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4 Social Media Etiquette Tips for CPAs

Social mediaIf you have had your business for any length of time, you know the importance of using the Internet for promotion. Even if you work for a financial firm, you may be called upon to participate in the online promotion of initiatives for the corporation. One of the easiest ways to do this is by using social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. These sites offer ways to widen your customer base, network with other professionals and communicate easily on forums that people already use on a wide scale anyway.

Many people have separate social media accounts for personal and professional use, and making the distinction between the two is key to establishing a professional online reputation. Understanding the rules that apply to personal and professional realms is vital to making the most of social media outlets in both respects.

Here are a few suggestions on etiquette when it comes to social media ventures.

  1. Keep your personal and business accounts separate. While your friends and family may love to see that picture of your dog wearing a cute sweater, your customers will not. Keep personal details limited to your personal account only. This increases your credibility and the way that you are viewed by your customers. Similarly, do not use your personal accounts to constantly promote your business ventures. An occasional post or tweet about what is going on in your business is acceptable, but as a general rule, refrain from self-promotion on personal pages. Your friends and family already know what you do for a living and will be annoyed by constant reminders.
  2. Provide information from other sources. While the point of a social media site for a business is to promote your services, customers appreciate getting tips and suggestions from other sources too. If you see a helpful financial article, post the link with a few words on why you think it is valuable. Retweet links on Twitter and share the status updates of other financial experts in order to benefit your audience. You want to establish yourself as the trusted, reliable, knowledgeable advisor your clients go when they need financial guidance. Sharing information from other sources is an easy way to accomplish both of these social media aspirations.
  3. Use proper grammar and spelling. The Internet has singlehandedly destroyed all of the rules for proper speech online but your customers will appreciate that you are above trendy, Internet jargon. Compose all of your status updates, tweets and other online messages with proper grammar.
  4. Pay attention to who you are following. You want to build up your audience, but other people will look at who you are following and who follows you, before making the decision to subscribe to your updates. Do your best to form a well-rounded group of followers that represent your target customer base. You may also want to consider including your Web site and social media information in an online directory that represents your industry. The quality of your social media network is much more important than the quantity, so choose your online acquaintances carefully.

SueEllen Brantley, CPA, Audit Senior Associate, Grant Thornton. SueEllen is a Florida licensed CPA and is a member of the Florida Young CPAs and AICPA. She is a graduate of the University of Central Florida and its Masters in Taxation program. SueEllen has more than five years of public accounting experience including audit and taxation for both public and privately held companies.

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