Small Business

Social Media For Professional Services Firms

Tweet, Snap and Gram your way to business success.

Don’t Act Like a Teenager

Do you or someone you know have a teenager in the house? Do you remember your teenage years? Have you ever noticed that teenagers talk incessantly about what they’re doing, what they want to do, what their friends are doing, and what they’re thinking?  Sort of like a play-by-play of their life. Teenagers are at that self-centered point in their lives where they think that the world revolves around them and that whatever they’re doing, right now, is the most important thing in the world and everyone is keenly interested in them, and following their every move.

When you integrate social media into your marketing mix (and you should have by now) please don’t become a teenager all over again. Social media is very powerful and can really help build those relationships with your prospects and clients. But, it also has the possibility to become intrusive, annoying, and damaging to your brand. Your clients and prospects don’t want to hear about your every step. They want to hear about things that are of interest to them, they want to connect with you and learn about your firm and your expertise. In turn, you want them to seek you out for more knowledge and expertise. You want your social media to build a relationship and start a conversation with your clients and prospects.

Put Substance in Your Post

Tweets, LinkedIn posts, and Facebook updates (you can throw in Snapchat and Instagram, too) should be something of substance, something relevant. Perhaps it’s the creation of a new whitepaper or an update on new legislation. Maybe it’s something that is relevant to their industry. Either way it needs to be something that they would want to know and learn more about. No one wants a tweet from you or your firm about what you had for lunch, what time you’re getting off work, or if you’re picking up bagels on the way to the office. No, I’m not kidding.

You see, when you do those types of updates it’s just like being a teenager. You need to realize that your clients and prospective clients don’t really hang on your every word or move. Like you, they are busy people who don’t necessarily want a play-by-play account of your activities. Really, their days are busy just like yours. They’re being bombarded with marketing messages from all angles just like you. Chances are they are also getting updates from other service providers or vendors. To cut through that clutter you need to stand out and provide them something of value. It’s no different from an email or direct mail piece. If it doesn’t stand out or speak to a need it won’t get read.

Create an Editorial Calendar

So, how do you make sure your tweets and updates are relevant? I suggest creating an “editorial calendar” of topics that you are going to talk about. It’s no different from a good communications/public relations calendar. Do your research on pertinent topics. Lay out the schedule and follow it. It doesn’t matter what format you use, you just need to have a plan and a strategy.

For an accounting firm, you may want to speak about tax updates in December and January, or college savings strategies in April and May. Perhaps it’s announcing new seminars or webinars each month or the newest whitepaper on a pertinent topic? For a financial advisory firm, you might want to talk quarterly about key economic information and how it might affect your clients and their investments. The key is, whatever you do with social media needs to tie in to your regular marketing calendar and sync up with those activities.

There will be times when something unexpected pops up that you’ll definitely want to update your followers about. That’s fine, more than fine. If you haven’t inundated your clients and prospects with too many updates prior to that it will most likely be a welcomed update.


Social media is a great tool for firms. It can help build powerful connections and communities with your clients and prospects. However, you need to make sure that you don’t fall into the trap of the teenager. Trust me, it’s not a pretty sight.

Photo Credit: <a href=''>rawpixel / 123RF Stock Photo

Tim Allen is an experienced professional services marketing professional with broad experience in strategy creation, branding and business development. Mr. Allen has held top marketing positions in both large, national CPA firms as well as smaller, regional firms where he has been instrumental in creating and implementing a firm-wide marketing culture. He has written and presented extensively on the intricacies of services marketing and is currently writing his first book on the transition from college to career and creating your personal brand for the millennial generation.

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