Social Media Strategy for Professional Services Firms
For small- and medium-size professional service firms with inevitably limited marketing budgets, social media can feel like taking a stab in the dark. Where to start? What channels will reach my audiences? Who has the time? Is it necessary? As a result, these firms often find themselves implementing a partial (at best) social media strategy. Sticking their toe in the water, so to speak. That won’t work … you are better off not spending time and money on it at all.
When contemplating the launch of a social media initiative, here are some ideas. Be fully dedicated to the strategy, start with plenty of content, and know when to streamline your focus.
1. Do it or don’t
Address and implement your social media initiatives in full force or not at all. This may sound precipitous, but it is the best approach form a time and money standpoint. Facebook pages filled with unanswered comments and Twitter feeds that have been inactive for three months during your busy season will be quickly dismissed. And people won’t come back—who has the time? Not with a million new Twitter accounts being launched daily. If you don’t have the time or resources, it’s best to start your initiative at a later date when you can give it attention.
If you’re ready to launch, today is a good a day as any. Read up on what’s current in your industry and relate it back to your social media strategy. Post relevant articles on LinkedIn, retweet updates from your clients on Twitter, and post pictures on Facebook of your staff collaborating on a project. As long as you’re posting useful, relevant updates, the online community will take notice. Dedicate one staff member to monitoring/updating your different company profiles. Your social media strategy should be forethought, not an afterthought.
2. Have content ready before you launch
As a general rule, have 3-4 blog posts completed before you take your blog page live. That way when people visit for the first time, they will have a sense of the kind of content you will be offering. Create a social media calendar that notes which days you are posting which content. If you plan to blog once a week, post updates once a day, and interact with LinkedIn groups twice a week, write it down and share with the team. Write a month’s worth of tweets and updates before you launch and identify the LinkedIn groups you want to target. Link your Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook accounts so you only have to post one place to populate all three (if you are indeed activating all three … see my next point). Having all the workings in order first, will make for a much smoother jumping off point.
3. Don’t spread yourself thin
It’s a fact, some (dare say nearly all) professionals simply don’t have the time to manage a full-fledged social media strategy, but would like to have at least a small presence in the grand social media spectrum. In that case, narrow your focus to one outlet. Create a stellar LinkedIn business profile and remain in contact with as many connections as you can keep up with. Post updates regularly (a couple times a week) and comment and post discussion topics on relevant groups. Recognize what you can manage and what you can’t and go from there. It’s much better to have one social media page you take excellent care of rather than four you can’t keep up with on any regular schedule.
Social media isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, so what you may not have time for now, will be available for you when you are.
Lisa Tilt is Founder and President of Full Tilt Consulting (www.FullTiltConsulting.com), a national brand development and strategy firm. Contact her at lisa(at)fulltiltconsulting(dot)com.
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