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Create and Manage a Thriving Social Media Presence

Meet the brains behind the Journal of Accountancy social media program

It’s been a milestone month for the Journal of Accountancy on social media! Not only did the Journal of Accountancy Twitter account (@AICPA_JofA) add its 20,000th follower and 8,000th tweet, their Facebook page reached 16,000 likes and social media has driven 110,000 visits to their website. Wow! That’s what I call ‘thriving.’

Today I feel like Toto in the Wizard of Oz; I’m pulling back the curtain to reveal the brains behind the Journal of Accountancy social media program. Only it’s not a man with a funny mustache running the show….

Meet Megan Pinkston, senior editor and social media extraordinaire. She’s sitting down with us to share her secrets to success.

Megan Pinkston

Q: When did the Journal of Accountancy launch a Twitter account? What did you think about Twitter back then and what do you think about it now?

We launched the Journal of Accountancy Twitter account on Feb. 26, 2009. When we first discussed how the JofA could use Twitter, there were a lot of questions and not many answers. Who were the users? What could we report in 140 characters? Would our readers, who are busy CPAs with busy lives, embrace it? Personally, I questioned if Twitter would exist in a year or two.

Now, four years and 8,000 tweets later, it’s an invaluable tool for the JofA. In addition to the
monthly print magazine, the Journal of Accountancy editorial staff is writing daily news exclusively for our website, journalofaccountancy.com. If your organization is writing news and covering live events, as we are, you must have a strong presence on Twitter.

Q: As of last week, you have more than 20,000 people following the @AICPA_JofA Twitter account. Tell us about the most important lessons you’ve learned while reaching that milestone.

Megan hard at workTwo lessons stick out in my mind:

First, consistent posting/updating is key. Maybe not every hour, but post at least once per day. I update the JofA account six days a week – people are in fact looking for accounting and tax news on Saturday!

Second, it’s not just the quantity of posts that matters – it’s the quality. We have very high editorial standards that extend beyond our print and online publications to Twitter, Facebook, our iPad app and all of the other ways we distribute content. Twitter is great for getting information out quickly, but it must also be correct. I think we’ve been so successful because, like AICPA members, our followers have high expectations for the quality and accuracy of our content. We strive to consistently meet – and hopefully exceeded – their expectations.

Q: I often hear from CPAs that they fear social media will take up too much time out of their day. Do you have any time management tips for fitting it into a busy schedule?

In addition to managing the JofA Twitter account, I also update the @CGMA Twitter account with CGMA Magazine news and feature articles every weekday (all of my posts are signed ^MP) and closely monitor several other AICPA accounts.

I don’t think someone needs to be on Twitter all day, every day, on multiple devices, in order to use it effectively. I use HootSuite – a web-based dashboard – to manage all of my accounts. I save time by posting to multiple accounts during the same session. I’ve synced HootSuite with my Twitter lists, making it easier to read all of the Twitter activity coming out of the AICPA and state CPA societies at any point during the day.

HootSuite Screenshot

By customizing my feeds in HootSuite, I can quickly monitor both industry news, such as regulatory updates from FASB, and local news and events, like which food trucks are near my office in Durham at lunchtime. The small amount of time I invested in identifying my key Twitter influencers, for both my personal and professional interests, and customizing HootSuite to push their content to me, has saved me a lot time in the long run.

Q: More and more CPAs are tuning to social media for industry news. How has this trend changed how you ‘do business?’

My first ‘business’ of the day is to check Twitter – that certainly wasn’t the case a few years ago. As the JofA editor responsible for updating our website, it’s now very important for me to push our news on Twitter as soon as it’s posted online, whether it’s 7am or 9pm. Our readers are looking for industry news as it’s happening – not just 9am to 5pm.

Thanks to Megan for sharing her tips! If you are interested in learning more about social media, check out the AICPA’s social media channels and download our free member social media user guides.

, Strategist, Social Media and Member Engagement, American Institute of CPAs. 

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