5 Ways Accountants & Solicitors Can Build Their Personal Brand On Twitter

Today it would be foolish to think that anyone you have dealings with isn’t both looking you up online and keeping tabs on your online presence on a continual basis. Whether we’re talking about existing or future clients, suppliers, or anyone else that you deal with, I’d wager that a large proportion of those people have looked you up online at least once. Many of the leaders in the Professional Services Industry that we’ve interviewed through the BDLN seem to be of the opinion that “People buy people”, therefore your clients aren’t just buying into your firm and its reputation; first and foremost, they’re buying into you. If that is the case, wouldn’t you agree that it’s essential that you are making the best possible impression online?

Here are five tips for building your personal brand through Twitter:

 

  1. Know What You Are Trying To Achieve

Like starting anything new, the first step is to clearly determine and define your goals. What do you want to achieve and why? Without something to work towards and a clear schedule for your updates, you’ll probably find that Twitter is a real uphill battle. What does a successful personal brand on Twitter look like to you? You can measure this in a number of ways, depending on your goals. You might measure success around engagement, such as number of followers, number of retweets, or the number of times you are mentioned, i.e. @YourName. Or, you might decide to measure success using different metrics, such as the number of leads generated through Twitter, or the number of speaking or press opportunities generated. It could even be all of the above, but the most important thing is that before you start, you establish one or more KPI’s, that you measure religiously (at least once a month).

 

  1. Decide How You Are Going To Convey Your Message

If your primary goal is attracting new clients, the audience that you’re trying to target are people who are in a similar position to your existing clients. How well do you know that person, what does their life look like? What keeps them awake at night? Using the example of a Family Law Solicitor, whose primary customer is a businessman in his 40’s going through a divorce, it’s easy to imagine the kind of things he’ll be thinking about – What is going to happen to the kids? What is going to happen to my house? How much of my business is my (ex) wife entitled to? Then you need to think about how you can create content that will engage this type of person – perhaps you decide to create a whitepaper called “The Businessman’s Guide To Divorce: How To Minimise Your Losses” or a blog post series on the different ways you can minimize damage to your business during and after a divorce.

Many of your clients will see you as merely a ‘necessary (and expensive!) evil’, and are probably not particularly interested in what you do. The key to changing their negative perception of you is to find the intersection between what you do and how it helps them, then positioning that content in a way that interests that group of people.

 

  1. Have An Opinion

One of the most important things about building your personal brand is that you stand for something and are not afraid to express your views. I’m sure you’ve heard the famous Malcolm X quote – “A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything.” This is certainly true online; I see far too many accountants and lawyers constantly retweeting other people’s content, and news and content from their firm. The question you need to be constantly asking yourself is: What unique insight and value am I adding? If you can’t give a good answer to that question, you’re probably not effectively building your personal brand. Let’s be honest, there’s not much differentiation within the Professional Services industry, so unless you want to get lost in the sea of solicitors and accountants that don’t stand for anything, don’t be afraid to have strong opinions – Twitter’s not just for listening.

 

  1. Be Consistent

Consistency can be split into two areas: your twitter schedule and your approach. I currently look after a number of our client’s Twitter accounts, and what I’ve found in every area of both marketing (and life in general), is that consistency creates momentum. You’ll automatically start to see traction on your account, both in terms of numbers of followers, and engagement (providing you’re creating and distributing good content that resonates with the people that you’re trying to attract: see Point 2), increase if you Tweet daily. According to this study, you have the best chances of being retweeted if you tweet at 5pm, and you’ll get the highest click through rates on your Tweets at both noon and 6pm. Start by putting just 5 minutes per day aside for Twitter activity – ideally at the same time every day (Monday to Friday, weekends if possible). You could tie it into one of the times shown to be most effective from the study, but to start off, any time throughout the day is fine. Automating tweets is fine, but to really build your personal brand, you’ll need regular presence on there.

 

  1. Looking For Inspiration? Here Are Two Great Examples

What we’ve increasingly learnt as a company is that rather than trying to reinvent the wheel, it’s often easier, cheaper and more effective to model existing success. Often the toughest part of building your personal brand is knowing where to start, so let me show you a few examples of people who are already doing a great job. Anthony Waller, corporate partner and head of technology at Olswang has found the perfect intersection between technology and law, and it won’t take long for you to see that he’s an absolute authority in this area. Another example is Elliot Moss, Director of Business Development at Mishcon de Reya, and presenter of the Jazz Shapers show on Jazz FM. Just to give you an idea of how effective Elliot has been at building his personal brand online, in 2012 the FT included him on their list of the Most Innovative people in the Legal sector, and he’s not even a lawyer!

 

 

I hope this has helped you take the first steps towards building your personal brand on Twitter, or if you’re already on there, I hope that these tips will make you more effective. I look forward to hearing your comments.