How Professional Service Firms Can Get Started in Social Media

by Loraine Kasprzak, CMC

Does your professional service firm want to become a thought leader for your target clients? Using social 
media can help you get there.

Here’s a simple framework for fitting social media into your firm’s marketing plan. Think of three interactive segments that build on each other to benefit your practice: tried and true tactics, conscious outreach, and cutting edge tactics. With this framework in mind, you can choose the tactics from each segment that fit your firm’s culture, level of marketing expertise, and target market.

Tried and true tactics. These are the marketing tactics that most professionals already have in place and feel most comfortable using. They include email signatures, business cards, elevator speeches, and your firm’s website and brochure. Tried and true tactics can be used to call attention to your firm’s social media presence.
 
Conscious outreach. These take a bit more time and effort on the part of the individuals in your firm. They include attending and speaking at association and industry meetings, getting client testimonials, meeting one-on-one with prospective referral sources, and issuing periodic press releases about your firm’s activities. These efforts provide content that you can leverage via social media marketing.

Cutting edge tactics. Tactics such as blogging, tweeting, webinars, and podcasts may not be used by your firm and may not be in your comfort zone – yet. LinkedIn, Twitter and blogs are the three social networking tools that are commonly used by professional service providers to engage their target audiences. These are a good starting point for your firm. 

Quick Start Tips
You can waste quite a lot of time learning the social media basics. These tips will get you off to a quick start:

LinkedIn
  • Set up your LinkedIn profile by following the on-screen directions. Upload your photo – this adds credibility to your online presence.
  • Click on the Contacts tab and add connections from among your business colleagues, acquaintances, etc.
  • Comment on your connections’ activities.
  • Join and participate in LinkedIn Groups – your goal here is to provide thoughtful commentary NOT to push your services.
Twitter
  • Set up your Twitter account and don’t forget to upload your photo.
  • Use Twitter’s Find People capability to find others to follow. If you follow others, they will usually follow you back.
  • Not familiar with Twitter terminology? This Twitter terminology post will get you started.
  • A good rule of thumb is five retweets – which is reposting someone else’s informative tweet – for every one tweet of your own.
 Blogs
  • Search AllTop.com, a curated list of blogs, for the topics that are relevant to your profession.
  • Pick five of the blogs that seem most relevant to you, and follow these. You can set up a Google Reader account to keep track of your selected blogs all in one place.
  • As you follow blogs, comment on posts to add insight and relevant information. As with the LinkedIn Groups, you aren’t commenting to push your services but to interact and get known in the community.
  • When you become more comfortable in the blogosphere, set up your own blog. WordPress is a good choice. It offers online tutorials, is easy to use and has decent tracking capabilities.
Pressed for time? Advantage Marketing consultants can help you integrate social media into your marketing plan and create valuable content to share. Loraine Kasprzak, Founder and Managing Director of Advantage Marketing Consulting Services, is a Certified Management Consultant (CMC) and MBA with over 17 years of hands-on experience in marketing communications and strategy. One of Loraine’s strengths is her ability to help her clients clarify their thinking so that they can focus and fine-tune their message for the marketplace. She blogs about marketing and social media at www.advantage-marketingblog.com and can be reached at lkasprzak@advantage-marketing.com.

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