Study Reveals Top Five Social Media Mistakes of Professional Services Firms

Detroit-area professional service firms are making five critical mistakes with social media, according to a new proprietary study conducted by Bianchi Public Relations, Inc., and by making some changes to their approach, these firms can make social media more effective as an engagement tool.

The study, "Social Media Use by Professional Services" (SMUPS™), analyzed social media usage by 25 of the top metro Detroit professional service organizations – including law, accounting, engineering, architectural and staffing firms – on their four most popular social platforms: Facebook; Twitter; LinkedIn; and YouTube.

"While it's clear that most Detroit-area professional service organizations have embraced social media, most are making five critical mistakes that may be limiting the effectiveness of this business development tool," said James A. Bianchi, president, Bianchi PR. "While there is a lot of generic advice from so-called social media gurus, until now, there has not been hard data that's specific to the issues and opportunities for Detroit-area professional service firms."

Bianchi PR's SMUPS™ study indicated that the top five social media mistakes for professional service firms are:
  1. Firms do not post enough earned media coverage. While third-party articles in trusted media outlets are the most effective source of information impacting people, on average, less than 10 percent of social media posts by professional service firms are posts that share media coverage.
  2. Firms are not using LinkedIn enough. While LinkedIn is viewed as the most important social network for business people – ahead of blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+ – and professional service firms have a greater following on this platform than all others, less than a quarter of the average professional services firms' social media posts populate LinkedIn.
  3. Firms need to embrace more interactive posts. While most professional service firms cite engagement as an immediate goal for their social media presence, only a little over six percent of the reviewed professional service firms' social media posts on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are interactive-type posts that encourage engagement.
  4. Tweets do not include visuals enough. While studies show that people prefer visual content because it is four times more memorable than text, nearly two-thirds of professional service companies' Twitter posts do not have visuals.
  5. Too many professional service firms' posts are self-promotional. While social media experts stress that at least 75 percent of posts should contain something that a company's audience finds valuable, most professional service posts – 79 to 88 percent depending on platform – focus solely on the firm itself.
Other findings of Bianchi PR's study included:

The most popular social media channels where leading Detroit professional service firms maintain a presence are: Facebook (88 percent), Twitter (84 percent), LinkedIn (80 percent) and YouTube (44 percent);
LinkedIn, by far, is the social media channel where firms typically have the most followers, with an average of 160,980 – five times the average for Facebook and 13 times that of Twitter; and
The top 25 professional service firms most posted topics categories were: company authored content; then services; then trends, issues and industry news.

"We often say that just being 'on' social media is not enough," Bianchi said. "There needs to be both a strategy and ongoing execution for firms to effectively build and integrate their social media platforms into their overall communication and marketing effort. We hope insight from the SMUPS™ study will help them move in that direction."

The SMUPS study reviewed 90 days of posts from 25 of the top Detroit-based professional services firms selected from Crain's Detroit Business lists. For more information, please visit: www.bianchipr.com.

About Bianchi PR
With experience in assisting professional service firms with media relations and related digital/social content needs, Bianchi PR has earned recognition as a "go-to" PR firm local and global companies looking for market knowledge, local connections and PR expertise. For more information, visit www.bianchipr.com or call 248-269-1122.

Bianchi PR is a member of the Public Relations Global Network – "The World's Local Agency" – one of the world's largest international public relations networks. PRGN harnesses the resources of 49 independent public relations firms and more than 800 communications professionals to connect international companies and organizations with individual and culturally diverse markets globally. Visit PRGN online at www.prgn.com or on Twitter at @PRGN.

SOURCE Bianchi Public Relations
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