You’d be forgiven for assuming professional service firms don’t have time for social media campaigns. Or, shall we say, effective social media campaigns. Concocting a detailed digital marketing strategy usually is a costly and time-consuming process. Whether you curate your own in-house team or outsource an agency, it takes a lot of hours to create a truly impactful campaign that resonates with your target audience.
In fact, professional service firms seem to struggle with creating impactful marketing campaigns in general – not just in regards to social media. Take a look at the below diagram from a Source Global Research publication. It shows the amount of effort spent by a firm on different marketing ventures and how successful each venture was. Respondents believed that marketing teams spend a large portion of time working on campaigns that, really, added little value to the professional service firm they were working with.
The worst offenders seem to be the marketeers favourites. Newsletters. Logistics. Events. Emails. And, of course, social media. Where did it all go wrong? The damning conclusion to SGR’s report was that the “effort looks indiscriminate at best and ineffective at worst.” Ouch.
It’s clear that the professional service industry desperately needs to undergo a marketing transformation. Whilst we can’t revolutionise your firm’s marketing overnight, we can offer these quick tips to kick start your social media and really boost your firm’s impact.
1. Quality Content
We’re starting off with a bit of a no-brainer here. Of course, it needs to be high quality. Nobody sets out to make rubbish content. To that we’d say: sure, nobody plans to make dull, unengaging stuff, but that doesn’t mean it never happens. We’ve all been there. Work piles up, the boss is demanding another ten things to be finished by the end of the day, and you just don’t have the time to think of something great. You bash out an average (but if you’re being honest with yourself, below-average) asset and call it a day, relieved that you made the deadline.
Low-quality content equals low-quality engagement. We’re constantly bombarded with content from the moment we get up to the moment we go back to sleep again. Our brains have become trained to dismiss content instantly if we don’t find it immediately interesting. With the flick of your thumb or the scroll of your mouse, it’s gone forever. News stories, blog posts, podcasts, downloadables, interviews, infographics. It all becomes white noise.
That’s why it’s so important to create content that leaves an impression. Compelling, relevant content is the key. If you look back at that chart again, you’ll see that ‘thought leadership’ is way over to the right. It’s a hugely effective way of engaging with your audience. So, why aren’t professional service firms taking advantage of it more? That’s where the value really lies for the target audience. Speaking with thought leaders, sharing their wisdom and provoking conversations is a sure-fire way to create quality content.
You don’t just have to stop there, either. Get those interviews and share them far and wide across all your channels. Take key quotes and turn them into sound bites, inspirational quote assets and expand upon them in blog posts. Whatever you do, just make sure to milk your interesting, value-filled content for all its worth.
2. Content Calendars
There’s no feeling quite as daunting as a serious case of writer’s block and a looming deadline that ticks closer with every passing moment. When your brain and your word doc are equally as blank, prospects look bleak. That’s why it’s essential to get organised with a content calendar!
If you’ve never utilised a content calendar before, your world is about to get rocked. They’re simple to use and a life-saver for any marketeer that creates content regularly. You don’t need any fancy, expensive software. Just an Excel spreadsheet (or Google Sheets) and a dream. Set it up monthly or quarterly depending on how often you’re publishing content and get started. We’d suggest dividing your calendar up into five sections: a list of the content, its objective, the channel (or channels) it’s going to be shared to, its allocated budget and the sign-off.
Granted, you still have to come up with the ideas. No software in the world could do that for you. (But if you ever find something that does, send it our way!) However, planning out content well in advance makes the whole process a lot more manageable. We’d recommend planning and creating all your content a month early to really take the pressure off. Goodbye, writer’s block! Hello, smooth and effective workflow.
3. Building Communities
This is the real hurdle when it comes to social media. Creating well-planned, interesting content is one thing. Actually getting anyone to look and engage with it is another. Fostering engagement is hugely important for professional service firms especially. When you’re engaging with your audience, it massively humanities the firm. Creating conversations, building relationships and forming a community around your content is a huge asset.
To be worth engaging with, you need to understand what your audience values. This all falls under creating quality content. Put yourself in the shoes of both potential and current clients and think to yourself: what would I want to see? What would make my day? What would leave me richer after having seen it?
For professional service firms, the absolute shining star of community building is LinkedIn.It’s a great way to jump onto and start conversations. You could comment on or share a client’s post to get the ball rolling. By building up a rapport, you also build brand awareness, credibility and loyalty. Be a part of the conversation. And, if you really want to be ambitious, start the conversation. Lead the conversation. Provide valuable feedback and insight. Make your page worth following.
4. Level Up with Automation
Who’s got the time to log into every single one of your firm’s channels and create a brand new post every other day? We’re getting a headache just thinking about it! Managing all those different social media accounts can be a laborious and monotonous task that just eats up hours and wastes the day.
The wonders of automation have taken this dull task off your to-do list! By using social media management platforms, you can schedule your posts to go up at any time. That means you can hit those essential peak hours without fail. No more human error! If you want your post to go up at 11 AM on the dot, then it will be! Maybe your target clients are overseas in different time zones. With automation, your posts will be sent out whilst you’re snugly tucked away in bed. We’d recommend some tried and true social media management software like Eclincher, Falcon.io or Hootsuite. All of them cover the big social platforms and are easy and intuitive to use.
These platforms aren’t just good for automated publishing, either. You can monitor your post’s progress/impact, conduct competitor analysis, custom reporting, integrate your RSS feed and more!
If you’re looking for more advice on how to transform your B2B social media strategy for the better, check out our ultimate guide here. Alternatively, if you’re looking for help with transforming any aspect of your digital marketing, contact us today for a free consultation.