BTerrell Group Blog

Masters of CPA Social Selling: Jason Blumer Reveals How His Firm Gets Ideal Clients to Contact Them

Posted by Brian Terrell on Wed, Oct 08, 2014

The giant, flashing red neon sign that greets you when you visit the Blumer CPAs website may be your first clue that it's not your typical CPA firm. Maybe.

Forging a distinctive path through the well-tilled field of public accounting has already gotten Jason Blumer profiled in the New York Times and the Huffington Post. But today is where things get really exciting for Jason – now he's getting profiled here on the BTerrell Group blog, exclusively for you! I had a chance to talk with Jason where he shared with me some details on his firm's approach to social selling.

If you read the recent post covering my talk with Rhonda Maraziti, Director of Marketing and Practice Growth at WithumSmith+Brown, you've already gotten an introduction to social selling (if you haven't, read about it here). In case you still think social selling only works to get teenagers to buy a certain pair of shoes or energy drink, consider this:

Jason shared with me another interesting fact – most of his firm's client come from Twitter.

I'll repeat that. Well, I'll let Jason tell you himself:

"We get most of our clients come through Twitter; our clients find us. We really don't have to go out and find them. We have a constant source of leads coming into our sales pipeline."

If that doesn't convince you that social media and social selling now need to be part of the marketing landscape for a professional services firm, I can't help you. For the rest of you:

Changing the Mindset

One of the first steps he used to implement a social selling strategy was to create a firm brand, not your typical CPA firm tactic. As Jason explains it, clarifying a brand for the firm is critical to being successful with social selling, "If you look at the social presence of most firms, they're not really talking to anybody. You need to know what you're trying to say and who you're trying to say it to."

Social selling works when you attract prospects because they're interested in what you're putting out there. So you need to know who your prospects are. One of Jason's key recommendations is to niche your clientele; an approach he acknowledges is difficult for many firms.

"People are fearful of detracting customers, but what you're really trying to do is align with the right customer and have the wrong customer go away."

Presenting a clear brand voice though your firm's social presence forges the relationship with the right kind of customers. According to Jason, their content "lets people know that we're thought leaders, we have knowledge and when we're talking, we know what we're talking about." For example, the firm has a particular expertise in helping creative companies manage themselves through the benefits and complexities of growth. As a result, much of its content shares the firm's insights and guidance surrounding growth.

Getting It Done

Now that I understood Jason's strategic approach to social selling, I needed to know about his tactics. Jason and his firm use a variety of channels to get their content out:

Since Twitter has been so successful for the firm, that will be our focus here. Jason has been on Twitter for around six years – "before anyone knew what to do with it," he says.

Jason offers two pieces of advice on how they use Twitter. First, they make their content here (and the other social media sites) visual. Research shows that social media posts with images get more shares, which is an important part of expanding the reach of your social audience. One tactic Jason uses is to create a simple visual of a quote from an upcoming podcast and tweet that out as a promo. Here's a recent example:

Sample Tweet

The next tactic you should appropriate is to re-post the same content multiple times. Jason's wife Jennifer oversees marketing for the firm and uses Tweetdeck, a scheduling tool, to make this easy. The shelf life of a tweet has been calculated to last anywhere between 18 minutes to 3 hours, so pushing out the same tweet at different times of day over an extended period of time helps reach the broadest audience.

The multi-tweet approach also speaks to the evergreen nature of the firm's content. The tweet above may be promoting a recent podcast, but there's no reason in the world why Jennifer can't schedule today for this tweet to go out again three months now. Her standard protocol is to share a tweet at least three times.

Understanding the ROI

Jason doesn't bother to track KPIs. His firm's approach is to "just saturate the world with thought leadership quotes, posts, and we do it consistently."

Consistency – that's our fourth big take-away here.

When it comes to ROI, Jason says, "It's hard to connect a new client to a specific post. But an inundation of all that content to one person, ultimately over a year may go 'Wow! These guys are the guys!' and reach out to us then."

Quality prospects coming to find you? Now that's living the dream.

