Nuts & Bolts - Case Study : Accountants Get SocialJanuary 2013 By Heather Fletcher
CliftonLarsonAllen accountants have quite a reputation for their social skills. Really.
Gone are the days of the laconic desk jockeys who could ply their trade behind closed doors. CPAs at his Minneapolis- and Milwaukee-based accounting company are firmly seated as social media influencers, says Patrick M. Byer, Sr., CliftonLarsonAllen's managing partner of federal government services and partner in charge of the Washington D.C. region.
In spring 2011, Byer introduced a social media strategy to the firm's northeast region, which spans from Boston to Virginia. Eighty of the company's partners now use their social networks to spread the word about eight of CliftonLarson-
Allen's industry practice areas.
"Right now, through this program, we have 61,400 total connections through the network," Byer says.
Allen began using tools from Baltimore-based social media management software and services provider SocialToaster to build a web of contacts, Byer mainly wanted to increase topline revenue for the firm's nonprofit industry specialty within the region.
He knew some accountants might be more difficult than others to motivate into being social. So he helped them out—he used the SocialToaster tool to notify the employees, now known as its 144 "ambassadors," about content they could tweet or post on Facebook and LinkedIn. If CliftonLarsonAllen's representatives were already social, they could just use the content to supplement what they were already telling their followers, friends and connections.
"On average, we see about 3.5 visits from each active ambassador's network each week from this implementation," Byer says. "So from that, what we track is that activity [that's] helping us, getting our brand out there."
Brand ambassadors can decide, one at a time through the tool, whether to use content from CliftonLarsonAllen's thought leadership that includes whitepapers, podcasts, videos, information about seminars, interviews and blog posts. At the most, three posts are available to the ambassadors each week.
It added up to some surprising news.
"Some people didn't even know the areas of expertise until we started pushing out this content through this tool," Byer says.
From May 2011 to May 2012, Byer measured more than 20,000 visits to this thought leadership content and more than 8,000 visitors to cliftonlarsonallen.com through the posted links, of which 6,524 were shared.