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Gail Perry joins Mike Michalowicz, Chris Curran, and Ron Saharyan to share how to use social media to grow your practice. Welcome to Episode 12 of the Grow My Accounting Practice Podcast!
Gail Perry is a CPA and the editor-in-chief of CPA Practice Advisor magazine. She is also a well-known public speaker and is the author of more than 30 books (including Mint.com For Dummies and Surviving Financial Downsizing: A Practical Guide to Living Well on Less Money). In addition, she maintains a small tax practice.Gail is a graduate of Indiana University where she earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism. After returning to school to study accounting at Illinois State University, Gail earned her CPA and worked for Deloitte’s Chicago office as a state and local tax specialist. She is a former tax columnist for the Indianapolis Star newspaper, has been an adjunct accounting professor, and was on staff for 10 years at the Indiana CPA Society as a computer applications instructor. Gail was the publisher and editor-in-chief of AccountingWEB before joining the CPA Practice Advisor team.
Have a relationship with people who will pay for your services. The better you know someone the more likely they are going to want to continue doing business with you.
Using all Social Media outlets at once can be overwhelming (LinkedIn, Twitter Account, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, etc). The very first place you need to start is a website for your company. There are 30% of Accountants out there who do not have a website for their business! That is the first place a potential client will look for information about you.
DO NOT use a generic website that looks the same as others… this will not be good for your business. Build a reputation! Include personal things about you – share your success stories, show them how you serve your community, introduce yourself. Provide links to where people can find you on social media so they can find out more about you on platforms that they may be more comfortable with.
Start slowly. Pick one platform where you’re comfortable – LinkedIn is a great start because it’s easy to used and is very business oriented. It allows people who are searching for you to find out why you are qualified to be doing what you’re doing. They have groups for conversations that are relevant to your interests, you can connect with friends and colleagues that will ultimately lead to more connections with new people and potential clients.
Advertise on social media, but become familiar with the platform you choose before you start advertising. If you have a practice that is very specialized in terms of the service you offer, tools that you use, where you’re located, factors that help you target a specific audience, make sure to define your search specifically for these people to make sure you are standing out to them as opposed to the vast majority.
If you’re using Facebook and want to keep your business and personal life separate, you do not have to connect with clients and colleagues personally. You can create groups and adjust the settings so that they are only seeing what you want them to see, or you can create a separate business page.
When it comes to sharing content, figure out what you’re trying to accomplish before you start sharing too much information. Why are you using social media, is it to get to know people better? Is it to generate leads or sell a service? To improve your brand and establish yourself? Once you figure this out you can share the appropriate content accordingly to reach your goal.
Scheduling time to do this is important! You want to maintain your presence on these platforms without being overwhelming. If having multiple accounts is too time consuming, just start with one. If you yourself do not have the time to invest in this, consider bringing in an employee who can do this for you. If you are using multiple social media outlets, consider using a dashboard so you can see everything in one place (for example, Hootsuite).
Convert the customer: remain professional and portray yourself as the expert you are. Make sure people know what your services are and what’s available to them – get the word out there and continue to be available for them. Stay current with what your clients need.
The Psychology of the sale
When making the move from transaction to advisor, you must also change the whole look and feel of how you go about things. Never call it a price – you are not a price, you are an investment. When you are delivering proposals it is key that you document it as an investment.
Why? A cost is simply an expenditure of money, time or resources; an investment is an expenditure that has a strong possibility of a return. Therefore, throughout your conversations and your documents, change out the words cost, price, quote, and replace it with investment. Correct your prospect if they use these terms! Stick with that mindset, everything you produce for your clients is a positive return on their investment in working with you.
GMAP Now Task
You have an opportunity on your website to share your story… here’s how to do it using the Phoenix Affect: start by sharing the aspirations and vision you have, then share the struggles your business has gone through. Show that everything hasn’t been perfect and that you fought to be where you are today. Show the high, the low, and the climb. In doing so people will want to join you and climb in your success together.
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