Typically, when professional services or B2B clients ask me about social media, they’re usually saying “we should have a Facebook page, and a Twitter account, and a blog and we should have pictures of the office on Instagram and you know my wife has a Pinterest and we should like people and they should like us, and…”
Well, yes. The advent of social media has changed the way that (typically consumer) businesses interact and relate to their customers, but I’m not sure that means that your architecture practice / hedge fund / wealth manager / law firm / property company should jump on the bandwagon.
Consider these three questions:
Are your clients *on* social media?
There’s a case for showcasing your firm on social media if your existing clients are there, or if it’s a good place to find new clients. So the company who made my oak kitchen do really well out of Facebook – consumers are often looking at pictures of kitchens they like, and come across my guys, and see the wares and start a relationship. Do people look for an investment manager that way? Do decision makes in corporate entities use twitter to source a new accounting firm?
Like anything, these things are not cut and dried. On balance, you need to decide how many of your likely clients will be on various social media platforms and which, if any, you should invest your time in. Twitter and LinkedIn are the most likely contenders.
How much time have you got?
This is big. You may love the idea of being on Twitter, but someone has to go online at least three or four times a week and update your twitter stream with concise, relevant content. Whoever takes on this role has to have the technical skill (easily taught), the desire, and be committed to regularity. Failing that, you need to outsource your social media content (we can talk about this, if you want). The last thing you want is a fur coat and no knickers approach (as they say up north) – it’s all set up, branded and looks fabulous, just no content. That will be worse for your brand than anything.
Do you have someone you trust and who can write?
There’s two parts to this. Firstly, you need to have someone you trust to represent your organisation and say relevant, concise things in an appealing and compelling way. Many professional services firms struggle with the idea of just letting someone write on their behalf without approval, and if this is you, then probably Twitter is not for your firm. You need to write a tight brief as to what the objectives of the Twitter stream are, then find someone you trust to get it right.
Secondly, you need to make sure you find someone who can achieve the right tone. Twitter is brief, but tone of voice and personality come across, and you want to ensure you put someone on the job who can deliver what you need.
Lastly, do remember that Twitter especially is about giving your organisation a personality – it’s the voice of your firm. So while it may feel like something that you needs to be done but you don’t want to do it, whoever does it is effectively your storefront, and possibly the first “person” that potential clients may meet.