This is a guest post from Belinda Darley, director of ABC Accounting Services in Gainsborough. Belinda also runs a very successful dance and fitness studio – simply called The Studio. I have no idea how she finds the time and energy! I first noticed ABC Accounting because of their social media activities – the company has built a strong presence on various social networks, and they engage regularly with their followers. More recently, The Studio has been highly visible on Facebook, generating lots of interest and bookings for the new classes that have recently been launched. Both businesses are a great example of innovative and engaging use of social media. Over to Belinda….
When I started ABC Accounting Services, Facebook wasn’t even around – I used a postal campaign to get it off the ground. I am pretty sure when Facebook did appear on the horizon I was one of the first to sign up and get my profile out there. It was novel and somewhat confusing in the early days – but it felt as though it grew and evolved into something gigantic overnight.
These days I hear a social media ping every five minutes – it is almost like background music. To suggest that for me it has been a success story would be a massive understatement. The majority of The Studio clientele stays informed and gets in touch with me via Facebook. The contacts I have on LinkedIn – and potential clients that have checked out our ethos and following on there as well – it’s huge.
Social media broke down the boundaries between people and business and got rid of that nasty corporate barrier that said every accountant was a suit with no sense of humour. A lot of my success is down to the profiles I built on Facebook that showed clients and customers what they were really getting. I could be honest, bold, and above all else – fun! Yes, you have to remain professional and remember that you are always representing your livelihood – but you can also be human.
That is what resonates with the people that see us on Facebook and on LinkedIn and Twitter to some extent. It shows the world the human element behind the service we offer so they can get to know you and the people who support/believe in you also, before they even walk through your office door.
Shell, one of my managers at ABC, was passionate about social media and that shows in the posts we put out there every day. She started picking up clients on a weekly basis just by telling people what we were up to in the office and keeping them up-to-date with tax advice and accounting tips. At the end of the day it was free marketing – taking about 30 minutes out of each of our days. I focused on The Studio while Shell took up the reigns for ABC.
Prospective clients would inbox us questions and we were able to give them instant aid – then when they found themselves in need of an accountant we were top of their list. I would post places when they become available in step and dance classes – sometimes due to cancellations an hour before – and they would be filled. It is the immediacy of social media that makes it effective.
That and the fact that it feels a little wrong. When you are sat on a social media site it doesn’t really feel like work so it’s like taking mini breaks throughout the day. I have to say that The Studio Facebook at this moment in time is almost a full time job in itself. I have now scheduled in chunks of time to deal with requests, answer questions and keep adding fresh info to the page. Social media is not slowing down and I cannot envisage a day that it ever will.
Modern businesses have to make time for social media or they will be missing out on a huge part of their prospective market. All I would say is we continue to pick up clients, it only costs you your time and you have a platform to showcase what you are capable of and why people should invest in your service or product. I am proud of our social media presence because it makes us transparent and it is always nice to know that people like what they see!
Remember to visit ABC Accounting and The Studio on the web, follow them on social media too – you’ll have a great experience. Both are great examples of social media for business used to full advantage.
Final note – I recently did a Google Plus training session with Shell and she’s now doing a great job of building a strong presence there for herself and ABC Accounting.[hr]
I enjoy working with businesses to achieve more from online marketing and I’d love to hear from you – get in touch now on 01777 249075, email me or take a look at the training and management services I offer