Growing your online network

Online forums are a great way for accountants to network with other people without leaving the comfort of their office or home. You can drop by a forum, have a quick look for questions or topics of interest, make a contribution, meet some new people, and then get back to what you were doing.

There are forums attached to association websites, business portals, and even as standalone websites. And while Facebook was originally set up for personal use, it can also be an effective way to broaden your professional network, raise awareness of your accounting practice and grow your business.

Make it professional

It is very easy to set up a business page on Facebook as an extension to your personal account. You can include business information such as your website address, business overview and other information related to your business. You can also use your company logo or other brand imagery in your profile picture.

Drive traffic to your business website

Often when you sign-up as a new member of a forum, you can create a signature line that is attached to every post you make. The signature line contains your website address, giving your website valuable exposure and the potential to drive new traffic to your website.

Build your network

When you are connecting with forums, blogs and communities on the Internet, your focus should be on contributing to these networks rather than directly spruiking your products and services. Try to achieve a high ratio of sharing information of value to the network versus talking about your own business. And then when people in your network ask for help, you can offer your services knowing that your credibility with the group has been established.

Enjoy sharing and learning

Joining an online community gives you an opportunity to share what you know and learn from others. This in turn builds your credibility and also opens up doors to prospective clients and strategic alliances. Online forums are also a great way to seek advice on problems your business may be experiencing and learn from others’ experiences.