Developing and delivering a social media strategy for professional services firms
Many professional services firms have a website and may have some social media accounts. Firms are unsure about being more active on social media and whether or not it a good use of time. The reality is that with strategic use of content, you can reach a relevant audience and encourage that audience to take action and engage with your business. For many firms, a well-functioning mobile optimised website appearing properly in search results can achieve this and indeed have more value than a poor social media presence – indeed social media can be a nice to have rather than a need to have.
However, social media accounts can add value if they’re used cleverly and allow clients engage with you – it is important to develop a social media strategy which supports a firm’s overall objectives. This paper (social marketing workshop) looks at the steps required to do so with some tools to help deliver the workshop (templates).
Link to a firms overall strategy
Marketing communication is undergoing a digital revolution with blogs, podcasting and social network posts enabling broadcasting to potential audiences in the millions – business professionals now rely on their mobile devices to educate themselves with business related content. A firm needs to be able to inform clients and others about its goals, activities and offerings, and motivate them to take an interest in its professional services – a social media strategy is one element of a firm’s overall strategy and can assist the generation of new business if well executed.
Part of the communication strategy not the communication strategy
Communications take many forms and professional service firms need to understand that everything they say and do communicates. The real task is to make sure that all activities communicate the same thing. Professional service firms must start with a clear picture of the communication tasks facing them. The following are typical objectives:
• Build credibility, thought leadership and influence.
• Meeting information needs of employees and the public
• Create awareness & providing information about the firm’s offerings
• Correcting inaccurate or incomplete information about the firm
• Maintaining or enhancing the image of the firm.
• Gaining client loyalty and support reaching audiences across the sales funnel
• Attracting new clients, generating leads and driving sales
• Attracting prospective employees to join the firm
Communications must have purpose and an understanding of the target audience. It is important to not have conflicting messages leading to a confused corporate image and brand position but rather communications which enhance exposure through a strategy that increases and maintains value add and brand proposition.
Not a replacement for listening to clients
In summary – a firm must do the following to develop and deliver a social media strategy: identify the target audiences; determine communication objectives for each; design messages; choose the media through which to send the message; select the social media source; and collect feedback to fine tune the strategy. Remember everything you post must be valuable to your audience. It should help them to solve a problem, keep them informed, entertain them and certainly look to engage them.
Given the nature of professional services projects and requirements for face to face interaction a social media strategy is part of the communications equation for professional services firms, but it does not replace listening well to clients in order to track preferences, desires and requirements by going to the horse’s mouth and asking the client.
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