How to Encourage Referrals on Social Media

Matt Shelly
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Word-of-mouth referrals have always been coveted by businesses; with the popularity of online networking websites, it's easier than ever for your customers to spread the word about your business. When people use and like a product, they naturally want to share their excitement with their friends and family. Alternatively, people also want to warn others not to purchase products they dislike. Unfortunately, as an accountant, you don't have a physical product for customers to review, so it can be difficult to obtain a lot of online referrals. However, it's not impossible; by using a few simple strategies, you can gain new clients by encouraging social media referrals from your clients.

As an accountant, all of your social media promotions need to be well thought out and centered on building trust. It's more difficult to build trust online than it is in person, but it can be done. To establish relationships online, you need to become an online guru in the accounting field. You can use promotional tools, like free webinar services and blogs, to share financial knowledge and tips with others. As long as you're consistent in posting useful information or videos on your blog, and you have a strategy to promote your blog online, you should be able to gain an online following. Once you begin to gain a small following, consider hosting free online webinars on topics like tax deductions, budgeting, saving money, and investing, and encourage your followers to invite their friends and family members to join the webinars. People love free products and free information; if you're consistent with your offers, the number of referrals you receive will continue to grow.

Shareaholic, a social analytics firm, recently released Facebook's traffic data for the past year. According to the company, website publishers saw a 253 percent increase in traffic from Facebook mobile users. While Facebook dominates social networking traffic, website publishers are also seeing an increase in traffic from Pinterest and Twitter. When you're planning your online promotion strategy, you should customize the information that you share to gain attention from the type of people using the site. For example, Pinterest is very popular with middle-aged women. If you want to gain interest of Pinterest users, you need to consider how to market your accounting services to moms, housewives, and career-driven women. In order to do that, you can create blog posts about household budgeting and college funds.

Keep in mind that it takes time for any business to see results from online marketing efforts. You aren't going to gain thousands of online referrals over night. The key to success is consistency. Whether you post information online every day or twice a week, you need to be consistent. Post content on the same days of the week and use the same time frames each day. This way, people will begin to rely on your status updates and new blog posts.

Modern technology has made it possible for everyone to be connected instantly. While it may not seem important for an accountant to offer services online, you'll miss out on a lot of business if you don't. Whether you're an avid Internet user or you're just learning how to use online networking sites, you can build an online following and get online referrals as long as you're persistent.


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