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Social Media & CPAs - getting an ROI from your ROA!

Posted By: Tom Hood on November 13, 2012 in Technology & Social Media

Just back from the AICPA Forensic Valuation Conference in Orlando where I presented an "unconference" session on Social Media. Check out the first eleven slides of the presentation below to see the audience participation results and surveys.

What exactly is an "unconference" you may be asking?

Wikipedia defines it as a participant-driven meeting. It's the latest in trying to make presentations and conferences more engaging and better at making learning stick. It is taking the presenter and putting him/her side-by-side with the participants.

I used www.gosoapbox.com, twitter, and an i2a:Insights to Go worksheet to engage the group. 

Here is what the group at AICPA FVC was thinking:

What are your biggest challenges with social media?

  • Not enough time
  • Overwhelming
  • Don't want to do something embarrassing
  • Don't know where to begin
  • Getting others in the firm to see its power and participate

What do you need to get started?

  • Education & Time
  • Knowledge & best practices
  • Examples & case studies

We talked about lots of stories of major successes like two firms who made the Wall Street Journal with their niches due to blogging and twitter. Several examples of young profesisonals who made the Top 100 Most Influential People in the CPA Profession because of their social media followers.

The biggest uses the participants thought had the most value were in three major areas:

  1. becoming thought leaders,
  2. expanding their practice and reputation, and
  3. staying on top of their practice areas
The most compelling reason to get moving on social media the group gave at the end was the "three year" thing.
 
Yep, three years is how long you have to get this social media thing according to a very recent study.
 
The Deloitte / MIT study Social Business: What Companies are Really Doing states that organizations have just three years to get "social".
 
By "social", they mean much more than having a Facebook account. They mean transforming their organizations to social businesses that connect and collaborate with their customers and team members. Kinda like the unconference idea, engage instead of lecture, co-create, collaborate with your customers and employees. Use the benefits of the collaboration curve to adapt and innovate faster than your competition. Like the "unconference", maybe we are really talking about becoming "unbusinesses" where we stand side-by-side with our customers and employees?
 
That got their attention. and the small firms and organizations are actually in the lead. In the CPA world, the larger firms are still behind the curve on average which is confirmed by the study.
 
The next part of the conversation went to risk. What if "they" misuse it? What if I say something embarrasing?
 
The three best ways to manage risk are:
  1. Develop a solid social media policy (ours is tied to CPA Code of Conduct and our Association Vision, mission, and strategy)
  2. Comunicate that policy to your entire team and even customers/clients
  3. Train, train, train - hold some social media training and make the policy part of that, add to onoarding, etc.

As to the last question, if you make a mistake, own it and apologize, quickly (just like in real life).

Here is the full presentation to download or enjoy on-line: 


Resources to get you jump started
 
Here is the tweetbook from the conference using www.tweetdoc.org
 
My three "goto" books about social media are:
  1. Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk
  2. The Corporate Blogging Book by Debbie Weil (our blog coach)
  3. Social Media Strategies for Professionals by Michelle Golden
 
Journal of Accountancy coverage of Social Media:
 
Social Media Stories and examples from our Youtube Channel
 
If you want help, give us a call - we have on-site training, on-line learning, and even a jumpstart program to coach you through launch.
 
I hope this helps you jumpstart your exploration of social media and I hope to see you in the twitterverse and blogosphere soon!
 
Remember you have three years and if you don't do it, others will.
 
Next year's AICPA FVS conference is set for Nov 10 - 12 at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas

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