Marketing on the internet is still marketing and there are rules to follow. Sadly, most Accounting Firm partners ignore these because they think that since the environment of Social Media is relatively new and the rules of engagement on the internet keep on changing, they can discard established marketing rules and do whatever they want.
While Social Media is growing too fast not to be taken seriously, it would be wise to avoid marketing pitfalls of both online and offline marketing.
NO STRATEGIC MARKETING PLAN – Your Accounting Firm’s social media marketing initiatives should not be taken as separate from your firms other marketing activities. It should be taken as an adjunct to your existing marketing plan. Failure to integrate your offline and online strategies will mean that your branding and messaging will not be consistent. You need consistency and you need a plan on how to approach your online branding. After all, even if it’s on an online social platform, it still is MARKETING.
TRYING TO SELL TO EVERYONE – Just because Social Media is on the World Wide Web doesn’t mean that you are marketing to a worldwide audience. Marketing basics still have to be followed and one very important offline marketing rule is: Target your niche market. With so many other online marketing campaigns out there, your Accounting Firm will have a more success at influencing your target market if your firms marketing message is clear and focused.
FOLLOWING THE LEADER- Look at your own firm’s website as it stands today. I’ll bet you’re following what I call, “the Sameness Model” or “the Simon Says” model. Like the majority of accounting firms, you took a look at what everyone else was doing and decided to do the same.
I have visited numerous firms’ web sites and here are the things in common that I have found:
A link to services page
A contact information page
A page with pictures of the partners
Brief biographies of each partner
A list of helpful resource sites that don’t differ from all the other accounting firm web sites.
If your firm’s website is already following “the sameness model”, there is a danger that your social media sites might be following the leader too. Don’t do anything solely because everyone else is doing it. Sure, study what other Accounting Firms are doing and then ask yourself: “Can this be done better?” Add more value and differentiate yourself.
IGNORING THE 5P’S OF MARKETING – Product, Price, Place, Promotion, People
Product: What service is your Accounting Firm offering? Are you offering everything or are you a top of mind Accounting Firm for a specific niche? Example – “Accounting Firms for Real Estate Investors.”
Price: Clients on the internet are more price sensitive because they have easy access to information and can compare Accounting Firms easily. Research and make sure you are not pricing your services too low that it will affect your firm’s credibility. Or too high that it will turn clients away.
Place: In the traditional sense, Place generally means place of business. Taking into consideration that we are now entering the virtual business world, where can your potential clients find you online? Where can they find you? Are you just marketing through your website? Or are you experimenting with Social Media Marketing and can be found in Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other Social Media platforms that can drive traffic to your company’s corporate website.
Promotion: Integrate your social media marketing with your offline marketing efforts so that everything is seamless. You need to have the same look and feel across all of your offline and online advertisements.
People: Your Accounting Firm’s presence in social media is too valuable to entrust to someone in your firm who may not understand what your business requires from social networking. Someone who has logged in hundreds of hours on Facebook and Tweeter doing personal stuff doesn’t qualify him or her as having sufficient experience to handle your Firm’s social media.