When it comes to leveraging social platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and others, there keys are essential to success.

The first is consistency. Consistency is the common thread across many of the successful thought leaders who are leveraging social media for great profit and benefit. They stick with the same social routine week after week, and it works:

  • Every Thursday at 3 p.m. ET, you’ll find Cathy Iconis holding her #QBOChat, a TweetChat about all things QuickBooks®. This weekly chat, along with several other strategic activities, has propelled Cathy to thought leader status in the accounting industry.
  • Michelle Long’s Successful QuickBooks Consultants LinkedIn group has more than 150,000 members because she has nurtured the community, consistently, for years.
  • Renee Daggett of AdminBooks, Inc. in Morgan Hill, CA, posts her “Monday oddball deduction” every week on Facebook, showing the lighter side of tax deductions, and bringing humor and practicality together for her clients and followers.

You don’t necessarily have to carve out a unique niche like these three accountants have, but you do need to stick with a social media routine that you execute without fail, week after week. This could be as little as posting one item per day across a couple of the platforms, or as extensive as hosting your own YouTube channel and posting a video every other day.

The antithesis of consistency includes abandoned Twitter accounts, Facebook pages with two likes or a LinkedIn group that is no longer active. If you do participate in social media, go deep into a platform before you open more accounts. Develop your profile, first, and then connect with friends or followers. Write your content and post it consistently.

Consistency means not giving up if no one shows up the first few weeks. On the first free webinar I did, there were only six people. Everyone starts somewhere, and it’s often from scratch. It takes time for people to warm up and start engaging with you, especially if they don’t know you. Being consistent is a tremendous trust builder. Over time, your audience and following will grow and start paying off.

The second key is to develop your goals. Ask yourself why you’re spending time and money on social media; if your response is something like, “because everyone else is doing it,” that’s just not good enough. Solid goals could include:

  • Staying top of mind with clients – that means you need to connect with them, first.
  • Getting new clients – offer them something free to start the relationship with value.
  • Improving your search engine optimization – consider creating your own videos.
  • Building trust.
  • Developing your thought leadership.

Next, ask yourself what it’s worth if social media accomplishes these things for you and your business, and decide on your budget and time investment.

The third key is automation. Apps, such as HootSuite, allow you to schedule posts weeks and months in advance so that you’re not logging into three platforms every two hours. You can “batch” the creation of your content to save a huge amount of time and money.

For example, team member, Marjory, writes all of our social media (yep – it’s not me). I approve it and she schedules it in HootSuite. I still log in at least every other day for 10 to 15 minutes to interact and engage with people, but most of the content is automated so that we can keep costs affordable while still having a presence.

Leveraging social platforms in your accounting business means consistently showing up and sticking with a plan that achieves the goals you’ve set, and doing it through automation and systematization that keeps costs down. With these three keys – consistency, goals and automation – you’re sure to profit from social media.

Editor’s Note: Connect with Sandi through YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

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