Clever businesses forgetting to be smart
Sales & Marketing for Professional Services

Clever businesses forgetting to be smart

May 15, 2013

by Tony Vidler

customer enquiry basicsAs everyone races to use new technologies and do cool new things in a bid to be different, there is a real risk of losing sight of the essentials.

The business basics.

Like, answering a customer enquiry.

A friend drew my attention to a short piece of research done in the UK on how accountancy and legal practices there are using social media.  It was interesting, and it seems that both sectors are using social media reasonably well.  It was notable however that few are generating much original or branded content of their own. So even for bigger firms, content creation appears to present its challenges.

Their main reasons for professional services firms using social media are apparently to:

  1. Manage corporate reputation
  2. Promote thought leadership
  3. Attract Talent

The growth in the social media engagement has been phenomenal too.  According to their source research (PR Week; 1 Feb 2013) more than 2.7 million people now follow FTSE 100 corporate Twitter accounts – an increase of 131% since December 2011.  There has been a 98% rise in the number of fans of FTSE 100 corporate Facebook pages – 27.4 million. And there have been 82 million views of corporate YouTube videos – an increase of 105%.

So it would seem that these firms have got into using social media, and they are putting enough content (even if very little is original perhaps) out there, and the market is engaging with them.  The platforms that you would expect to see high presence in are the dominant ones, so no surprise there (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook).

What was of some interest was some of the commentary around different strategies and curent thinking.  For example, Deloitte’s see that Slideshare presents some significant opportunity to promote their corporate intelligence, and they are taking an increased interest in Pinterest it seems.  Logically, they have worked out that their people produce a lot of powerpoints and presentations in the course of a year and that can be powerful and useful content, so they are looking for ways to use that well.

Another firm (Eversheds) uses Flickr prominently to give a physical feel and presence via photographs to their brand which is selling intangibles.  Another clever idea.

A real standout finding for me though was that of the firms reviewed, half of them did not respond to an enquiry through Twitter.

So here are some of the best professional services firms in the UK, committing heavily to establishing strong social media presence, with very clear objectives and purpose.

But….half of them did not respond to an enquiry.

How often do we see that in professional services?  Smart people running good businesses with trusted brands….and they don’t do the basics of  business well?

It reminded me that it is something which all of us risk daily. We are so busy being busy, and the business is full of clever people doing terribly urgent things, and often we forget to do the basic stuff well.  Sometimes we forget to be smart.

http://www.livingratings.com/pdf/Living_Ratings_of_Social_Media.pdf

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