Are You Larry?

Published November 7, 2014

I watched the amplification of social business happen last week at the CCH User Conference.

The conference had an app that all attendees were required to use to receive their CPE credits. Within the app was a social stream of all the things happening at the conference as well as a “social” scavenger hunt with various tasks and attendee “selfies.” The more posts and activities you completed, the more points you scored and were able to win prizes based on the leader board as well as participation.

The app created a small online community to gather and share information and the competition to win an iPad was fierce!

You see, there was a guy named Larry (Larry Sheftel, Chief Administrative Officer of AGH, LLC)) at the conference who built a personal brand within three days of being at the event.

I’m not kidding.

Within the CCH User Conference community everybody met Larry. They watched his thought leadership develop via the posts of the sessions he attended as well as knew exactly what he looked like because he took an extreme number of selfies with other conference goers. Since pictures earned you more points, he was able to build a valid business strategy. He said “One of my goals of coming to this user conference was to meet people. Everyone keeps coming up to me and saying, ‘Are you Larry?’ They act as if they already know me.”

Bingo! That's the genius of social business!

Now apply that to selling CPA services. Just think about how much easier it would be to talk to a prospect if they already knew a little about you. I say YOU! Not just the generic newsletter-type information most firms approve for firm team members to post publicly.

They actually get to know you.

Yes, this means your likes, your personality, your “selfies.” Each one of us is unique and it's that uniqueness that makes us “like” you. People do business with people. They always have. Consumers today want to know you at a “friend” level. By watching Larry’s social stream the other attendees were able to pick up that he was a nice and friendly guy - and he made smart comments about the content in the sessions he attended. Followers were his “friend.”

As we were sitting and waiting for the last keynote of the conference to begin, Larry went up to Teresa Macintosh, the CEO of CCH Tax and Accounting, and she immediately said to him "Are You Larry?” to which he replied, ‘Yes! Can we take a selfie?’

Larry was so excited that the CEO knew him! But it was true: more than 1,000 attendees and the CEO knew who he was before he opened his mouth to introduce himself. That's what personal branding and social business tends to accomplish.

Larry now has a blog written about him on Accounting Today. This is great because earning real press instantly pushes his reach further. Check it out!

Now, tell me again why don't you want to be on social?