A week later, you message the prospect to see how their software search worked out and if they need help. The lead sees you offer setup services for QuickBooks and contacts you.
Of course, every platform has its own unique audience, which will be more or less responsive depending on your approach. A few of the best practices to begin social selling today are:
- Provide value: If you’re only trying to sell and pitch potential clients, you’re doing it wrong. Share valuable information, provide insight and educate.
- Build relationships: Monitor what people are saying, engage and build relationships.
- Personalize: When you do reach out to potential clients, be real. You want to be yourself, send meaningful messages and content, and have actual conversations.
- Consistency: Social is a long-term strategy. Ensure that you’re consistent with your efforts. Follow-up with leads, engage with followers, and always be prepared to share advice.
- Build your network and community: Social selling doesn’t mean you need a small network. You should add your competitors (to track them, too) and existing clients. Focus on creating a community.
- Create a content schedule: If you find that you’re struggling to post and engage with others, create a content schedule. Our blog linked will help you create the perfect content schedule.
- Adjust by platform: Every platform is different. For example, if you’re using Facebook, you can use groups to build out your community. Whereas, if you’re on Twitter, your approach needs to be different. Bottom line, be sure to adjust your approach to match the platform you’re using to social sell.
The best part is that you don’t have to be the one to take on social selling on your own. Many firms outsource their social campaigns to marketing firms or someone who is dedicated to keeping your social channels generating leads.
The truth is, most firms want their internal resources focused on accounting, so they outsource their social selling..
How to Track Your Firm’s Social Selling Results
Monitoring your results is the only way to know whether your social efforts are producing results. There are a few things that you need to put in place, or have your marketing team handle, to better understand if your social selling is working for you, including:
- Create notifications and alerts: Set up alerts using Google Alerts or something similar to keep track of what people are talking about, industry topics, mentions of your brand and even monitor the competition.
- Track engagement: How is your engagement? Monitor which posts get the most shares, engagement and likes. Also, monitor message responses and which ones led to direct contact with your firm. Be sure to also monitor how your network is growing.
- Shares: Who is sharing your content? Who isn’t reacting to your posts or outreach? What can you do to get these people’s attention and begin selling to them?
- Conversations: How many people are you starting conversations with? How many people are replying?
- Appointments generated: How many new appointments with prospects are you generating from social selling?
Analytic data can further help you understand what times are best to post for engagement, and whether social results in leads and sales. Additionally, it allows you to make data-centric decisions when social selling.
You’ll also want to track:
- Revenue generated through social
- Social closes
Social selling is a long-term strategy, so you must be patient and consistent. Focus on connecting with people, starting conversations and building trust along the way. Over time, you’ll need to refine your approach to reach the right audiences, attract more prospects and close them.
With consistency and the right process, you will see your pipeline fill up. If you want a step by step process to start social selling, check out our 4C Process here.