Social media should be an integral part of any small business’s marketing strategy. Whether you’re an avid social media user or you haven’t posted on Facebook in months, learning to use social media as an effective marketing tool takes time and effort, but is a cost-efficient marketing tool.
The Importance of Social Media for Tax Prep Businesses
Tax preparers, in particular, often feel lost in creating a social media strategy, fearing that tax-related posts won’t generate engagement or followers. In reality, social media is an important tool in adding personality and authority to your company and brand.
An effective social media presence will help you generate leads, establish yourself as a tax expert, and build rapport with your targeted clients.
Tax preparation is an inherently social business. Some potential clients consider personality just as much as expertise when choosing a tax preparer. You can use social media to present yourself as both knowledgeable and personable to potential clients.
Engagement and Brand Loyalty
Because tax preparation is usually a seasonal business, you may go months without communicating with your clients. Social media allows you to engage with your clients regularly and keeps you top-of-mind, making previous clients more likely to return year over year.
Word of Mouth
Social media helps you increase word of mouth referrals. Each time a follower engages with one of your posts, your business is exposed to a new pool of taxpayers.
Choosing Your Platforms
You don’t necessarily need an account on every social media platform. But if your business only has a Facebook account, you’re missing out on leads and potential clients that you could encounter on other platforms.
The platforms you use should depend on the demographics of your targeted clients. A Facebook page, for example, makes sense for every small business, while an Instagram account is most useful for businesses that target younger, more visually-focused consumers.
If you want to prepare taxes for a living, a LinkedIn account is a must. Seventy-nine percent of B2B marketers find LinkedIn helpful for generating B2B leads. Even if you work primarily with individuals, a LinkedIn page is a great way to showcase your experience to potential clients if they search for you.
Facebook is by far the most used social media site with over 2 billion active users. No matter who your ideal client is, your business needs an active Facebook page as part of your social media strategy.
If you have a Facebook, creating an Instagram account is a logical next step in your social media strategy. Facebook owns Instagram, making it easy to set up and link your accounts. At first glance, you may think that an Instagram account doesn’t make sense for a tax preparation business. Share simple graphics noting important dates like Tax Day, tips and tricks, discounts, and more. With over 1 billion users, Instagram is the second most popular social media channel, making it a common-sense choice for your business.
Though it has fewer active users than Facebook or Instagram, Twitter is still an effective, popular platform. Plus, you can sync your Instagram and Facebook to your Twitter account, making your tweets automatic and effortless.
Creating a Social Media Calendar
Social media only helps your business if you post regularly and engage followers, but it’s difficult to come up with fresh ideas every day. Set aside time to plan out a social media calendar with posts every week or month.
What to Post
Many tax preparers struggle to come up with regular ideas for their social media posts. They fear coming across as boring or salesy if all of their posts are tax-related or coming across as unprofessional if their posts are too personal.
Here are some ideas to keep your pages updated with fresh, useful, and engaging content.
- Giveaways are a great way to engage and gain followers. When you have participants enter to win by liking, sharing, and tagging friends in posts, you’ll appear in the notifications and newsfeeds of new potential clients.
- Topics of local interest
- Most tax preparers work with local clients. Show that you’re an active member of your community by posting about local news and events.
- Q&A sessions are a chance to prove your expertise, engage users, and offer value to potential clients. If you don’t have enough followers to generate questions in real-time, you can do a series of posts on your most frequently asked questions like “What is an enrolled agent?” or “Should I claim the standard deduction?”
- Promotional material
- Too many promotional posts will make your social media account appear self-serving and spammy. That being said, promotional posts do have their place. Client testimonials, descriptions of your services, or deals and specials are examples of strong promotional posts. Just make sure they are balanced out with plenty of other non-promotional posts.
- Because they only require a single click, polls help encourage engagement. Aim for questions that are relevant to your business and to your clients’ lives and interests.
- Pictures with text
- Text images are frequently shared and work well across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Some relevant ideas include surprising facts about taxes or personal finance or inspiring quotes about productivity, business, and building wealth.
- Semi-personal posts and photos
- Of course, you’ll want to save ultra-personal content for your private pages, but it’s good to remind your followers that there’s a real person behind your business occasionally. As long as you stay professional, a selfie at the office can help humanize your business.
How Often to Post
Your posting frequency should vary by channel and by season. Post more often on Facebook and Twitter than LinkedIn or Instagram. For example, you can post more than once per day on Facebook and Twitter when your engagement is high. LinkedIn and Instagram can take more effort, and also require only a few posts per week during your busy season.
Post every day or every other day in tax season. More than one or two posts a day can begin to feel like spam, but fewer can keep you from showing up in your followers’ news feeds.
In the offseason, consider posting once per week or a few times per month. The goal here is to be consistent with your posting schedule, but it is normal to see a dip in traffic and post volume after tax season.
Using Scheduling Tools
Once you’ve planned out your content for the week or month, you can use online tools to schedule and automatically post your content. Prices for these services vary greatly, but some like Hootsuite, Buffer, and Sendible offer free or low-cost plans.
Some of these tools can also help you manage your notifications, allowing you to easily respond to all of your accounts’ comments in one place.
What to Expect Starting Out
Engaging a social media strategy doesn’t yield instant results. It’s a long-term game, so don’t be surprised or frustrated if you don’t get a lot of engagement or followers in your first several months. Let it build.
However, if you keep up with regular, high-quality posts your social media accounts will eventually do their jobs of generating leads and increasing awareness of your business. Always stay professional and courteous, post the kinds of things you like to see in your own feed, and stay persistent. You’ll be glad you did when your efforts start to pay off.