I have mentioned Elaine Clark who runs CheapAccounting.co.uk on my blog previously. Like me Elaine is very active on twitter. Like me she is a big advocate of twitter.

The main difference between us is that I make clear that twitter is no panacea and that you need to make time to understand it before you leap in. Elaine’s approach is to generate enthusiasm first before, effectively, confirming the caveats that I offer. We both do this in articles, blog posts and presentations. Indeed we spoke on the same platform for the ICAEW last year.

I was very impressed by a piece Elaine wrote recently for HSBC’s small business knowledge centre about how her business uses twitter.  You can read the whole thing on the HSBC site.

In her article Elaine explains that since she started using Twitter her website visitors have increased by about 50% per month. And, crucially that this resulted in increased sales.

Here are a couple of other things she says in the article:

My tweets [140 character messages] vary, but I always avoid ‘broadcasting’ – using Twitter simply to say ‘buy me’. The key to using social media is engagement and social interaction. I very rarely post any pure sales messages. It’s about getting people to like and trust your brand.

Elaine’s tweets often include links to her blogs and free advice guides. More often they involve general discussion and chit chat with one or more of her twitter followers. She sees this as simply being an extension of her offline networking. I have also noticed that Elaine sometimes comments on events in the news to add to or prompt discussion.

Just like the rest of your marketing activity, social media requires careful planning. It requires patience and hard work, too – success won’t come overnight. Using Twitter should be fun, so enjoy it.

I think the full article is a great case study and contains some excellent advice. I would add, as I have said elsewhere, that I think twitter works for Elaine for two key reasons:

1 – She uses it effectively – as she explains above; and

2 – The CheapAccounting.co.uk website has a clear focused, targeted proposition. It’s inviting and easy to engage with the business. Were that not the case then the increased business driven through Elaine’s activity on twitter would be much lower – and might not even be measurable.

So here’s my key question: Does your website echo your online messages and, in so doing, convert visitors who have followed links from your twitter account (or other social media sites)? If not, it’s something else you might want to address whilst you build up your profile on twitter.

If you are an accountant with a story that would make a good twitter case study, please get in touch.

NB: On 23rd February 2012 Mark is speaking at two masterclasses in London addressing (respectively) The ‘Why bother?’ side of social media and The ‘How to?’ side of social media. The main focus will be Linkedin and twitter. Full details here.

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One Response to A twitter case study for accountants – and key question

  1. Andrew Nixon says:

    Elaine uses Twitter brilliantly, but her firm image is uniquely consistent with Twitter’s strengths – informal, chatty, modern. “Cheap Accounting” is a genius brand but is the opposite of how most firms want to appear. In terms of applying Elaine’s case study to the accounting profession generally, I’d say she’s the exception that proves the rule.

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