The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) founded in 1887, is an organization of Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) in the USA. It has more than 390,000 members in around 128 countries spanning across different business and industry, government, public practice, education, international associates and student affiliates. With the bench strength greater than 390,000 members, the AICPA (American Institute of CPAs) is always aiming to engage tools of community- building with a simple goal of helping its members not only to connect with one another but at the same time sharing best business and industry practices. The AICPA leveraged social media platform like LinkedIn where they constituted a group for members-only which helped them to create a professional environment ideal for its members to interact among themselves online. It also acted as a channel where AICPA could share beneﬁcial marketing and educational tools with it’s members. This enabled the group to grow by 40% and attract around 54,000 members within 6 months of its inception.
Business Objective of AICPA:
Main aim of member engagement team at AICPA was building an online community which helps its members and accounting professionals to connect with colleagues/peers and exchange ideas about their businesses and industry. The need was to constitute a group only open to members, as this would encourage a free exchange of opinions, ideas, suggestions relevant and valuable to the group members. Another advantage would be that this kind of group will in addition, allow AICPA’s members to improve their skills in the social media landscape, and at the same time can be promoted as one of the benefits of joining AICPA.
Strategy/Approach Adopted By AICPA:
AICPA members look at LinkedIn as the best and natural platform for professionals and industry experts to interact socially. AICPA, to achieve this objective created a LinkedIn group open to only it’s members , thus enabling them to take advantage of a community which is open to suggestions, sharing of ideas, having organic discussions and where they can demonstrate thought leadership. The AICPA promoted the LinkedIn group’s availability through Social channels, LinkedIn Display Ads, email signatures and newsletters.
- The Display Ads not only helped to increase in membership in AICPA but at the same also raised awareness regarding key accounting and profession initiatives.
- Subgroups that were Interest-speciﬁc allowed the members to discuss special topics in depth.
- AICPA also used these groups to share information and news about important resources such as toolkits and webinars.
- These groups were positioned as the key benefit of being a member of AICPA.
Results Achieved By AICPA:
The AICPA’s group has seen a tremendous growth and accounts for about 15% of the total membership of the association. The key results of this strategy are as follows:
- Growth in group membership to the tune of 40% by mid 2013, i.e. in just 6 months!
- More than 54,000 members of the group.
- LinkedIn has emerged as one of the top driver and contributor of trafﬁc to the AICPA website.
- Creating professional groups on Social media platforms like LinkedIn not only provides the AICPA members a platform to gather online, but at the same time it also helps in raising awareness of the company/brand.
- Being active on social media networks like LinkedIn helps professional Co/brands to highlight resources as well as connect with new members, as most prospects professionals/users spend most of their time on LinkedIn.
- This shows another important feature of social media marketing where a careful and strategic usage of social media network helps the co./brand to not only increase it’s engagement but also enhance its footprint in the form of more members.
- Efficient use of social media helps to turn your current users into your promoters.