Yes, LinkedIn is a great way to connect with other professionals, especially industry peers and potential clients. But to really do LinkedIn right, you want to establish a voice and a presence that tells people who you are and why they’d want to do business with you.
This is exactly what McDonald & Osborne, PA, has done with LinkedIn. Based in Naples, Fla., the firm has steadily grown its social media presence over the last two years – with an emphasis on “social.”
The firm’s social media strategy, which also includes a presence on Facebook and Twitter, revolves around their blog (mo-cpablog.com). According to Stephen Osborne, one of the firm’s social media managers and a tax preparer/accountant, most of their social media traffic has come from LinkedIn.
“You develop a lot of connections very quickly,” explains Osborne, who maintains a personal page along with the firm’s company page. “But it was by joining local business groups and professional organizations that we really started to see the benefits.”
Osborne’s sister, Lisa, who also handles social media at the firm along with office administration, has a personal LinkedIn profile, too. Whenever they go live with a new blog post, they share it on all their LinkedIn pages and with all the professional groups in their network.
“People get notifications of what’s going on in those groups and they review it,” says Osborne. “We’ve gotten a lot of good feedback and interaction that way.”
Real-world Reach, Online
By centering the firm’s social media strategy around their blog, they keep their website active so that the firm’s name stays near the top of Internet search engines, leading to referrals. Having seen how well real-world referrals worked for their firm over the last 30 years, applying a similar approach online made sense.
In fact, many of the connections the Osbornes have made online have evolved into personal connections ranging from lunch meetings to business collaborations. Lisa believes one reason they’ve been successful in establishing meaningful connections is the kind of content they share.
“It’s not always complex accounting information,” she explains. “We try to put some humor in there, too, along with helpful information that people might be looking for from a firm like ours.” For example, during the height of tax season the firm shared an article on quick ways to refresh your brainpower-a great read for anyone, not just accountants.
The Osbornes initially worked with a social media consultant, a step they’d recommend to anyone getting started. Now they handle all their online interactions themselves.
Although Stephen urges firms to avoid getting too bogged down in a single social media outlet, LinkedIn has proven to be the most successful for McDonald & Osborne. “In our line of business, you’re more likely to connect with young business professionals in your area on LinkedIn,” says Lisa. “It’s been a great networking tool.”