Based on an abbreviated audit of the top 25 national firms and top 5 firms in each region (according to Accounting Today) we determined that there are some liabilities on their social media balance sheets.  Firms have assets as well (as noted in our previous post,) but in order to have more assets than liabilities (always good) a few items will have to be addressed:

  1. Do an audit. As CPA firms, you are all familiar with the audit process, now apply it to your social media marketing strategy. Doing a social media audit (my colleague Elizabeth Sosnow has an excellent roadmap) will help inform your approach. Make sure your strategy is in place, and both firm leadership and your legal department are aware of your intent, before you act.
  2. Don’t neglect your home base. Most accounting firms are dabbling in social media, but very few are connecting it back to their website. If you have an outpost, showcase it on the most relevant page of your website and vice versa. Think about the topics you are highlighting via your social media outposts; make sure you have new and deeper content on those topics available on your website.  There is a world of social media tools at your disposal, but if you aren’t connecting them back to your home base on the web, you are missing an opportunity.
  3. If you build it they will not just come. Just having outposts is not enough. I applaud the accounting firms who have blogs; but you need to give to receive. Spread your expertise around. Share content on other’s blogs (WebCPA has a few, SmartBrief offers one, and there are tons that are industry specific) ask them questions, start dialogues, start LinkedIn groups. Activate a community; it is not enough to just be present. And all the firms with five pages of Twitter handles: tighten it up! Go back to your strategy, then do a few things well that support it.
  4. Have a call to action. If your social media strategy does not end with calls to action it’s flawed. Ask the question: “what do you want your potential audience to do?” once they find your blog or your presence on the Big 3: FaceBook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

The takeaway: accounting firms have a tremendous opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills to the social media landscape, thus leapfrogging competitors.

What liabilities and assets do you think accounting firms should put on their balance sheets for 2011? Share here!

To reach Cortney:

Phone: 212.840.1661
Twitter: @cortneyr
LinkedIn: Cortney Rhoads Stapleton