Tags: social media, social selling

Masters of CPA Social Selling: Rhonda Maraziti Credits Executive Sponsorship for Directing WithumSmith+Brown’s Social Selling Success

Posted by Brian Terrell on Wed, Oct 01, 2014

Networking and referral marketing reign at or near the top of business development strategies for CPA firms and other professional service organizations. In the digital age, Social Media platforms provide additional networking options for professionals to attract and retain clients. In this post, I recap the first in a series of conversations I’ve had with CPA firm marketing leaders regarding Social Selling, which might be defined as using social platforms to develop and promote a brand, provide thought leadership to the marketplace, and drive business to a firm. Thank you to Rhonda Maraziti, the Director of Marketing and Practice Growth at WithumSmith+Brown for agreeing to share her thoughts on professional service Social Selling in the digital age.

Social Selling in the Digital Age

CPAs and other professionals have always engaged in and excelled at Social Selling through real world social activities and events designed to connect firms with prospective clients. Of course this still works; however, the process can now begin online with Social Media and then carry over to face-to-face meetings. Social Selling in the age of Social Media uses various digital social platforms, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, to build a personal and business brand, share content designed to establish thought leadership, and attract prospective clients that ultimately drive business to the firm. Social Selling success requires knowing a target demographic and understanding in which platform’s context that demographic participates. “We find that LinkedIn users are far different from Instagram users,” says Rhonda, adding, “Facebook and Instagram we keep light with culture. Twitter we use for news and to promote thought leadership. LinkedIn we use for connections in thought leadership.”

Rhonda insists that, regardless of the platform on which one publishes, driving traffic to a firm’s website must remain strategically top of mind. “Developing and implementing an effective content marketing strategy is likely the most important thing professional service firms can do today, using the power of Google and the many social platforms out there to drive traffic to their website. Most everything we post or share has a link leading back to our website.” Increased traffic results in better SEO (search engine optimization), meaning a site will garner increased visibility to users searching the web.

Online Relationship Building Doesn’t Replace Offline

Rhonda reminds us of the enduring importance of in-person relationship building: “We still need to have those personal relationships and meet face-to-face, and go to lunch, and take your client to the golf course.” However, with the younger generation immersed in mobile technology, relationship building with younger generations may have to start online. In certain cases, she emphasizes, some prospects want to find a professional first through Social Media. They want to take part in conversations happening around their business and interests. So, it’s important to meet them where they are.

Assessing return on investment in marketing and advertising challenges all marketers, but Rhonda says it’s getting easier with Social Media. Social platforms constantly develop new ways to track analytics, such as measuring likes on Facebook or retweets on Twitter. She recommends and her firm uses Google Analytics, which tracks users who visit a site after spending time on social platforms. In addition, a CRM “opportunities pipeline”, which collects data on how clients and prospects find the firm, helps gauge the effectiveness of social platforms.

Importance of Executive Sponsorship

When asked about WithumSmith+Brown’s route to becoming an industry leader in Social Selling, Rhonda credits the executive sponsorship and example her firm enjoys from their Managing Partner and CEO, Bill Hagaman.  Bill participates with his own blog on the company website, and he actively publishes shorter snippets of news and thought leadership via Twitter.  In addition, Withum produces video blogs, informational videos on their services, and an annual video celebrating the firm’s yearly State of the Firm event spotlighting the firm's culture, repurposing that content across various Social Media channels. The culture videos prove to be particularly effective recruiting tools and have landed the firm on the cover of Accounting Today in addition to contributing to other interview and public relations opportunities. With this and other video content, Rhonda says, “Not only are we perceived in the profession as smart leaders and as a good accounting firm, but we also have a nice balance of having some fun, too.”

Congratulations to Rhonda Maraziti and WithumSmith+Brown for using digital platforms to propel brand building, thought leadership and business development. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and best practices so that other professionals may better prepare to enjoy the opportunities that digital Social Selling provides! Please check back next week for my article on a recent discussion with Jason Blumer, Chief Innovation Officer of Blumer & Associates, CPAs, PC, who is yet another thought leader willing to share his expertise on this important topic!

