Why Employees of Professional Services Firms Should Use Social Media
Remember the olden days of finding clients for your firm?
You’d arrange a meeting – perhaps at a networking event or a golf outing. Then, you’d slowly cultivate a personal relationship until the person became a client.
The paradigm looked something like this:
But now that more and more clients are doing research online, the paradigm has changed. A potential client confronts an issue, searches for a way to fix its problem online, forms an affinity towards the person who provides a good solution to the problem, and then chooses a firm to hire.
The new paradigm looks like this:
In this new era of professional services, having your employees on social media helps your business. Let’s take a look at why.
Why Your Employees?
It’s tempting to rely solely on corporate social accounts, but in your industry, your employees are your most valuable resource.
Think about it.
Your clients choose your firm because of your employees’ expertise. If your clients like and trust your team, you will have ample opportunities for upselling, cross-selling, and project expansions.
Given your employees’ central role to your revenue, it’s critical that your clients get to know your team before a project starts, and it’s even more critical that your employees maintain those relationships after a project finishes.
How can they do that? Below, we’ll look at four ways that social media can help your professional services firm.
1. Demonstrate Thought Leadership
Take a few moments to think about what contributes to your company’s success.
Most likely, your list includes some of these items:
- Long-term relationships that are built on trust
- External reputation
- Intellectual leadership and integrity
If you’re not using social media to build your firm’s reputation and to establish intellectual leadership, you’re missing out. 84% of C-level and VP executives use social media during their buying process.
In other words, your future clients are researching your firm on social media. They’re using sites like Twitter and LinkedIn to assess your company’s trustworthiness and knowledge.
To demonstrate your company’s expertise, you can have your employees share different types of content on sites like Twitter and LinkedIn. Have them share your company’s latest reports, circulate press releases, and post articles that will stimulate debate around topics of interest to your clients.
Need more guidance? Check out this blog that helps you find the right content mix.
2. Win New Business
In the world of professional services, a big chunk of your time is spent writing project proposals. It seems like you’re always trying to win new business.
Social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn can help you bring in revenue because they enable you to…
- Stay in touch with existing clients
- Identify new opportunities and prospects
- Grab the attention of your prospective clients
- Educate and add value to your prospective clients
Number 4 is important. 74% of buyers select the vendor whose employees first add value during the buying process.
If your employees are simply pitching project proposals to clients – without educating them on social, without inspiring them on social, and without delighting them on social – you’re leaving revenue on the table.
Want to learn more about selling on social media? Read Social Selling 101.
Among accounting firms, financial services firms, and law firms, the competition for talent is fierce. The top job candidates are trying to choose between several companies, and you need to find ways to differentiate yourself from your competitors.
By empowering your employees on social media, you’re able to show off your company’s culture, and job candidates get an idea of who their future coworkers will be.
Furthermore, using social media can help you save money. In 2012, Allianz, Bertelsmann, Henkel and McKinsey used social media to recruit interns. In so doing, they lowered their cost per contact by 27% and increased reach by 20%.
To truly serve your clients, your employees need to stay on top of the latest trends. Not only does this mean talking to people within your company; it also means talking to people outside your company.
A recent MIT study suggests that employees with a diverse network on Twitter tend to generate better ideas because Twitter enables employees to be exposed to people who have unfamiliar and new ideas.
On top of that, McKinsey has found that social media use can raise productivity of knowledge workers by 20 to 25 percent.
Take a few minutes to think about your last three clients. Write down the names of the people involved with your project. Then, hop over to LinkedIn or Twitter to see if your clients’ employees have profiles.
My guess is that you’ll find several of your recent contacts on social media. Are your employees in contact with them, cultivating those relationships? They should be.
If you’d like help getting your employees on social media, we’d love to help. Feel free to contact us any time, and we’ll speak about your specific needs.