Five Social Media Hacks for Professional Service Firms in 2016

Based on our study of how top Detroit firms – including law, accounting, engineering, architectural and staffing firms – used social media in 2015, there are five simple things that can boost the effectiveness of professional service firms’ social media efforts in the year ahead.

(The study, “Social Media Use by Professional Services” or SMUPS™, analyzed social media usage by 25 of the top metro Detroit professional service organizations on their four most popular social platforms: Facebook; Twitter; LinkedIn; and YouTube.)

Data from the SMUPS study indicate that firms looking to optimize their social media presence in 2016 should:

1. Put more effort into LinkedIn. Our study showed that less than one quarter of the typical professional services firms’ social media posts were aimed at LinkedIn. This is despite LinkedIn’s position as the most important social network for business people … and the fact that professional service firms generally have a much larger following (avg. 167,000+) on this platform. Go where your audience and reach are biggest, and leverage those numbers.

2. Post more 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 share media coverage. Firms can increase their credibility and reach by leveraging their earned media coverage … and by acknowledging the reporters and/or the publications that are covering them.

3. Strive to always use a visual. Studies show that people prefer visual content because it is four times more memorable and more engaging than text, yet nearly two-thirds of professional service firms’ Twitter posts do not have visuals. Taking the extra step to plan for and post a visual is well worth the effort. Everyone reads pictures.

4. Become more interactive. While most professional service firms cite engagement as an immediate goal for their social media presence, only six percent of the reviewed professional service firms’ social media posts on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are actually interactive-type posts that encourage engagement. Help people engage with posts that ask questions, conduct surveys, seek opinions and ask people to express themselves.

5. Focus on the audience. Social media experts stress that at least 75 percent of posts should contain something that a company’s audience finds valuable. Yet, most professional service posts – 79 to 88 percent, depending on platform – do the opposite and focus solely on the firm itself. Focus more attention on the audience’s interests and share more relevant third-party content to keep it interesting for your audience.

Our SMUPS study reviewed 90 days’ worth of posts from 25 of the top Detroit-based professional services firms selected from Crain’s Detroit Business lists. For more information, please visit: or

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