Years ago, when social media was more popular than Poptarts in the 1980’s, everybody wanted a piece of the action. Thousands of “social media experts” showed up and created a business around running social media campaigns for companies.
In fact, I was one of them. Back in 2011, when I was living in Wiltshire, I very quickly got known as the Social Media Queen, and taught social media and ran social media accounts for local businesses.
Fast forward to today and things have changed. Social media has matured. The platforms have evolved. Now social media platforms are making money through paid advertising, and it is not as easy to succeed as it once was.
Many social media experts have gone back to their day or moved on to the next shiny thing in which it is easy to make money. Left behind are the few who keep up to date with developments, and test and measure results.
Whilst it was easy to outsource your social media management 2011-2013, people demand more from companies that are present on it. Which leaves a very important question that needs answering:
Should Your Accounting Firm Outsource Its Social Media Marketing?
Before you even start to consider the answer to this question you need to understand what you will be using social media for. And all too often the firms I speak to can’t even answer this question.
Social media enables you to interact with others and share content, have conversations online and grow a community.
Understanding why you want to use social media will help you determine who should look after your social media accounts. Do you want to:
- Promote your accounting firm and the services it offers?
- Tell customers about your latest services/packages?
- Find out what people think of your business?
- Build a personal brand?
- Attract new clients?
- Build stronger relationships with influencers?
- Build stronger relationships with clients and prospects?
Whilst this list is not exhaustive, these are the main reasons why accounting firms approach us to help them with their social media marketing.
Social Media Has Many Advantages In Helping You Achieve Your Business Goals:
It has a BROAD REACH and you can meet millions of people around the world.
It has the ability to TARGET particular people and start a conversation with them.
It is FREE or LOW COST and other than time, you can leverage the platform to grow your accounting firm.
It is PERSONAL. Social media enables you to speak with people . You can start conversations and build RELATIONSHIPS.
It is FAST. Want to send a quick tweet? Type it in and 240 characters later you have spoken to your followers, and more.
It is EASY. You don’t need a degree from Harvard to understand how to post a Facebook update or send a Tweet. If you are computer literate (or literate) you will do just fine.
Depending on what you want your social media marketing to achieve, you will want to either keep it or outsource to an agency.
Let’s look at each option in depth:
Keeping Your Social Media Marketing In-House
Keeping your social media marketing in-house is a minefield in itself. You need to have someone dedicated to your social media marketing and developing a social media strategy.
The benefits of hiring an in-house social media manager are that they can literally immerse themselves in your firm, understanding its values and communicate a strong brand identity. They will be on the ground in the thick of what is going on every day in your and can maximise the opportunities that present themselves.
If it is a team members birthday they can take a quick snapshot and Tweet it and add it to Instagram.
If a client comes into the firm and they are happy to have a picture taken with you, “snap” that photo and share it on your social media. Every action in the firm becomes an opportunity for you to promote who you are, what you do and how you do it.
This flexibility and collaborative working will mean that your social media could be a great relationship building tool.
The downsides to running your social media in-house are as follows:
The cost. The price of a good social media manager, who understand strong strategy and the platforms, means that you will end up paying a salary and benefits – for part-time work. This will probably lead to them taking on other work from other departments within your firm and slowly social media gets left to the wayside.
Another common problem with in-house social media managers is that they don’t have the skillset. Maybe they can write but are lacking with design expertise. Maybe they understand how to post on social media, but don’t get “marketing” as a whole and how it all has to fit together.
To find someone in-house that has marketing, strategy, design, social media and sales expertise is VERY expensive. And to successfully have your social media work for you, these traits are needed.
Outsourcing Your Social Media Marketing To An Agency
A social media marketing agency is a team of dedicated specialists focussed on growing your social media presence and your firm.
The benefits of an agency that 80% of it can be run . If you don’t have time, budget to hire a dedicated in-house manager, or the desire to learn the ins and outs a credible agency can be the answer to your firm’s needs.
They have the skills and resources under one roof.
Because an agency has the expertise, you can rest assured that your firm will not run into a problem that cannot be resolved. It means that your firm will always be ahead of the and that you will be able to use the latest social media tactics and benefit from new developments.
However, there are two downsides to outsourcing your social media.
One is that social media takes time, and when you don’t see immediate results you will see outsourcing as a cost to your firm. Whilst it is cost effective in the long run, it can be the wrong decision if you only have a small budget and are wanting immediate results.
The other downside is that you will still need to do some of the work. Outsourcing is only 80% of the effort taken away.
You will still need to generate interesting and helpful content that the agency can use to really maximise the marketing, and get results faster. The more support you can give the agency, the better your results will be.
So what should you do – keep it in-house or outsource?
Quite honestly, it depends on how much time, effort and money you want to commit to the running of your social media accounts.
If you want to hire someone in-house they will have to guarantee to be consistent. Can you ensure that your social media marketing will not be put on a back burner if you keep it in-house?
If you want to outsource, are you prepared to understand it’s a long game and may take the agency a few months to get into the flow with your firm and your values?
Either way, social media should only be untaken when you understand why you are doing it, and what you want the outcome to be. If you need clients fast and you are relying on social media to bring you in clients after sending your first tweet, I suggest you back away from the computer and pick up the phone and start calling prospects instead.
If you want to build long-term relationships, have a greater reach than you ever thought possible, and be remembered, recommended and referred with ease, then social media is a must.
Your only dilemma is then, should you outsource your social media marketing?
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