26 July 2013

Over the coming months we will be producing a series of blog posts aimed specifically at digital marketing for professional services.

These blog posts will help you understand how to approach different aspects of digital marketing specifically from the point of view of professional services.

n this post we are looking at social media and how professional services can utilise social media to engage their clients and develop relationships. Many firms are and have been reluctant to embrace social media, but those who have really have reaped the rewards so we can only encourage you to take the leap of faith and give it a go.

One trick with social media marketing is to share content, your own content and other people’s. We will be providing you with a blog post on content marketing next month which will help give you some ideas how you can produce content from nothing, but once you have content you can talk about it, this will also stop your social media updates being purely sales driven and more about backing up your quality and expertise.

Twitter

Use Twitter to try and draw your audience into a conversation about what is happening in your industry. Showcase your knowledge and leadership of current industry hot topics by sharing both content from your own website which you have created, as well as content from external websites which is useful and informative.

This tweet covers a hot topic in the news at the moment, links to a critical opinion blog post on the Firm’s website, written by one of the Partners which demonstrates their knowledge in the field. This is likely to receive responses, retweets, and shares which will raise their brand profile online.

Twitter can also successfully be utilised as a job board, which many Firms are starting to do now, creating separate Twitter handles for their recruitment purposes being able to attract both graduate and experienced practitioners by advertising via the social network.

One thing which trips most businesses up with Twitter is that they get too carried away talking about themselves, so always remember the 80/20 rule. 80% of your updates should be external content:

  • Find some good blogs and content providers to refer to for content
  • Follow some influential people who have really interesting things to say and retweet them
  • Schedule your tweets at reasonable intervals, don’t have bursts of tweeting everything in 10 minute slots then nothing for hours. Use a software package like Hootsuite which will help you with scheduling so that your updates can be regular.
  • If somebody retweets, replies, or DM’s you acknowledge them, answer their question, thank them. Engagement is key with social media so don’t let them fall into a black hole.

Facebook

Use Facebook in a similar manner as you have Twitter, but with less updates, you don’t want to saturate the Facebook timeline as it doesn’t move as quickly as the Twitter one. You also want to try and add updates with more photos and less link’s as Facebook are more likely to show these higher in people’s timelines. Also, push more towards the content side of things than the careers side of things. People don’t use Facebook to job hunt.

Facebook is the perfect place to establish a more personable side of your brand. This is where your clients are going to be viewing you, most likely, in their spare time. They are going to be more relaxed, in their own personal space and will be more open to seeing some personality from companies they interact with on Facebook.

Look at using Facebook to share Photos of staff, videos, or possibly even some memes (of course keep them tasteful and within what your brand guidelines would allow for). People like to see that the employees of Firms they engage with are real aswell, and Facebook is a fantastic place to show this side of your business.

Google+

Google+ is great, if for nothing else, than for helping verify you with Google and get you listed on location specific searches, so the effort that goes into your Google+ social media really does pay off as it helps you appear in the Google searches aswell! Google+ is also great for sharing industry relevant content.

Share content similar to that which you share on Facebook, but also utilise the hangouts facility and host hangouts with Clients as mini-webinars now and again, a chance for you to actively interact with your audience and share your knowledge with them.

There are also a number of communities on Google+ so it’s beneficial to get involved in active conversations on these communities and build your reputation both within your industry peers and among potential clients.

LinkedIn

I have said it before, I will say it again, over and over. LinkedIn is an absolute MUST for any professional services firm and individual. If you do not have an active presence on LinkedIn then you are missing out on massive potential.

If you are not familiar with LinkedIn the best way to think of it is as a networking event online. You can connect with everyone you know professionally, then join groups to meet like-minded people to grow your network. About a year ago they finally added company pages which means that your business can now have a presence on LinkedIn, people can follow your business, you can post updates as your business, post job openings, and anybody who works for your firm will be linked to the business once they have linked their employment record to the company profile.

Once you have finished reading this blog I want you to go and set up your company profile if you don’t have one! It’s very straightforward and it’s an essential. Then start adding updates to LinkedIn, a couple each day to both your personal profile and the company profile. Ensure your staff all update their personal profiles to connect their employment to the Company Profile as this won’t happen automatically.

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