How accountancy firms use digital media to attract and retain clients.

The best way to attract the clients you want is to devise a digital media strategy that considers your web presence and how you use social media.

This doesn’t have to be confusing. By understanding the basics of digital media you can set yourself apart from your competitors. Here are the top concepts you need to be across.

Shared, paid, owned and earned media

Not all media are the same. Here is a guide to how each type of media operates in 2021:

  • Shared media includes content shared across third-party platforms, especially social media, from user comments to co-created partner materials. It can be a great way for consumers to interact with businesses, although it can also be a direct (and public) way to shame companies they feel are doing the wrong thing.
  • Paid media includes ads on third-party sites. This includes Facebook sponsored posts, advertorials, sponsored content and search ads. They can be effective – although less so when you stop paying.
  • Owned media is content you create – for example blog posts, podcasts, videos, images and infographics – on platforms you ‘own’ – such as a website or via email. This approach – called ‘content marketing’ – is a great way to build engaged audiences that may eventually turn into clients.
  • Earned media is the new ‘word of mouth’. It’s where your business or staff is featured in articles or press coverage, usually through public relations activities. It also includes coverage of industry awards and reviews.

Keywords

Keywords are simply the words and phrases people type into search engines. You’ll need to work out the best business topics and related keywords to feature on your website.

Putting more research into keywords lets you tailor your content better and appear in more online searches.

SEO – Search Engine Optimisation

Search engine providers process input keywords and send software bots to find all the relevant web pages and present them on the results page.

These bots use algorithms to sort the value of these searches and then rank the results in a list.

SEO helps put you at the top of web searches by anticipating variations of the keywords that a potential customer might use. This makes it easy for bots to trace your content and factor it into the engine’s ranking algorithms.

One key factor that Google’s bots consider is positive customer reviews because these build trust, drive more traffic, and tell Google what your site is about.

Social media

Here are some of the most popular platforms and what they’re best for:

  • Facebook: generating small discussions, sharing links and memes, and leaving reviews.
  • YouTube: great for video content.
  • LinkedIn: a professional social media site where industry experts share content and build their personal brand. It’s good for thought-leadership pieces.
  • Twitter: great for short, punchy messages linked to current events. It’s also powerful for customer service.
  • Instagram: great for photographs and images.

PPC advertising

Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising is the standard way businesses advertise on Google, Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms. As the name suggests, you only pay for ads someone clicks on. This advertising method is good for generating leads, increasing sales and promoting brand awareness.

PPC on Google means you pay the search engine company to show your web page in the results when someone searches for your business. Paid results are marked as ads. Each time someone goes to your website by clicking on your ad, Google charges you money.

It’s important to keep in mind that using social media is about engaging with your audience. As a business, you need to find ways to stay active by publishing regularly and being prepared to answer questions or deal with issues in real time.

It’s also vital when you undertake a marketing strategy that you play the long game. It often takes at least a year to 18 months for businesses to start building client trust and a positive reputation through digital marketing, and you need to be prepared to find a way to measure its impact beyond simple ‘likes’.

Of course, it’s equally true that trust and reputation can be shattered overnight with a badly conceived idea or execution that gets the wrong kind of attention. Be careful out there!

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