Steven Mugglestone

The more I learn, the less I know

Our Lessons from Social Media and Sharing those with Our Clients:

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Our Lessons from Social Media and Sharing those with Our Clients

We are all growing up with social media and we as a business are no exception.  We have already thrown away “the mould” of a traditional accountant.  Some of our partners left the large practices and the “corporate” decision making, others left the traditional smaller practices with the traditional ways of doing things.  Some, like me, spent time within business and “got my hands dirty” with the ups and downs that brings.  The one lesson, that I learnt from the years spent within the business world, rather than attempting to advise it, is that accountants are a business and many challenges and solutions to our business are the same as many others.  We can learn lessons and share lessons with our clients about how we can take advantage of changes to the world we operate in.  We embrace social media, but we are all learning things as we go as well.

This year is predicted to be a smash-hit year for social websites. Facebook is predicted to be the biggest flotation of all time. LinkedIn has expanded through Asia. Twitter use has tripled users in Russia.  Social media spending was about 10-12% of total advertising budgets in 2011

Social media is here to stay and has rapidly become an integral part of all business marketing.  It cannot and should not be ignored.

Here are some of the lessons, we all need to consider to help us with an area that cannot be ignored:

Do you look and Listen

We are certainly in out infancy in respect of our responses, but we are looking and learning and developing our own strategies and systems.   Some of the developments below, we are taking very seriously as all businesses should:

  • Many big companies have appointed a Chief Listening Officer to both monitor and report what is being said about the business and where articles, adverts and discussions are being re-tweeted and/or listed.
  • Airline, KLM answers every customer Twitter message personally, within one hour, 24/7, in Dutch or English.
  • Some retail businesses are even deploying the whole senior shop staff with BlackBerrys to respond instantly, night or day, to any customer query anywhere, via Twitter.

Dell, famously has a Social Media Command Centre, as if like NASA.  The social media activities of Dell on Twitter alone allegedly have a greater reach than the combined circulation of the top 12 daily newspapers in the United States.   Michael Dell is quoted as saying, “It represents the next broad step in our efforts to stay connected to our customers around the globe.”

Social Media Campaigns are a never-ending cycle and are not just seasonal

Some leisure and hospitality businesses plan 13 week campaigns, every Monday arranging something 13 weeks away.  Professional sectors have worked on budget and government tax changes or planned seminars for legislation changes.  Manufacturers launch new products for a new year, the fashion industry work to seasonal designs and ranges.  Traditionally, these have been all seasonal strategies, following a plan, launch, wait, sell campaign cycle.  Social media is not like that at all, you can carry out similar campaigns, but social media demands that you are commanding attention 24/7 and 365, or for 2012, 366 days a year.

You get thousands or even millions of people to follow your fan page or Twitter page – and if you ever stop engaging with them or showing them new fun stuff, they’ll take offence. “It’s like inviting people to a party, and then leaving early,” is how one Facebook exec puts it.

Relentless search for good content

Good content is subjective – but you know it when you see it, because it just works, in the classic showbiz sense.  Perhaps we all need to have a bit of showbiz in us to ensure that the content is engaging.

Forbes Magazine has predicted that 2012 will be the year of content.  It is clear that the world is changing here, with the decline of newspaper/magazine circulation and advertising revenues, PR and advertising agencies are rapidly becoming content producers.  In the world of accountants, however, I would like to see more “stuff” written by those with real experiences of business and the issues faced, rather than relying on agency “tone of voice” style and pre-prepared releases and articles.

We are all now in it together, whether you are running a restaurant or a haulage company, or an accountancy practice, there is an important message that needs to be going on across all the iterations of your company online, and it need to all mesh.  Web agencies report global companies consolidating their web offers into single websites with single messages so as to wipe out content differences across sites.

We need to learn how to use the social bit

As everyone knows, you get a personalised experience from Amazon, suggesting things that you might like to buy.  Facebook and Linkedin, recommend friends and connections to connect with, which sometimes appears like witchcraft.  All of these sites can recommend books and music for you, not only utilising your past purchase history, but your connections recommendations as well.  Can the same be done with any company’s website?

An executive from Trip-Advisor was being interviewed by Jeremy Vine on Radio 2 the other week.  He discussed the real advantages of restaurants and hotels that engage with their customer reviews compared to the ones who do not. Friendly commentary from the management on critical client appraisals, done within the hour, makes all the difference. It shows that you care.

Perhaps your employment contracts need to embrace social media as well

Recent, headlines have reported Phone-Dog suing ex-employee Noah Kravitz for keeping the 17,000 Twitter followers he amassed while at the company.   The company argues the followers are actually worth specifically $2.50 each. The ex-employee argues he did all the legwork and actually gained them. The fact of the case existing at all suggests agreement all round that networking online means sales opportunities and value.  Does your business have a policy to deal with the ownership and rights to those who have Twitter accounts in your business name or using your business branding?

The evolution of the smart phone

People are just not talking on the phone as much any-more. The Economist reported that in 2002 the average Japanese mobile user spoke 181 minutes each month. By early 2009, it was down to 133 minutes.  The difference has been attributed to social media.

Another statistic in the UK is that half of all mobile phone users now have smart phones.  I also read recently that only 25% of smart phones have smart users.

Joking apart, perhaps we all need to continue on our learning curve.

Steven Mugglestone BA FCA,
Finance Director Services

McGregors Corporate, Entrepreneurial Chartered Accountants and Business Advisers
…….Really good for your business

McGregors Corporate are a Member of Probiz Tax, providing Innovative Tax Solutions to Owner Managed Businesses.

T: 0845 519 5659                T: 0121 236 3317

Connect, call, talk, email, contact us, send a messenger pigeon and arrange a discussion, review and free meeting.


Written by Steven Mugglestone

January 15, 2012 at 5:40 pm

One Response

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  1. […] MGC Hayles do see themselves as a new breed of entrepreneurial chartered accountants and business advisers are using both new technology and their senior team and partners’ wide and varied business experience to develop their business in the midlands region through a number of innovative ways.  They are working with social media and are also will to share their experiences in social media with their clients in a recent article. […]

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