Accountants don’t usually list “creativity” on their list of skills. So when it comes to social media, many avoid it entirely, feeling like these platforms are entirely out of their league.
It’s time to get over that fear. Why? Your clients and potential customers are already there! I know you love numbers, so here are a few to convince you: 79% of people in the U.S. have a social media profile, and the overwhelming majority—72%–of those people use it once or more! per day.
So even though accounting may seem like one of the least social media friendly industries (second only to plumbing, perhaps), it can be a powerful way to help potential customers find you, and get to know you.
As the Accountant for Creatives® I work with creative geniuses and social media experts on the regular. And even though I think a little of their creative influence has rubbed off on me, I still tend to thrive more around spreadsheets and calculators than photo shoots and social media memes. Yet, I’ve managed to gain a healthy social following on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
I’m here to tell you that you, too, can succeed on social media. I’ll even share all of my secrets of how I do it while still being a numbers gal at heart.
Make a plan so posting doesn’t drain all your brain cells
Frequency and consistency are key to social media. If you have an account but the last post was a year ago, you might as well not have one at all. And yet, if you’re constantly thinking about how you need to post, the decision fatigue (or stress) is going to leave you with no creative brainpower left.
That’s why I recommend planning ahead and creating a bunch of posts in one batch so you can set it up and forget it until your next social media session.
- The first step is to decide how often you want to post. Experts say that about one post a day on each platform is optimal, but I’ve found that I get away with posting once a week or even once a month on some platforms and still see results. Better to pick a cadence you can actually stick to than be too aggressive and just give up.
- Once you pick your cadence, decide how you’ll go about doing your social media planning. Will you create everything at the beginning of the month and use a scheduler like Sprout Social to have it post automatically? Will you spend a little time every Friday afternoon when you’re wrapping up your day coming up with ideas for the next week?
Whatever you decide, feel free to start small and see how it goes—I bet you’ll be surprised by the results you can see from spending even an hour a week on social media.
Remember that each channel has different best practices
Okay, so you can just write one post a week and blast it across platforms, right? Not so fast. Each social media channel has its own personality, and publishing the same thing on all of them isn’t likely to get you results.
So it’s best to know what type of content performs best on each site and adjust accordingly. For example, sharing articles may be better on Facebook since you can link to things and post in-depth insights, while Instagram is better for visual behind-the-scenes posts or quick bits of inspiration. Here’s a quick rundown of the types of content that perform well for me on each platform.
- Instagram—This is my daily driver, and that’s where you can find me interacting with clients and friends regularly. It’s important not to treat Instagram as a one-sided conversation. Since we operate a remote firm, Instagram is where I get to catch up with clients and have those more personal conversations that would typically be had on an annual basis in a traditional tax office. It’s as easy as chatting about morning routines or sharing your next vacation spot.
- Twitter—In my world, Twitter has two personalities: news and comedy. Spend a little time on Twitter, and you’ll find that a meme or animated GIF can go a long way. You don’t have to be a stand-up comedian. It can be as simple as sharing a moment from one of your favorite television shows.
There are several great tax resources that are a must-follow for accountants, including:
- Facebook—Facebook is great for sharing articles and videos. I use it regularly to drive traffic back to my blog. Sharing old articles that you’ve written is a great way to keep your feed active without the need for creating new content. Video travels fast on Facebook, so it’s a great marketing tool. I recommend teaming up with established companies to share some accounting insights via Facebook Live.
Creativity thrives with constraints, right? Think of this as a challenge. While it may sound like a lot of extra work, you can take the same idea and tweak it for it to work well on each platform.
For example, maybe you found (or wrote) and article you want to share. On Facebook and LinkedIn, you may link to an item along with a few paragraphs summarizing your thoughts on the matter. For Twitter, you may still link to the article but shorten your caption to something enticing that will make people click. And on Instagram, you may pull out your favorite bit of info from the piece to share directly or create a graphic that relates to the topic.
Don’t make brainstorming harder than it has to be
Planning is easy for us accountants—it’s when it comes to the actual content that some folks clam up. What exactly is all this stuff you’re supposed to be sharing? How can you talk about accounting in a way that will make someone stop and look at your post when it’s surrounded by puppy pictures?!
Don’t feel like you have to come up with the most unique idea on the planet to create great social media content. Instead, it’s often best to go back to the basics. After all, the information that is common sense to you is precisely the kind of expertise potential clients are searching for.
What questions are your clients are always asking? Can you answer them on social? Can you share reminders about tax deadlines to help people stay on top of them? My quarterly tax reminder posts are some of my most popular—and I post almost the same thing every time!
Here are ideas for other types of posts that work well on social accounts for accounting firms:
- Inspirational clients stories (with their permission, of course)
- Thoughts on accounting-related news that apply to the general public (e.g., changes in the tax code)
- Behind-the-scenes info about your firm (e.g., introducing different employees)
- Personal updates (more on that in a minute)
Don’t be trendy, but do be yourself
One thing that being creative on social media shouldn’t involve is trying to force yourself to use the latest meme or trend on your channel (unless that truly feels natural to you!). Instead, be personable and sound like a human in your writing, rather than feeling like you have to keep it buttoned-up. Try writing like you are talking to a friend across the table. Tell a goofy dad joke or use some puns, if that’s your thing. Maybe even be willing to share some personal updates.
People want to work with people they trust and like, especially when it comes to their money, and showing off a bit of yourself helps establish that connection. So sharing posts about having the #worldscutesttaxdeduction or how I’m enjoying myself at the end of tax season adds some levity and makes folks even more excited to work with me.
Pay someone more creative than you
Of course, there may be some areas that truly are beyond your capabilities. There are plenty of resources out there, and even freelancers who would be happy to provide you with budget-friendly assistance.
For example, having high-quality imagery is critical on most social platforms. If you can’t take a good photograph to save your life, it’s worth spending a little money to make sure you have good images to go with your posts.
I hire a photographer once a year to get some shots of my team plus some fun shots for my blog and other social posts. There are also plenty of places online you can get free images—just make sure what you pick out looks natural and not too fake or forced.
I hope this helps you get started on social media—I can’t wait to give you a follow!