How important is social media for accountants?

Young people using social media
By Kyle McHatton, CA Today

6 January 2016

A new social media survey by Wolter Kluwers has revealed how social media is helping accountants generate new business.

The survey found that accountants are increasingly embracing social media as part of their marketing strategy.

This is particularly evident amongst accountants under 30, with 100% of those surveyed using at least one social media network. However, more accountants over 60 are getting to grips with social media, with figures rising from 45% in 2012 to over 50% this year.

In terms of gender, females continue to be more active than males with 88% of female respondents reporting using social media in their professional lives compared to 77% of males.

The survey revealed that accountants use social networking tools in different ways:

LinkedIn - The social network of choice

LinkedIn continues to be the social media platform of choice for accountants. The respondents found that LinkedIn assists in networking and reaching new clients.

LinkedIn’s popularity is demonstrated by 62% of those surveyed as  using LinkedIn in their professional lives, with most citing their LinkedIn business profile as an avenue for prospective customers to research their skills.

Top three reasons for using LinkedIn:

  • Keep in contact with their professional network (68%)
  • Joining groups and associations (52%)
  • Networking and meeting new people (38%)

Read our guide on how to making your LinkedIn profile work for you.

Twitter – Showcasing your personality

The survey revealed that many accountants see Twitter as a way to show a more human face to their practice. The platform gives accountants the opportunity to showcase their unique personalities and expert knowledge, which can help differentiate them from the competition.

One survey respondent said: “Most people have awful corporate Twitter accounts with no personality. If you show you are human and interact with people it helps provide context and empathy for them.”

Another respondent noted that Twitter lets their clients see they have ‘a life beyond accountancy’.

Twitter usage is gaining ground, with accountants boasting over 100 followers rising from 57% last year to 66% this year.

Top three reasons for using Twitter:

  • Following individual, groups and companies (62%)
  • Sharing knowledge (61%)
  • Keeping up to date with industry news (50%)

Facebook – Lacking purpose for business

The survey found that just 17% use Facebook for business purposes. While uptake of Facebook networking for business purposes remains low, the respondents who did use this social channel applied the Twitter trend of presenting a human face to their business.

One user, responding to a question on why they remain active on Facebook, said it “makes us look like a fun place to work/do business with".

Ahead of generating business, brand exposure trumps any other motivation for using Facebook, with respondents exploiting personal connections for referrals. One respondent said: “I have had people get in touch for advice after seeing I am an accountant.”

Top three reasons for using Facebook:

  • Sharing knowledge (55/%)
  • Liking individuals, groups and companies (55%)
  • Letting people know what I’m doing (53%)

Use of blogs and other networks

Accountants are also no longer consigned to the written word as YouTube, Vimeo and other video sites have opened another avenue for accountants to demonstrate their expertise.

Blogging has seen also seen a hike in usage, with 46% now using blogs, compared to 22% last year. 64% stated they write a blog to share knowledge, which respondents found translates to ‘increased credibility’ and ‘reveal the sort of person and adviser’ they are.

Share your views

Do you agree with the survey findings? Which social media channel do you currently engage with the most? Let us know by leaving a comment below.


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