Horses for Social Courses

Social media poses many professional services firms a problem. Some have inflated expectations, others are intimated by the concept, others struggle through and others make a decent return from it. Clearly there is much that could be said about social media but what follows may be helpful.

For many high value service providers where trust, professionalism and integrity are key factors in the buying process, it is typically unreasonable to expect to see an immediate return from social media. Expecting a high ‘click to client’ return ignores the nature of the buying process, which is significantly different to those of on-line retail products.

This is not universally the case. There are professional services that some see as more of a commodity such as low cost conveyancing or basic tax returns. Other sectors suffer from a less convoluted process such as recruitment where social media can play an integral part in the candidate acquisition process. But to expect a potential client to change from a particular provider of say ‘tax consultancy’ or ‘company commercial law’ on the back of social media alone is possible but unlikely.

So what then for high value professional service providers – is it time to retreat from social media? Certainly not! Social media can enhance the reputation, trust and brand integrity of even the highest value service provider, especially when combined with a clearly thought through plan.

Output should be sustained and carefully honed for the target audience and the particular social media channel.  Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Vine etc.  all have their particular attributes and it is important to match the benefits of that channel, with the type of output. The same post across all channels is unlikely to engage people.