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Social media for busy people

Fiona Hotston Moore, forensic accountant at Ensors, offers insolvency and business restructuring professionals a crash course in using social media to generate work

Fiona Hotston Moore
forensic accountant

Too many insolvency practitioners rely solely on networks established through traditional connections and introductions, and ignore social media.

This is unwise. However alien pitching virtually for business may seem, we live in a world where subtle digital selling of ourselves is a standard. Failure to do so is equally eloquent, and not in a flattering way.

Social media is not a fashion, but a permanent piece of the business development landscape that should not be ignored

I was a long way into my career before I took, sceptically, to LinkedIn and Twitter. But I am glad I now do spend the small amount of time required each day to keep my online presence alive. Quite simply, it brings me work.

One assumption people make, presumably after observing teenagers locked in mortal combat with their own social media activities, is that it requires a great deal of time, almost all the time.

However, after mastering the requirements and setting up a profile, it can take as little as ten minutes, three times a week, to keep a useful presence on LinkedIn, by which I mean one that is interesting to potential business leads.

Below I have several tips for LinkedIn and Twitter, which distil all that I have read, and all the presentations I have either attended or given, on the subject. In a nutshell, though: to be effective as a business development tool, social media cannot be delegated in its entirety to the marketing team.

For LinkedIn:

• Be focused. Your profile needs to reflect professional expertise, which means all areas of insolvency and finance. Do not describe yourself as ‘insolvency partner at ABC’ but rather as ‘insolvency practitioner focused on owner-managed businesses in the Midlands’.

• Get a decent head and shoulders photograph taken. Looking like a ‘usual suspect’ is not helpful.

• Ask for recommendations from clients and colleagues, and review the order of your endorsements to highlights key areas of expertise.

• Be committed. Spend two hours setting up a profile, and ten minutes three times a week sharing updates, blogging, inviting new contacts to connect with a personalised message, commenting on connections and updates, and finding new relevant people to link with.

• Be social. Join relevant groups and contribute to discussions. But be wary about setting one up – nothing looks worse than an inactive group.

• Be human. People buy people, so make sure your profile reflects your personality.

• Be patient. It takes time to build a credible online profile.

I also recommend colleagues to focus on LinkedIn before moving to other social media. But when they do, I suggest Twitter.

• Focus again. It is not number of followers, but their relevance, that matters. So, when setting up your profile, following people and tweeting, think about the areas of expertise you want to be known for.

• Be social. This is important. The rule of thumb is that a third of tweets should be ‘social’, a third personally generated material and a third ‘retweets’ of other people.

• Be tweeting little and often. Three to five a day is good, preferably over the lunch and commuting period. There are many silent stalkers on social media, so do not assume absence of direct feedback means no progress.

• Be punchy. There are only 140 characters to a tweet after all.

• Be in all places. Download the Twitter app onto your phone or tablet – it makes tweeting as a daily habit far easier.

A final thought is to consider how social media can boost areas such as recruitment, employee engagement and social responsibility goals. Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube and Google+ all have a role here.

The truth is that, whether welcome or not, big choices are increasingly made online, and that includes deciding who we do business with.


Posted on 19th December 2014 by

 

 

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