Following on from my first post entitled, ‘Top 5 LinkedIn Groups for CFOs’, here is a related article on how finance professionals are currently using social media (if at all) and how they should be using it going forward. So here goes...as a marketer, communicating specifically to finance professionals, I am aware of the relationship between finance and social media, with the perceptions of ‘lurking in the shadows’, ‘fear’ and ‘uncertainty’ springing to mind. It is fair to say that social media and accounting do not go hand in hand.
Whilst many professionals have embraced social media, many finance officers are holding back; although it is talked about, few are using it successfully and as a result they are missing out on the opportunities that it presents.
Jeremy Roche, CEO of Financial Force states, ‘In the wake of a near-global financial meltdown, the roles of corporate accounting and finance departments are more important than ever.’ Social media can offer finance departments the chance to engage with their clients and slowly rebuild relationships and trust. Roche elaborates, ‘While social technology may appear on the surface as faddish and incompatible with accounting in some ways, social accounting technology offers a way to change perceptions and increase the contributions of finance professionals for the better’. Not only this, but individuals want to showcase themselves as someone who is approachable, an expert in their field and responsive to their clients. Social media is perfect for achieving this.
So just how does finance ‘get social’? Although finance teams are core to every organisation, they haven’t necessarily had the means to keep up with today’s real-time society, where collaboration is king. Tools like Salesforce Chatter (or similar features that can be embedded into core business applications) offer a great way for finance teams to participate in day-to-day business communication and break down the traditional barriers between departments. Through this type of internal information sharing, finance can get more strategic.
Please refer to my post on CFOs and LinkedIn to learn how to start engaging on LinkedIn and the benefits to be gained from doing so. Twitter is an excellent micro-blogging tool that sends out short messages that often link back to your website and can be used for a wide range of purposes, from research, to business development, to customer service. Here are some usage tips once you’ve set up an account:
- Follow people that are relevant to your industry/vertical. Finance professionals can be difficult to locate on Twitter, but you can use tools like http://wefollow.com to find those discussing relevant topics.
- Search #CFO to find information relating to finance.
- Connect with people in your area using http://nearbytweets.com to be aware of relevant contacts and needs of those that are close by.
- Liaise with those who seek out your services. Answer @mentions (message from other people on twitter that include your user name).
- Set your email preferences so you are notified when someone is talking to you so you can reply in good time.
A recent social status survey by The Mergis Group has offered some unique insight into the mindsets of finance professionals. Seventy-two percent of finance professionals have a social media account(s), with the most popular sites being Facebook (88%) and LinkedIn (58%). When asked how they carry out the majority of their networking, 45% of financial professionals said they do so in written communications, 28% primarily network face-to-face, whilst 15% do so through social media. Find out more stats here. So although social media use within finance departments is not high, it is clearly migrating into the business world and finance professionals need to embrace new technologies and platforms in order to strengthen their performance.
If you haven’t already, start being social by ‘liking’ and ‘following’ our social media platforms and we will follow you back! You will also gain brownie points for sharing this article. Thanks for reading.