Quick polling question. When you hear that Firm X is excellent at social media—specifically LinkedIn—and you want to check out their game, what do you do?
- Visit their LinkedIn page to find their number of followers, post quality and frequency, and level of engagement (number of likes, comments, etc.)
- Find some employees at the firm and see how often and what they post
- Is this a trick question?
Historically, accounting marketers have focused on growing their firm’s page to amplify their brand’s reach and impact instead of leveraging the power of individual employees. Over time, though, social media veterans have noticed that people prefer to engage with other people, rather than companies and their pages. Social media platform algorithms also favor posts uploaded by individuals over those uploaded by companies (with the exception of paid/sponsored posts).
Where’s my post?
Case in point. Raise your hand if you manage your firm’s social media pages and you have fielded an inquiry along the lines of “Hey, did you post about [event/blog/etc.] on LinkedIn? Because I don’t see it on my feed.”
You can’t see me right now, but I have my hand raised. Even though we would all love to ensure that our firm’s post appears at the top of every follower’s feed, the LinkedIn algorithm is mercurial. In the past, your followers’ engagement with previous posts and the timing of your upload (i.e., posting in sync with your followers’ activity on the platform) made it more likely for followers to see your firm’s post. But alas, based on some anecdotal evidence, it appears that the only guaranteed way your followers can see your firm’s posts is to visit the firm page and click the Posts tab.
As I’ve stated earlier, both people and social media algorithms favor posts that have been uploaded by individuals rather than companies, which makes sense because said algorithm is based on user behavior and feedback. To see this in action, check your LinkedIn feed and compare the engagement levels between popular posts uploaded by individuals vs. companies. You’ll notice that posts with thousands of views and tons of comments are mostly uploaded by individuals.
Leveraging the power of individual employees
So, going back to my original question: should we redefine social media excellence at the firm level, or as an aggregate of the firm’s employee activities? Data is pointing to the latter, and most social media veterans agree that relying on the firm page to amplify reach and maximize content impact is suboptimal.
What will that cost me?
Great question! The total cost can be five figures depending on the platform and the number of licenses purchased. But if your firm is serious about leveraging social media, I invite you to consider the costs of LinkedIn advertising campaigns. We all know that advertising on LinkedIn can be expensive; depending on the length and target audience of your campaign, cost can easily run into four figures. Running multiple LinkedIn campaigns throughout the year can catch up to the cost of an annual subscription fee for an employee advocacy program or even exceed it.
The way forward
Whether you choose the “automated” (leveraging an employee advocacy program) or “manual” (asking/begging your employees to share your firm’s content) approach to leveling up your social media game, I think the days of focusing solely on the number of followers, likes, and comments on a firm’s social media page are over. It’s time that we harness the power of the firm’s employees in addition to the power of the firm’s page.
Fortunately, digital natives intuitively understand the importance of personal brand and how to establish and grow it using social media. Therefore, emerging leaders of the firm will be great allies in your efforts to make this transition.
Author Rosa Chun
Posted in: Growth