Communication overload – how accessible should you be?

This is the busiest time of year for accountants and we’re often overwhelmed by contact from clients (in addition to the clients who never respond to any of our chasing letters/emails/calls). How accessible are you? And are you too accessible?

My preferred methods of communication is email and I’m able to file these in Outlook and in my CRM for ease of use if I need them later. Many clients prefer phone calls so I take notes and file them in with their other documents and my CRM.

So far, so good.

But I also do a lot on social media for my businesses so people often message me that way on Twitter, Linked In or Facebook Messenger. And sometimes via Instagram or WhatsApp which I don’t use for business. With so many different channels these often don’t get added to my CRM so I’m left with a vague recollection of a message and having to find which platform it was on.

If you have any ideas on how to manage all this I’d love to hear.

I do have some wonderful tools to help with accessibility:

• VOIP + Answer It takes messages and forwards them to me by email
• Melu chat on both my websites is run by human beings based on a series of FAQs that I sent to them and which they are augmenting. They also forward chat summaries to me by email
• Calendly.com is great for scheduling calls directly into my diary and I receive email notification of these too.
• Voicemail – if I don’t recognise a number on my mobile, or if I’m on another call, my voicemail will record messages for me to follow up later.

How do you manage all your incoming communications or are you too accessible?

Being there

As you may know I do a lot on social media. Whilst I may not follow the advice of experts I do get business this way, and last year I was ranked 4th in ICAEW’s “social media influencer” table.

Here’s my talk on how to use social media to punch above your weight
https://dellahudsonfca.thinkific.com/courses/socialmedia

But the thing that you must do is BE THERE. People often ask for referrals online and I love to be able to recommend experts that I have worked with. It is very frustrating as it creates a negative impression when that expert does not pick up the referral for a week or more. If you can’t be online every day then do set up notifications.

Being consistent on social media

Anyone who’s already read my latest book ‘Growing by numbers: How to scale up your business with confidence‘ will know I talk up the importance of steady marketing throughout the year.

A large part of your marketing plan should include having a strategy to ensure a consistent and active presence on social media. Here are a few tips based on what I have found works well for me:

  • Find the right platforms for your business – think about your target market, your professional network and factor in where you feel comfortable hanging out too. For me, Twitter continues to be my number 1 social media space , but I also have a presence on LinkedIn and Facebook.
  • Find a scheduling tool that works for you. My system of choice is Smarterqueue.
  • Set up a bank of key messages and reminders that can go out regularly on a repeat loop, e.g. we have a course that starts with a new cohort each month – we send regular reminders about that out and schedule repeat posts. Don’t forget that not everyone sees everything all of the time, so while you might worry about being repetitive, chances are that other people won’t get that impression.
  • Set time aside on a weekly or fortnightly basis to update your plan and schedule new posts.
  • Outsource where it makes sense to –  I work with a Virtual PA who updates the website and posts my blogs on a weekly basis – she then schedules posts to go out several times to share new information.
  • Build up a bank of visuals to go out with posts, incorporating brand colours and fonts and a mix of free stock images and brand photographs where you have some – we use Canva regularly for this  (again, my Virtual PA works on this on a regular basis).
  • While lots can be scheduled it’s important to show up in person consistently too – after all, it’s called ‘social’ media for a reason. If you don’t naturally find yourself engaging with others on each platform you’ve a presence on throughout the week, set aside some time each week to do just that.