5 Social Media Tips for Professional Services Branding.
What’s the number one branding question we’ve been hearing from our professional services clients these days? “Should our firm be using Social Media?” Any guesses what my answer is?
“Nope.” That’s right, nope.
Not unless you have a strategy for how to make it work.
In reality, Social Media can greatly support your efforts to brand your professional services firm as thought leaders and experts in your field. So what are we recommending to our clients who are committed to making Social Media a part of their branding and marketing mix? If you’re operating a legal, accounting, consulting, architecture or engineering firm, you may want to read on.
1. Develop a Social Media strategy.
When considering Social Media, first devise a plan. As marketing goes, it can seem easy and inexpensive, but it requires planning, time and energy to implement well. Your biggest cost is the time of the people who are managing your Social Media.
You’ll need some goals to think through which strategies make the most sense. Do you have a sales goal? Database growth? Hopes for PR or public speaking? You’ll need a solid strategy to get there.
2. Understand how Social Media is unique.
It’s not like advertising or even in-person networking. It’s a two-way conversation that allows and even encourages others to take part in the discussion. It can reveal a level of authenticity (or lack of) in your brand. And you’ll want to understand the SEO implications of Social Media as well. In some sense, it’s like word of mouth marketing that everyone can see and comment on.
3. Demonstrate thought leadership.
As I mentioned earlier, Social Media is a great opportunity to build on your brand’s reputation as thought leaders or establish a unique positioning for your firm. It’s a matter of sticking to what you know, taking a unique point of view, and asking for feedback.
Compelling thought leadership can also attract top talent to your firm.
4. Use the right tools.
Not every social medium is right for every business. It all goes back to the strategy – who are you trying to reach, why, and what do they want to hear?
LinkedIn, Twitter, and even Facebook Fan Pages may be good fits for most businesses, but for deeper content sharing, consider blogging, compelling videos, or even taking an active role on other industry blogs.
Meanwhile, don’t forget to incorporate your social links into your other more traditional branding efforts – website, business cards, and email signatures.
5. Social Media is not the end game.
Thought leadership, in the end, is only one strategy to build your brand. If you’re selling legal advice, it may be a great strategy. If you sell cardboard, it may not be. Consider your audience, and develop the right social media strategy for your brand.
Social Media isn’t going away anytime soon, so before you jump in, be sure to spend time thinking through your strategy. It can be a great avenue for professional services firms to brand themselves as thought leaders.
Who are the thought leaders in your industry, and how do they use Social Media? Please share your thoughts: