Are you social?
You might be reading this title and thinking, “What does being social have to do with accounting?” The answer is, nothing really, but being social on social media has everything to do with business and keeping your business relevant.
I want to know: Is your business on social media?
Over the last decade, like it or not, social media has become an integrated part of our lives. Social media has allowed:
- Families to reconnect and stay in touch
- People to advocate for causes that are near and dear to their hearts
- Businesses and brands to gain devoted customers / clients that rave about their services or products
All of this and more was gained just from social media.
Why is it important for your business to be on social media?
Studies have shown that people are turning to social media for more than keeping up with family and friends. Potential clients expect businesses to have a presence on social media. They also expect brands to provide education and a minimum level of customer service on social media. This is expected so much that social media in its entirety has been broken down into different subsections over the last decade. Right now, people expect brands / businesses to provide the following on social media:
- Social customer service
- Social marketing
- Social selling
Hootesuite, an online social media research and scheduling tool, has produced numerous case studies that show how businesses and brands are not only using social media to keep up with the changing trends but to make an impact and make money. Hootesuite provides case studies on how social media helped:
- Hong Kong Airlines increased brand sentiment by 212 percent with social media.
- Ales Group used social media to not only gain more followers but increase sales.
- Purdue University used social media to help raise $28.2 million in a single day.
How can this benefit your company?
When used right, social media is an extremely powerful tool and has become an important part of the client buying cycle.
Most potential clients start out on one of the four platforms: Pinterest, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. These are the platforms that people turn to in the research, pre-purchase phase. They search these platforms to find brands and recent content for what they want to purchase, whether it be a physical product or service.
Then, depending on the investment, the person turn to groups inside Facebook, LinkedIn and Reddit to dig further into a service or product to not only learn more about the company and how up-to-date they are on current industry trends, but also what other people who have used the service / product are saying.
Once the research has been done, a potential client will then go to the company website to get specific questions answered, check out the different purchase options that are available, and possibly see reviews / events that are coming up.
Then they purchase.
The purchase used to be the final step. Now, however, thanks to social media the review is the final step — the grand finale of the buying cycle, if you will. Social media allows the customers who have purchased to share their experiences, good or bad, with other followers and create brand sentiment. This is now the step that closes the buying cycle and helps new potential clients who are just starting their buying cycle.
Why is social media marketing important in how you market your business?
You cannot rely on SEO alone to have your website appear in Google searches. Did you know that social posts / boards are now being shown in Google searches? This is another opportunity for potential clients to find you. People also use:
- Facebook and Pinterest as search platforms just like they do with Google.
- Facebook for business recommendations. If your business has a page, it makes it easier for people to share and recommend your business.
As you can see, if you aren’t active on social media platforms, you’re missing out on potential clients.
There are many other benefits to social media:
- Building brand awareness
- Increasing sales
- Building your e-mail list
There’s quite an extensive list! I will save those for another blog post as the benefits can get very specific based on your goals.
How do I know all of this about social media and how it affects accounting?
Let me introduce myself! I’m Sarah Hanford and I’m not just slightly obsessed with social media — I was also a corporate accountant for 18 years. This is one of the first blog posts that I’m writing for the MACPA as part of their communications team. I’ve been recognized as one of the Top 25 Social Media Managers by The Huffington Post, I’m a co-author of a book due out in late 2019 on Facebook Ads, and I’ve also spoken at the Social Media Marketing Made Easy Conference two years in a row.
The world of social media is always changing, which is the fun and also frustrating part of social media. If you have any questions, please either leave a comment here or reach out to us on Facebook! We are here to help you not only stay on top of accounting trends but also help you stay on top of trends that affect your business.