A B2B Social Media Success Story: Freed Maxick & Battaglia, CPAs

Selling certified professional accounting services on the web is not easy and trying to get people to be a fan of such a firm on Facebook is even harder.

“We have to make the intangible; tangible,” said Eric Majchrzak, marketing director for Freed Maxick & Battaglia, PC, Certified Public Accountants. “I think that is what good professional services marketers do.”

Majchrzak,  along with E-Marketing and Communications Specialist Emily Burns, talked about how they used social media in conjunction with more traditional marketing and public relations methods, in order to promote their firm, gain new clients and create greater awareness of the company in WNY and across the country. The Tuesday night event was organized by the Social Media Club of Buffalo and was held at the Stephen M. Clement House American Red Cross Building in Buffalo.

One of the campaigns Majchrzak created and oversaw was a digital billboard on the inbound NY-33 Kensington Expressway and another in Rochester that not only promoted his firm, but also promoted any area non-profits that wanted free publicity.  Majchrzak used the billboard to strength his company’s ties to area non-profits and also to share their message with the community. The billboards were designed to look like a “Facebook” pages and even included a graphic depicting a Facebook plugin called Facepile. The billboards were situated by a downtown thoroughfare frequented heavily by commuters.

In exchange for the free billboard space, Majchrzak asked the charities to talk about the billboard on their social media networks, blogs, e-mails newsletters and website.

“So it’s no longer us talking about ourselves, it is other people talking about us,” said Majchrzak. “The reaction we got from people was really amazing. The campaign generated a lot of business leads because we have a non-profit practice, but also the emotional response was really exciting and not really expected.”

Digital BillBoard
Employees of Catholic Charities pose in front of the Freed Maxick & Battaglia, PC digital billboard promoting their non-profit organization. Photo courtesy of Freed Maxick & Battaglia, PC

Charities took photos of their “day” on the billboard and included them in e-mails to their supporters and board members, posted it on their websites and in some cases, organized group photo shoots in front of the billboard.

“We did not expect that. We did not expect people to drive out in their cars and get out on the highway,” said Majchrzak.

In addition to new business leads and increasing their community outreach, the campaign also helped Freed Maxick & Battaglia double the number of Facebook Fans, increased social media dialogue about their company by 400%, and lead to an estimated $100, 000 in earned media placements.

In addition to running campaigns with social media tie-ins, Majchrzak also answers questions relevant to his company on LinkedIN Answers and monitors conversations happening in social media. Majchrzak said listening and monitoring conversations is just as important as engaging.

“Through our monitoring programs I can direct one of our CPAs to answer questions,” said Majchrzak. This is inbound marketing at its best. You want opportunity to come to you.”

Majchrzak uses his Google Account to monitor conversations on social media including those on Twitter.

“I want to know when anyone says ‘Recommend accountant’ on Twitter,” said Majchrzak.

He also creates Google Alerts for terms relevant to his business, such as RFP, auditing, Erie County, and internal audits.

Majchrzak also uses Paper.li to create a daily “newspaper” based on business-related Twitter hashtags from reputable sources. He says Paper.li is free, easy to use and helps keep the followers of his company on the cutting edge of information while keeping his company “top of mind.”

Being on social media and running campaigns like the digital billboard, has helped to propel Freed Maxick & Battaglia into the national spotlight. He said all the national press, including appearing on Mashable.com, has given his firm local creditability, which in turn helps business.

“We’re in the business of trust,” said Majchrzak.  “Professional services are high risk and we need to prove credibility.”