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The New Rules of Social Media for Professional Service Firms

You may be thinking to yourself: wait, new rules? I haven’t got the hang of the old rules yet!

If this is you, you’re not alone. The world of social media moves fast; the technology changes quickly and trends live and die daily.

So how do you keep up with what’s going on?

1. Communicate

The truth is that most of your audience won’t expect your practice to be beyond the cutting edge of tech trends, but they will want to communicate with you in a way that they find easy and useful. Effective two-way communication with your audience is vital for marketing and customer service.

So, investigate. Which social media channels are your target audience using, and what are they talking about? Be part of the conversations your audience is already having and you will gain their trust and respect.

2. Don’t be boring

As a professional, it’s very easy to talk publically using language and topics you personally are interested in. While this is great when you are speaking with peers or special interest groups, you must remember that in most cases your audience has a much lower level of knowledge in your area. That’s why they need you!

Using highly technical or detail-driven content can appear boring to your audience. Instead, try to show the benefits or outcomes of what you do, and talk about how people will feel once your work with them is complete.

3. Forget “building community”

Social media marketing used to be all about building a community of followers, people who would gather around you and be attracted to your content. This method of marketing is difficult for professional service firms unless you have a unique and impressive position. Possible, but difficult.

Instead, focus on existing communities and groups. Find people that are already talking together and join in, giving value wherever you can. This builds your reputation in an existing group, around your area of expertise, and leads to referrals for your services.

Another very predictable way to use social media to gain clients is to utilise paid advertising. Facebook and LinkedIn both offer incredibly powerful targeting that can place your ad in front of a specific audience based on demographics or behaviours. While this costs money out of pocket, the time it saves and the return it can give mean it is worth experimenting with.

4. Engage

Basically, this fourth rule sums up the other three and forms a blanket rule for handling future changes.

You don’t need to know everything about every platform, but you do need to seek out where people are and what they are doing, and engage with them. Then let yourself be found in return.

Yes, communication technology changes. But if you have consistent, valuable interactions with your audience it doesn’t matter where they happen. And that is where the biggest opportunities can be found.

Originally published in LinkedIn

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