Why social media engagement isn’t as important as you think
By Amanda C. Watts
Likes. Comments. Shares. A common complaint about modern society is that we use these numbers as metrics to measure our personal worth and forget about what really matters. What if I told you that the same also applies to content marketing? Often, accounting firm owners get lost in these numbers when they’re the last thing that they should be worrying about. Social media is one of the most important tools in your arsenal, but contrary to popular belief, your interaction rate does not necessarily reflect the success of your content marketing strategy for your accounting or bookkeeping firm.
A common misconception that accounting firm owners have about content marketing is that it’s all about interaction. That simply isn’t true. Likes, comments and shares are vanity metrics: they make us feel as though we’re doing a great job (or not, as the case may be) but in reality they tell us very little about how well our strategy is working. What’s more is that accounting firm owners are often discouraged by a lack of social media engagement and quickly give up. This is a huge mistake. These numbers don’t matter and it’s important to keep on showing up day in, day out, regardless of how many likes you’re getting.
But who am I to tell you this?
Well, I’ve grown my audience and doubled my turnover every year for the past three years even though my content gets very little engagement. I not only use content marketing to grow my own business, I also teach it to accountants and bookkeepers. A lot of people assume that I rake in the likes and spend all day replying to comments, but that’s not true at all. My content doesn’t get a lot of interaction. It never has… and I’ve never cared. Here’s why.
Likes Are Meaningless
Let’s start with likes. A like is a throwaway action. It’s an almost mindless click of a button that tells us nothing about what the user is actually thinking or feeling. Likes don’t correlate to sales or revenue. In fact, a study by the Harvard Business Review found that a user liking a brand on Facebook had no effect on their purchasing habits, or their friends’ behaviour. Likes are not an actionable metric for an accounting firm and they’re really not worth worrying about.
Comments Aren’t Important Either
Okay, so what about comments? Surely that’s a better content marketing KPI?
In terms of engagement, comments do carry a higher value than likes. However, you’re not an influencer. You’re an accountant. Engagement is not the end goal. You’re on social media to attract clients to your firm, not to receive validation from strangers. Social media is just a tool. For accounting firm owners, content marketing is about showing up and staying front-of-mind, and you don’t need comments to do that. Through the power of content marketing, I sign dozens of clients each month. The vast majority of them have never commented on any of my posts.
We’ve established that likes and comments don’t matter. So what’s the point of being on social media at all?
Social media is about being seen and heard, not validated. Likes, comments and shares tell you very little about the thing that actually matters. You’re not there for those numbers; you’re there to be front of mind.
People will quickly forget about your accounting firm if you don’t show up every day. Even if it’s nothing but tumbleweeds in the comments section, it’s absolutely essential that you continue to make your presence known on social media day after day.
Don’t stop posting content just because you don’t get much interaction. Over the past four years, I’ve shown up every single day with one form of content or another, be it live streams, webinars or LinkedIn updates. I don’t get hundreds of likes or very many comments. If I used this as a measure of my success, I’d have given up a long time ago. However, I don’t set any store by those numbers and I take on an average of two new clients per day across my programmes. My content marketing strategy works, despite a relatively low interaction rate. Interaction does not equate to visibility.
You’ll never sign clients to your accounting firm if you’re not visible. Content marketing is a two step process. Showing up and sharing value is the first step. Just because no-one’s liking doesn’t mean they’re not listening.
Visibility and volume go hand-in-hand. The more content you create, the more visible your accounting firm will be. It’s much better to publish a consistent stream of content that receives little interaction than to post once in a blue moon and get hundreds of likes.
For example, I began hosting webinars a few years ago. At first, they were weekly events but as I upped the frequency, more and more people started attending. Putting more content out there is the key to growing your audience. Each tweet, video and post is an opportunity to be visible, to reach new people and to start those all-important conversations.
Content establishes authority and builds trust. It doesn’t get you clients.
The purpose of content marketing is to start the conversations that ultimately convert into sales. No-one is going to read your blog post and then sign straight up for your accounting or bookkeeping services. If only!
Content is a stepping stone. It brings your audience closer to you. Creating and publishing a consistent stream of content is an essential part of content marketing. However, all that effort is for nothing if you don’t then leverage your content to generate leads and, ultimately, sales.
A lot of people think that comments equal conversations, but that’s not true. One real conversation with a prospective client is worth so much more than a thousand fluffy comments on your social media posts.
It Takes Time
Traction doesn’t happen overnight. It could take up to 90 days for you to really gain traction on any social media platform, and even longer when it comes to blogging. This doesn’t mean that you should give up.
Creating content takes time and careful planning. Great content marketing doesn’t happen on the fly. As well as researching and producing high quality material, you need to take time to plan and schedule it to maximise your reach and visibility.
The Golden Rules
To summarise, likes and comments are nice, but they don’t mean a lot as far as conversations, leads and sales go. Forget about your ego and focus instead on the golden rules of content marketing:
1. Be visible and share value every single day.
2. Use your content to start conversations.
Social media is a tool. Its purpose is to increase your visibility and start conversations. Your success is not determined by likes, comments or shares. As an accounting firm owner, those numbers are of no use to you. The real value lies in visibility and action. Let’s stop worrying about vanity metrics and concentrate on showing up each and every day. I didn’t need social media engagement to market my business to success, and you don’t either.
Amanda C. Watts
Amanda C. Watts gives sales and marketing superpowers to accounting firms.
She noticed that accounting firms were being overlooked, compliance based and decaying, and that commoditisation is their Kryptonite.
When Amanda is not out sharing her superpowers, she is a speaker, entrepreneur, Amazon best-seller and the author of The Pioneering Practice. Since 2009 Amanda has helped over 1000 companies launch or grow through her firm, her work with Richard Branson’s Virgin Start-Up, and training and mentoring.
Amanda marketing programmes eliminate the confusion and overwhelm that many partners suffer from, and they no longer focus on merely being functional. They attract higher value clients and become VITAL.
Amanda’s clients are some of the fastest growing accounting firms around and she has helped them achieve higher revenue with fewer clients.