Social Media Marketing and Branding Strategies for Accounting Firms
I had an interesting conversation with a CPA recently … actually, it was more than one conversation with different CPAs, but it was the same conversation. I asked them to tell me what was going on with their practice. In each case, they explained what amounted to almost the exact same story. They had been in business for a long time (more than 30 years), and they were thinking about the future. They had no issue getting new clients because after so many years of being in business, the clients flow in mostly via referral. I began to wonder how I’d be able to help them. Most CPAs want my help using social media to bring in new business. The looming questions here were:
What would happen to their firm, and when they were ready to retire?
In each case, they told me that they had no one in their firm who was equipped to take over. They also didn’t necessarily want to sell. This leaves one choice really: recruit and find someone to groom for the job.
Then, it all came together for me, and I knew exactly what needed to be done in each of these cases.
The strategy is the same at its core – you build a resource for a target audience, and then invite them in. I was stuck for a minute because my mind was locked on the target audience being some kind of customer. Then, it clicked. I can target anyone.
What if we built social campaigns around prospective hires as the target audience?
This was the answer, and this can scale two ways.
First, Let’s give this some context.
We’re talking about a CPA firm who has no issue bringing in new business. We don’t need new clients, bur rather, we need qualified people with the right experience who can be hired and groomed to take over the firm and buy out the outgoing partners.
The first way to scale a prospective hire-based social campaign: What do you have as a CPA firm that fits this description? A TON of experience, right? You have seen so much. You have overcome obstacles and learned how to navigate your business into the successful firm that you are today. Teach that! Develop content around that and you’ll attract the younger, less experienced CPAs who want this knowledge. Some will take the information and use it for themselves. That’s OK. From among that community you build, you will find your qualified candidates. Moreover, because you are not hiring unknowns from an ad you placed, you are in a much better position to qualify people. In other words, you are hiring from within a community that YOU’VE built. This means you get to know these people rather well before you even consider them as employees.
Who is your target audience? It’s not recent college grads. It’s CPAs, perhaps in their 30s or 40s, who are looking for long-term stability. You have what your potential candidates want. Teach them, using social media, and you build a tribe. While you’re teaching CPAs and accountants what they need in order to become qualified, you will be able to find the candidates who have what YOU want.
Now, you have your target audience, and you have the basic strategy. Build the online resource. Get other CPAs and accountants in the habit of coming to your site to learn the skills they need. Build the community you crave. Then, bring them in.
The second way to scale a prospective hire-based social campaign: Meanwhile, what you will also have created is a vertical that is extremely scalable. Again, you have a successful CPA firm, and you are sharing knowledge that comes from that, creating a very real experience. Guess who else wants that knowledge? Guess who craves it? Other CPAs who would never come to work for you, but might be only too happy to pay you for that knowledge. That knowledge can be packaged in many forms, including webinars, E-books, podcasts and videos. It has never been easier to sell information products online, and you have an incredible opportunity to do this in a niche that is desperate for it.
The only question that remains now is,
How do I create the content?
That’s a question, perhaps, for my next post!