One of the number one things your current and future clients look for is professional services marketers’ presence on social media. If you haven’t noticed, we are in the digital age. Traveling to see all your clients, in-person client meetings and golf game tee-times to discuss a new proposal with a potential new client are things of the past.
Now, most meetings for professional services firms and their clients are virtual via platforms like Google Hangout or GoToMeeting. With that being said, the need for you and your firm to be active on social media is essential. The best way for clients to learn more about you is through your social media profiles or an About page on your website.
I notice that a lot of clients that come to Hinge don’t have Twitter or LinkedIn pages and turn to us for help. Then once they get the hang of it, the next question is: how do they differentiate their personal and professional pages – and should they have both? As I have been thinking through this topic, I looked into what others are saying on the web about best practices.
‘Surely, no one wants to know what I’m doing on the weekend.’ Actually, they do. They really do. You’ve probably heard the saying that “people don’t hire companies, they hire people.” Our friend Jay Baer from Convince and Convert shared his perspective in his blog post How to Balance Your Personal and Professional Lives in Social Media. Jay writes, “The fundamental truth is that your personal life is almost undoubtedly more interesting than your business life. Period. And, associating some sort of noteworthy character trait to your personal brand makes you more memorable in social media.” I couldn’t agree more with what Jay mentions here.
Here are a few key etiquette tips for personal vs. professional social media use:
LinkedIn is mostly strictly for business professionals, recruiting, business development and sharing great insights in your markets or client’s markets. What trends are you seeing with your clients? What are the key problems other professional services firms are encountering today?
LinkedIn profile picture – get one. We can’t emphasize this enough. The ratio of having a photo to no photo contributes to how many more people will click on your profile. Plain and simple. If there is no photo, but just your name and a half-empty profile, you will not have many visitors. If that’s the case, what is the point of your profile page anyway?
We hear often that many professional services folks hate pictures of themselves. To be blunt, deal with it. If a small picture of yourself can help land your firm a $30,000 account, does that sound so bad?
Once you set up and nail down the company page on Twitter, get your employees to get their own personal handles. With the personal handles, they can keep it professional and share your content and company insights, but be a bit more casual. You want your clients to get to know the real you and your employees they deal with daily, so sharing photos of your day to day life or starting conversations about your favorite sports team is another way to build your personal brand to your clients. Overall, it can be a cross of business and personal.
Facebook is a toss-up. Most companies have a Facebook page where they share jokes and photos from their firm to show their company culture to their clients and potential hires.
Personally, beyond the company page, I keep my own personal Facebook page to share more personal photos and stories with my close circle of friends and family.
No matter which platform you are posting on, always use your best judgment. If you post something that you question the next day, I would recommend having a very private personal page for these instances or just don’t do it at all.
I stretched this point a bit on my own and realized I need to lock it. I am 27, a young professional and have a lot of ahead of me in my career. If you are posting something that could disappoint your mom or make a coworker/peer/future employer judge the heck out of it, then it is probably not useful on your closed circle social media account – and an especially poor idea to post on your professional accounts.
Take some time and go back into your pages and delete all those old pieces of your fun, young past life. You will thank me later. If you really feel a need to recycle one back up, make it at least a somewhat tasteful one for a good ole #tbt (throw back Thursday).
Professional services marketing is all about online networking. It's in your best interest to take the time to update and create these social pages for both you as an individual and for your firm. You never know what potential partner or client could be just a click away.
For more information on how to develop a sucessful social media campaign, check out our free Social Media Guide for Professional Services.