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Backstage Pass: EDGE Experience

Social mediaOften times, in-person conferences are the best time to get updates on industry news and to learn new things. The EDGE Experience, the premier career development event for young CPAs, focuses on building young professionals not only technically, but with soft skills as well.

Yesterday, Stacie Saunders, Senior Manager of Social Business at the AICPA, sat down with three CPAs to talk about how they began a professional strategy on social media. Saunders began the conversation by saying “most of us started on social media for personal reasons, but as you start to use it you can see how the benefits can cross over into a professional space.” So, how does one begin to use social media professionally?

As a special treat for AICPA Insights readers, we listened in and pulled tips and tricks for some of the most common questions surrounding social media.

Can you remember a defining moment when your social media went from personal to professional?

Rebekah Brown, CPA, recalled a time a few years ago when she published a blog series detailing her journey pursuing the CPA. After publishing the series, she received an email from a student in NC. “She had recently decided to major in accounting and was struggling and found my post through Google. She emailed me to thank me, saying it encouraged her to stick with it. I think that's when I realized the real power of social media. I talk with a lot of students across Maryland (her home state), but certainly cannot connect with all of them, and had never even dreamed of reaching a student in another state. But with social media I can. I can help encourage and develop the future of this great profession, and that is what I am most passionate about."

What is one of the challenges you faced when developing a social media strategy and how did you overcome it?

Using his background in litigation support, Chris Ekimoff, CPA/CFF, CFE, developed his strategy as if he would be on the stand testifying. “If and when an individual produces an expert report and is put on the stand to testify, opposing counsel will perform a significant amount of research and review of previous publications, interviews, and reports. Along that vein, so too will opposing counsel look into any publicly-available social media postings and videos. When structuring the goal of my social media efforts, I took that idea into account to be sure that I was conducting myself in a professional, defensible manner with every tweet or Facebook message. By thinking long-term about the implications of your social media use, you can keep many doors open down the road, instead of potentially painting yourself into a corner.”

What does your employer see as the biggest benefit to you or your organization having a presence on social media?

Amy Vetter, CPA/CITP, CGMA, put it perfectly when she said We are a part of the conversation with our customers by being engaged with social media. We learn about what is going on with our customers and can instantly respond if needed. We also utilize it to provide real-time information that they may need for their businesses as well. In addition, we create closed groups where we can freely discuss topics that are solely related to Xero for people that select to be in those private forums.”

Interested in learning more about building a social media strategy? The AICPA has social media user guides available to help you do just that.

Elizabeth Rock, Specialist - Social Media and Member Engagement, American Institute of CPAs.

Social media icons courtesy of Shutterstock.

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