Expert

Accounting for Reputation: How a Regional CPA Firm Racked Up a Huge Media Win

By March 28, 2016 No Comments
Does the thought of an accountant put you to sleep? Wake up and read about one firm that used content to strong advantage.

Aside from tax tips before April 15, accounting firms are often at a loss for good stories to tell. But Yeo & Yeo CPAs & Business Consultants, based in Saginaw, Mich., discovered a trove of stories hiding in plain sight.
Accounting firms overall suffer from a dearth of women partners: The Accounting MOVE Project, an annual report about women in the profession, found women comprised only 22% of accounting partners and principals in 2015.
Yeo & Yeo does better, with women comprising about 25% of its partners and principals. And the firm is ramping up an innovative career development program with initiatives to help propel more women to partnership.
That’s big news in the world of accounting, and Yeo & Yeo Director of Marketing Kimberlee Kelley realized that it might be big news to the public, too.  Launching in summer 2015, the firm’s social media campaign featuring the stories of its women leaders netted over 32,000 impressions. Here she talks about the campaign.
Q: The real key to this campaign’s success is the engaging personal stories shared by Yeo & Yeo’s women leaders. How are these different from the standard bios used by every professional services firm? 
A: These bios tell the personal stories of some of our leading women professionals. Beyond a list of credentials we took a feature approach, an approach that shared the human element to engage readers. Women shared their personal triumphs, and personal struggles. They told their real stories – stories that tugged at the heartstrings. We did not drive what we wanted them to talk about. We gave them a questionnaire with some general, open-ended questions. It was up to them to choose what they wanted to share, and we were amazed at how they shared such personal details.
Christine Porras leads our payroll services group. Her husband was killed in the line of duty in 2006, and she chose to share that, and how the firm supported her at that time.
Q: Why was it important to use three media channels to get the word out about Yeo & Yeo’s women leaders?
A: Glassdoor is one of our active recruiting sites. LinkedIn, of course, is our professional network.
And Facebook really reaches the community. It was Facebook that generated the most shares. Some women reached out to some of the women at our firm to learn more about their career experiences, and that has raised our profile as mentors for women within each of our markets.
Q: Yeo  & Yeo is a regional firm, with offices throughout Michigan. What can other regional companies take away from your social media success?
A: If you’re not using social media, you should be. No matter what size business you are, we have a chance to reach out locally, regionally, nationally and internationally, through social media. You’ll reach a broad audience….not only those in your network following you, but those who share the content. That’s a shadow market. You never know who you reach when your content is shared.
People want to do business with…people. They see the bullet points about your credentials, but will you and I be a fit? They want that information that gives them the personal connection. With social media, the rates are affordable. All you need is time and creativity.