LinkedIn Marketing 101 for CPAs
With over one billion users across 200 countries, LinkedIn dominates the B2B social networking market. It’s valuable in a number of ways: to job-seekers, entrepreneurs, recruiters, and business professionals who want to connect with like-minded people. For CPAs and accounting firms, LinkedIn can help you deepen industry relationships and keep communication open with your network – leading to new clients and more opportunities down the road.
LinkedIn has staying power, too. It predates Facebook, having launched in 2003, and unlike some of these older platforms it’s showing no signs of slowing down. How can you harness the power of this platform to benefit your accounting business? Here are our tips for getting started with LinkedIn marketing for CPAs.
Start with your profile.
The fastest path to better engagement and new opportunities on LinkedIn is to begin with your profile. The LinkedIn algorithm works similarly to Google, meaning it still relies on keywords to connect searchers to the people and content they’re looking for. Consider your goals for your business. If you’re in search of more investment clients, for example, ensure you’re including terms like “investment accountant” and “financial advisor” within your profile.
Make your profile as near to 100 percent “complete” as you can – meaning all of the main sections have content (summary, profile picture, work experience, education, and skills). Customize your profile link from generic numbers to your name for a professional touch. There are a wealth of additional sections you can include to showcase your unique expertise, like publications, media, services, and featured posts, too. And if you don’t have a recent, professional headshot, now is the time. Just having a profile picture, according to LinkedIn’s research, makes your profile 14 times more likely to be viewed.
Show your personality.
There used to be a tendency to keep every LinkedIn interaction strictly professional due to the nature of the platform, but times have changed. Users who see the most engagement on LinkedIn often share relevant posts about topics beyond work and include a dose of personality in their profiles.
When you do share anecdotes or personal details, consider how you might keep consistent by tying it back to the work you do. For example, if you recently procured a large tax credit for a client who doesn’t mind sharing their story, consider writing up a case study about how you helped them. Are you involved in charitable causes, or do you have an interesting backstory or mission? Tell your stories to help differentiate you from other CPAs.
Post consistent content.
The LinkedIn algorithm favors consistency over quantity, so pick a schedule you can stick to and publish regular content on that schedule. If you’re too busy to post consistently, select a representative at your firm to post on your behalf. Some ideas for content to get you started:
- Share your firm’s thought leadership content to drive traffic back to your website, where you can convert site visitors into email subscribers or leads.
- Share job openings at your firm to highlight company culture.
- “Slice of life” posts to give people an idea what your firm is about.
- Mission and vision statements for your business.
Make meaningful connections.
Use the advanced search filters to make new connections with the kinds of people you’d like to have in your network. A small, curated network is often more valuable than a broad one. Keep intent and purpose at the heart of every connection and conversation. Some types of connections to consider:
- Potential clients and referral partners
- Local businesses
- Businesses you’d want to partner with or learn from
- Current colleagues
- Potential colleagues (for recruiting)
- People who have viewed your profile or content, but who aren’t connections yet
Be thoughtful in DMs.
Should you send cold messages to new connections? How soon is too soon to drop a DM? These are hot topics in the world of LinkedIn marketing, so use your intuition and consider each scenario on its own. If you’re introducing yourself through a direct message, keep it concise and include a clear “ask” or open-ended question to start a dialogue.
For example, here’s an introduction that may be too ambiguous to start a meaningful conversation: “Hi, my name is Rick, I’m a CPA in your area and thought it would be good to connect.”
However, with a couple of minor changes, this may garner better results: “Hi, my name is Rick, I’m a CPA in your area. How long have you been doing business here?”
There are lots of ways to get involved in communities on LinkedIn. One way is to join LinkedIn groups related to your areas of expertise and interest. Another is to include relevant hashtags on your own posts to make your content searchable to a wider audience. On the flip side, you can search using specific hashtags to find content that’s interesting to you, as well.
Comment and share posts.
While it’s important to optimize your own posts and profile, you’ll get the most traction out of LinkedIn when you venture beyond your content and engage with others.
One great place to start conversations is in direct response to your connections’ posts and articles. Choose one or two connections you’d like to know better and take 5-10 minutes to write an insightful response to their original content. Consider sharing your connections’ posts when appropriate, as well. It’s good LinkedIn etiquette to pass along opportunities, share ideas, and make connections between others just as you would at an in-person networking event.
Finally, keep a giving spirit at the heart of your LinkedIn strategy. A little self-promotion is fine, but the best relationships flow both ways. If you approach each new and old connection with an attitude of reciprocity, you’ll build a healthy network that will sustain your business now and into the future.
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