The world of professional services is highly competitive. Making a firm – irrespective of industry and size – stand out is not just increasingly important but also challenging. You must utilize every tool and resource you have to distinguish your firm from competitors and show why businesses should hire you.
Businesses-in-need locate thought leaders at industry events, and also seek out publications they have authored and recommendations from other businesses primarily online. That’s where online branding comes into the picture. Branding is about using the right voice consistently while staying on the message you want to convey.
Deciding what kind of approach you want to follow, whether it be formal, inspirational, semi-formal, etc., stay with it. Your audience will come to expect a certain and consistent “voice” every time they come to you.
The following are the platforms on which you can get started:
1. Get active on LinkedIn
While you may not have the same amount of followers as some of the bigger influencers from your industry, LinkedIn is a great platform to position yourself as a thought leader – or at least to get started in that direction. Make sure that your profile is professional and includes consistent messaging.
Start your own group, or actively participate in groups and engage yourself in relevant discussions. Don’t forget to be professional and informative at all times. Write a blog once or twice in a month, and publish it on your public feed.
2. Build a simple web presence
A website is the first step towards having an online presence. If you don’t have one, then perhaps you should design a one-page website for free. Include podcasts, share industry updates, and publish your blogs. Encourage other accountants to contribute to your blog by writing guest posts. It builds their professional brand and helps market your site.
3. Blogging helps!
Writing a blog is not rocket science, however knowing how to promote your blog is the key. Understanding about search engine optimization can be a big plus factor. Don’t forget to share your blogs on your social media platforms.
4. Get social
LinkedIn is a great platform for promoting your content, but so are Twitter and Facebook. Also, since Google+ is a Google product the content published here gets indexed quickly. So, sharing your blog posts or updates on Google+ can be a great way to get them on top of the search results.
Once you’ve established a baseline reputation, reach out to other thought leaders in your industry – perhaps you can publish a guest post on their blog (if they have one), or they can publish one on yours. Also don’t forget to attend seminars and industry events. Meeting new people in person adds value too!