In my last post about digital marketing for professional services firms, I discussed the noteworthy benefits of websites and blogging. Your site is of central importance, but your blog posts aren’t worth much unless you share them. Social media is one of the ideal ways to do that and much more.
Despite the value of social media, you don’t have to have an account on every social network. It’s perfectly fine to just focus on one or two channels. Make sure, though, that you’re picking the right venues for your firm. Are your clients other professionals? LinkedIn may be a good choice. Do you mostly work with individual clients or families? Facebook may be better. If you’re an architect, Instagram’s visual nature is perfect for you, but if you’re an accountant or lawyer, it may not be fruitful.
With that said, there are many reasons why firms use social media. Given that you work hard and make the right choices for your business, these eight benefits are all within your reach.
1. Make your firm more visible: This one’s simple—when you share noteworthy content and join in on conversations, other users take note. If you gain traction, more and more people will learn about you. Naturally, this is connected to our next point—getting more clients.\
2. Find and convert leads: Of course, when more people know about you, your potential client pool increases. When social media users in the market for your services see that you’re knowledgeable, professional, approachable, and perhaps even fun, they’ll start knocking on your door.
Social media helps later on in the sales process in essentially the same way. Wherever they come from, leads are bound to research you online before signing a contract. When they come across your social profiles, they’ll get a better sense of your firm’s strengths and personality. Hopefully, that’ll give you a few more points.
3. Boost your search engine optimization (SEO): Even if you’re not finding leads or renown on social networks, having your name and content on them—alongside descriptions of what your firm does—makes you more likely to show up in searches on Google, Bing, and so on. While social media alone won’t put you on the first page of results for commonly searched terms, it does give you a boost.
4. Put a face and ethos to your name: Social media is the ultimate place to communicate the “soft” aspects of your firm, like your employees, company culture, and—you may hate this word—brand. Clients want to know what you value, who’s on your team, and other details that go beyond your credentials. In a competitive market where everyone researches everything online, it’s worth it to highlight what makes you unique.
5. Prove your expertise: As I noted in my last post, your clients are ultimately paying you for your expertise. Communicating it should be a priority. Whether you’re sharing articles your team wrote, commenting on industry news, or giving advice, this is when you should show off your education.
6. Manage your public relations: Don’t forget, this is about making you look good! Use your social platforms to announce new hires, exciting projects, awards, and much more. And, in the event that your firm takes a misstep, you can quickly share apologies on social media too.
7. Recruit talent: Open your job listings to a broader group by sharing them on social. This is an especially wise choice if you also share content related to your office culture. That way, potential employees will have an immediate and authentic sense of what happens at your firm.
8. Stay in the know: Social media isn’t only for (tastefully) touting your firm. It’s full of continual conversations, breaking news, fresh perspectives, and more. When you take the time to read, listen, and watch what others (including competing firms) are sharing, you’ll better understand how to keep up in your industry.
Bonus: Support your clients: Customer support on social media is a well-documented phenomenon, as it’s a fast way to communicate and solve issues. However, I’m listing it as a bonus because, generally speaking, this use of social media is more common for businesses that sell products, not services. Most professional services clients will call or email you to talk, rather than take to Twitter. That doesn’t mean it won’t happen, though. Be prepared for clients to come to you on social media with both casual questions and serious complaints. When you respond quickly and helpfully, you and your clients both win.
Keep in mind that your firm doesn’t necessarily need to achieve all of these outcomes. For example, maybe you don’t have the sort of clients who find out about you online—they’re largely referrals, and there are a lot of them. You probably shouldn’t prioritize social media as a source of new leads, then. However, it’s still a valuable tool for differentiating yourself, highlighting your expertise, and humanizing your business.
Look out for the next post in this series, in which I’ll detail the principles that lead to social media success.