Personal branding vs. social media for CPAs

Yesterday during a ridiculously long drive home from the North Jersey office of the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants I spent some time thinking about the issue of how personal branding intersects with social media. I concluded that I might be making some mistakes in both personal branding strategy and social media. On a larger scale, I suspect that CPAs both collectively as a group and individually grossly overestimate their position and progress with regard to each of these. This post is meant more as a “dump” of issues I considered rather than final conclusions.

Social media may have more potential to damage personal brand than support it. If so, that explains why many of our leaders who are certainly smart enough to grasp the tools simply do not have a social media presence.

It is important to remind myself of the differences between personal branding and social media.

My personal branding strategy of using social media to show personal traits and values is unproven and highly risky. The strategy has proven successful for local market professional and financial service firms but is not yet proven for an online audience.

The growing body of data suggesting that social media does not produce tangible return on investment for smaller businesses is disturbing. My gut feeling is that it can pay off once the kinks are worked out.

I’m over-posting on social media. One post per channel per day would be sufficient. Consistency is more important than volume.

The time and learning curve for transitioning from a written word platform (like this blog) to a multi-media platform (like Google Hangouts and YouTube) is unknown. Yet I am remain committed to making the leap.

I need to go back and re-examine how my social media activity supports or detracts from my personal brand and then revise my strategy accordingly.

I might be over-estimating the public’s ability to ingest a multi-faceted public image. I suspect that my eventual response may be to separate online personas just to make it mentally easier for people to get from “thought A” to “thought B”. That thought rubs me the wrong way because I also feel that people have the right to see the whole picture up front, not just what the marketer wants them to see.

Many CPAs overestimate their grasp of personal branding and misunderstand its relationship with social media. I’m certainly not alone in struggling with this issue.


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