WithumSmith+Brown is well versed in the disciplines relevant to doing business in today’s world.  Since 1974, the Firm has continued to grow in breadth and depth of experience and expertise, providing an elite level of service and quality to private and publicly held companies. As the Director of Marketing and Practice Growth, Rhonda Maraziti directs a team of 10 marketing professionals assisting 80 partners and 250 CPAs in 12 offices with building their books of business. Please follow Rhonda on Twitter (@RhondaMaraziti) and then visit withum.com to watch their State of the Firm videos, view Bill Hagaman’s blog, and learn more about the firm.

 

 

Tags: social media, social selling

Benefits of Integrating SageCRM and Social Media

Posted by Meredith Gooch on Wed, Dec 14, 2011

– Enable your sales teams to better target prospects and prepare for sales calls
– Uncover leads and networking opportunities quickly and easily
– Enable users to update and read twitter timeline and feeds directly from within Sage CRM
– Extend conversations and collaboration with prospects and customers to social media channels
– Enable users to identify how online conversations are affecting their brand
– Help organizations to identify their biggest online champions and influencers
– Enable users to participate in online conversations with an engaged audience without ever having to leave Sage CRM
– Help organizations build and strengthen relationships with their community of customers and prospects
– Provide marketing teams with the ability to extend and link marketing campaigns to social media channels
– Enable users to easily manage and track competitors by monitoring their public online conversations and blog articles

Want to read more?

Contact us today to learn how SageCRM's social media capabilities can help your company.

Tags: SageCRM, SageCRM and Social Media, Sage CRM, social media

Get Excited! Registration for Accpac Thanksgiving Now Open

Posted by Chuck Reeves on Thu, Oct 15, 2009

On Thursday, November 19, 2009, Terrell & Terrell will be celebrating its 10th annual Accpac Thanksgiving client appreciation conference, marking a very special anniversary year to attend! This event is very useful and informative for executives, CPAs, and all Sage Accpac ERP users.

Executives:
If you are a business executive, you can come to our morning sessions and stay for lunch at Fogo de Chao. You will experience our exciting keynote presentation about how to use social media to boost your bottom line as well as learn more about:

  • shortening sales cycles
  • predicting sales forecasts
  • achieving more consistent customer service
  • increasing average revenue per customer

CPAs and Accpac Users:
Come for the day and choose from nine different educational breakout sessions in the afternoon and learn how to use Sage Accpac to its fullest potential. CPAs can receive 8 CPE credits for attending the full day.

You can Register Now or learn more about the event by visiting http://www.bterrell.com/thanksgiving09.

- Meredith Gooch, Marketing Manager

Tags: Sage Accpac ERP, accpac thanksgiving, CPA, CPE credits, social media, Fogo de Chao, revenue, customer service, sales cycle, sales forecast

Social Media and Taxes

Posted by Meredith Gooch on Thu, Sep 03, 2009

We all know that social media is now being used more often by employers to help in "researching" prospective employees. But did you know that government agencies like the Internal Revenue Service are now using social media to track down tax evaders and perform audits?

According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, revenue agents are only allowed to use publicly available information which means use of the more public MySpace and Twitter sites rather than Facebook. Agents are also not allowed to use false information when "friending" someone - so if you see that someone named "TaxMan11946" is "following" you on Twitter, you may be under the watchful eye of your local tax agency.

Some tax agencies have blocked these social media sites in the past but are now beginning to realize the cost and time-saving advantages of using them. Even performing a simple Google search may pull up results about recent business ventures and relocations of suspected tax dodgers that help state revenue agents track down these tax evaders.

One example is given by The Wall Street Journal, "In Minnesota, authorities were able to levy back taxes on the wages of a long-sought tax evader after he announced on MySpace that he would be returning to his hometown to work as a real-estate broker and gave his employer's name. The state collected several thousand dollars, the full amount due."

Use social media wisely, both as an end-user and as an employer. You never know who might be "following" you.

- Ruba Ayyat, Marketing

Source: Saunders, Laura. "Is 'Friending' in Your Future? Better Pay Your Taxes First." The Wall Street Journal. August 27, 2009. <http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125132627009861985.html>


Tags: social media, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, MySpace, taxes, IRS, tax evasion