For a highly regulated bunch, CPA firms have made some surprisingly promising investments in social media. The Big 4 and national firms, have expectantly starting to connect the dots but regional firms, particularly in the Southeast, have some notable wins. Heck, even the Financial Accounting Standards Board is on Twitter. If you are an accounting firm and social media strategies are not part of your 2011 communications plan – time to think again.

Here are the assets on the current CPA firm social media balance sheet.

  1. People Care what you have to say. Your people are experts. Some firms have figured out how to turn them into brand ambassadors, otherwise known as thought leaders.  If you have not tapped these people yet; look to industry leaders, people who speak often or the folks who always come up with ideas and content in brainstorming sessions.  If you have good thought leaders, the social media realm is your oyster – get them out there.
  2. You have good content – use it. Content is still king and you have it. Even if it is the form of (small sigh) white papers. You can do a lot with a good white paper: break it into several blog posts; video the main spokesperson doing a two minute segment on the top three takeaways from the research and put it on the website; push it out via 20 tweets; put it into PPT slides and get it up on SlideShare, write a pitch to support media relations activities etc. etc. etc.
  3. People want to be you. Accountants topped both Forbes’ Top 10 Best Jobs for 2010 and US News & World Report’s America’s Best Business & Finance Careers in 2010. Most CPA firms are using social media tools like FaceBook to recruit. Other options: “day in the life” videos; blogs by junior staff about their first months at the firm; video diaries from firm heads about their career journey.

In order to be successful at social media, accounting firms must have a strategy that aligns with their overall business and marketing goals. Once that strategy is in place they need to build outposts that make sense and engage with them.

Next week: liabilities on the current CPA social media balance sheet.

What other assets are on your balance sheet for 2011?

Photo by pearlbear

To reach Cortney:

Phone: 212.840.1661
Twitter: @cortneyr
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