Why it’s Time for Professional Services Firms to Befriend Social Media
In an era of constantly evolving social media platforms, professional services firms can no longer afford to operate only as businesses. They must also operate as brands. At Schneider Associates, we think differently about the best ways to help our clients achieve their business goals. We believe that each of our clients, from fashion retailers to commercial real estate firms, should have a seat at the social media table. It’s understandable that professional services companies are hesitant about jumping on the social media bandwagon. After all, social media is more often associated with consumer products than professional services. But social media can be used to achieve tangible business goals.
With more than 1 billion people on Facebook and more than 500 million Twitter users, the potential reach of social media is too big to ignore. To appeal to this broad audience, companies need to have a wide variety of communication channels that they can use. Our new product launch research has shown that launch consumers need as many as seven sources of information, or brand touch points, before making a purchasing decision. In other words, they will not remember the product until they have heard about it at least seven times. This can apply to professional services firms, too. Social media provides firms with the extra channels to shape and share key messages. It’s creating a “surround sound experience” for key stakeholders, sharing a message multiple times on multiple platforms.
Social media also helps individual members of firms to stand out by allowing them to position themselves as thought leaders. Employees who cultivate their own social media presence by frequently posting about topics relevant to their business can enhance their own reputation and the reputation of the firm.
Having employees who are active on social media also helps followers put faces to the company’s names, creating stronger relationships by allowing followers to engage with individuals, not just the brand. Launching a social media presence helps companies to build a business that is based on relationships, not just profits. Relationships can stand the test of time, and they can help professional services organizations stand the test of time, too.
In addition to its ability to foster relationships, social media is also a valuable tool for online lead generation. It drives traffic to your company’s website, traffic that competitors without social media will not receive. It increases your company’s visibility, and a unique, well-planned social media approach sets you apart from the crowd. In a crowded digital marketplace, standing out is a good thing. Social media has helped our professional services clients let their voices be heard, even when so many other companies are talking at once.
Although we could go on giving more reasons why professional services companies should use social media, we know that we will still get asked the same questions: “Do we really need to use it? Will it really help us?” Our answer is, and will remain, a firm “yes.” It’s time for professional services firms to launch themselves into 2013.
By Cassidy Lawson, Account Executive on the Corporate, Non-Profit and Education team