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CPA Roundtable: How Do You Use Social Media to Develop Your Business?

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Apr 25, 2016

Beth van BladelBETH VAN BLADEL
Consultant, Albany

While I’ve gotten a lot of work through in-person networking, many of my leads actually come from LinkedIn. For instance, I noticed that someone I hadn’t seen in 15 years endorsed me for a skill. I wrote him a message thanking him and letting him know that I was available for part-time CFO and controller work. Later that week, he just happened to be with a client who had a need for that, and he remembered me. When the client and I finally met, my research on LinkedIn helped break the ice. I think social media is a great tool that helps you stay fresh in people’s minds, especially if you can’t get out and about. I don’t think people use it enough. There’s so much information out there and so many options to publish material yourself. If someone were to Google your name, what will come up? You need to manage your brand, and social media is a way to do it.

Phillip J. WhitmanPHILIP J. WHITMAN
CEO, New York 

Most people think of social media as getting likes and followers and free p.r. At my firm, we truly believe that social media should be about helping people, and also about generating and monetizing leads. Internally, we use LinkedIn to build our talent pipeline and develop business opportunities in many service areas, whether in mergers and acquisitions, or training and coaching. But we also use it to develop leads and business development opportunities for CPA firms. When we work with our clients on this, we won’t look at their direct connections; instead, we identify who their connections are connected with and then craft a marketing message that suits them. We also use Twitter, though this is more about sharing information. Sometimes, it’s internal stuff like press releases about someone joining our team, and sometimes, it’s to tweet about something interesting we saw, but one thing I can say is that when you have activity, there are people out there saying, ‘Hey, I wanna follow this guy, this firm,’ or ‘That’s an interesting story.’ People comment and it creates a conversation. 


Principal, Brooklyn 

With all the information available to us on social media, I find Twitter to be a great research tool. I can keep up with the latest developments from the AICPA, the FASB or other accounting organizations, as well as learn about CPE events happening in my area. But even more important, it allows me to connect with other professionals to share knowledge and resources, to find answers to questions I might have, or to discuss areas of concern for people in the industry. I also use LinkedIn, but here, I view it mostly as a supplement to my in-person networking. It lets me connect to other professionals through discussion and use that to make contacts and build relationships. Both LinkedIn and Twitter are also good ways to promote my blog, where I write about forensic accounting.


Partner, Manhattan 

We use Twitter to disseminate information on firm events, press coverage, articles that our staff wrote, charitable initiatives, awards—any information whatsoever that we want people to know about us. We recently began using Google+ for the same purpose. We use both Facebook and LinkedIn for researching and recruiting new staff, though we also use LinkedIn to generate new business leads. LinkedIn is also great for when you do have a business lead, so you can see who you’re meeting and know what to expect. Our firm also has a YouTube channel, which we use to show video of our firm’s events or one of our people speaking at a conference. Social media has had a significant effect on our firm. It lets us reach so many people in a quick, efficient and low-cost manner, and as the new generation is plugged into social media, then that’s where the future of the business world is.

Sole Practitioner, North White Plains 

Social media is a great way to keep your clients up-to-date on what they need to know. For the past year, I’ve been sending out regular newsletters to my clients with advice on things like taxes, retirement planning and estate planning. Social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn have been great ways to distribute them. They’re also good for keeping lines of communication open with my clients—I can get a better idea of what’s going on with them, and I can talk to them directly if they post something. I haven’t expanded to Twitter yet, but it’s something I’m exploring. I do a lot of retirement planning and retirement distribution planning, and I think Twitter would be a good way to connect to other sources of training or information. Social media is the wave of the future, and if you can put in the time and resources to really develop your use of it, it can serve as a great tool to make and maintain connections.

Partner, Bethpage 

I do use some social media, but mostly to let people learn more about me and what I can do for them. I’m more the kind of person who likes to go out to meet people and talk to them. If someone wants to know more about me, she can look at my Facebook and LinkedIn pages, but for the most part, I prefer face-to-face connection. Talking, I think, gives you a better feel for what they mean and what they need than reading something typed out over a computer. I would say 99 percent of my clients are referrals—I get them from former colleagues or former colleagues who may have moved away or gone to work somewhere else. They still refer clients to me because I still have a personal relationship with them, not because of what’s on my Facebook page. When a referral does come through social media, it’s usually because someone I know personally forwarded my profile page to them, saying you should go see that person.


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