#Taxes: The H&R Block Social Media Blitz
They started last year, giving each local office its own social presence with a Facebook page and Twitter account, and tweeting out pictures of tax pros holding up individuality-driven signs from the handle @IAmHRBlock. They used Expion’s Social Advocator tool to distribute brand-created content via local offices, supplying a more personal feel to brand-wide initiatives. But enough about the past. What’s H&R Block cooking up on social media this year?
They’re making themselves an authority on all things tax-related.
Does your tax accountant tweet out infographics like this?
Probably not. They’re probably not sosh enough. But this is a key part of H&R Block’s strategy: educating and advocating transparency to foster engagement, building the public’s trust, and then drawing in customers.
Another thing H&R Block does to assert its authority as Head Tax Honcho is maintain an active blog called BlockTalk—“Tax Stories, News, Tips, And Advice From Professionals That Do This Everyday,” according to the tagline. Rich, informative posts like “Ways to Prevent Fear of Missing Out, Tax Refund Edition” and “How to Handle Cash Payments for Income Tax Purposes” get tweeted out with questions and succinct intros that snappily address customer pain points and effortlessly guide them towards the site:
Claiming the standard deduction is a common mistake made by taxpayers. What deduction should you choose? http://t.co/QDYixnKoTa
— H&R Block (@HRBlock) March 5, 2014
This was H&R Block’s most engaging tweet between March 4-5 on Twitter, with 253% more engagement than the hourly average from this report period and 144 mentions. That’s an interesting insight, especially considering H&R Block was so active about its robust #Hipstertax campaign during this couple of days (more on that below). Does this point to customers wanting more hard information and less entertainment from their tax experts, at least in the social media sphere?
#Hipstertax: They’re reaching out to millennials.
For tax season 2014, H&R Block has rolled out a website called hipstertaxcrisis.com which practically begs for social media shares, from the Hipsterize Me feature which allows you to upload a picture and imbue it with “hipster” properties to the promise that they will donate to charity for each share. There’s even an H&R Block-sponsored Irony Games in Seattle, to “celebrate life, music, and ironic lifestyles while raising funds for homeless children.” Awards for Best In Scarf and free PBR are promised.
As a part of the Hipster Tax Crisis, a Hipster video series starring Kenny Mayne premiered on YouTube on March 1.
H&R Block is rapid-fire loading videos onto YouTube like “The Flavor Savers – Hipster Tax Rap” and “Kenny Mayne’s Hipster Group Therapy.” Their videos average 17,000 views each:
And this is what the same numbers for TurboTax, a major competitor, look like:
TurboTax has a significantly larger audience, but they’ve also pumped out about five times the videos. We’ll be intrigued to see if the Hipster Tax Crisis campaign is successful in catching H&R Block up to its competitor—if greater quantity turns into a greater amount of viewers.
But H&R Block isn’t neglecting a broader audience, AKA anyone who “wants their billion back.”
H&R Block’s marketing strategy earlier this season with their “Get Your Billion Back, America” set the stage for the current hipster-oriented social media blitz. The bow-tied gent so disturbed that America “left a billion dollars on the table” has made appearances on Jimmy Fallon and Ellen, as well as on endless commercial line-ups and H&R Block’s Twitter feed. But he did more than just that—he created a broad base of brand awareness, which #Hipstertaxes is now capitalizing on.
Divide to conquer.
H&R Block definitely keeps this adage in mind to rule its Twitter strategy. They have an active handle for just about every part of their business. @HRBlockNews is the @CNN of H&R Block:
H&R Block rolls out tax season contest for teachers http://t.co/wbYSKjgYxp
— H&R Block News (@HRBlockNews) March 5, 2014
@HRBlockAnswers deals with questions and complaints:
@HRBlockAnswers customer service won back my business. After long convo abt ipad app prob, I received reimbursement check. Thank you!!
— Katie Ricks (@ricksinthemix) May 3, 2012
And @HRBlock showcases all that sexy social media work (and website-directed content) they’ve been doing:
— H&R Block (@HRBlock) March 5, 2014
H&R block has built one of the savviest social strategies by identifying a need, developing resources to address it, and making it fun and consumable for everyone. They’ve applied the same logic to their social strategy that they did to become a successful business. What other companies have you seen who take their social strategy to this level?
I’m the Head of Marketing Communications here at Simply Measured, where I'm responsible for our content program, social media marketing, PR, and comarketing ventures. I love yoga, The X-Files, peaty scotch, hiking, and poetry. If I were a social media channel, I’d want to be Instagram, but I think I’m Twitter.