3 ways agencies can succeed in social

Published: Monday 13th May 2013

Most marketing agencies have a social media profile or two. And most are active (although I found a few that are not so chatty!). The big question though is whether there is any point to social when it comes to agencies.


Does social actually help with pitches, increase leads and RFP requests; or is it really all about company culture? Is social part of the business development mix.

Given that studies show that almost 70% of a business purchase decision is made online before prospects talk to you, I would suggest that social has a bigger part to play than as a showcase for company culture. We know it generates leads. We know it supports pitches and RFPs.  We track our social media all the way through. So we know it works.

So how can agencies succeed with their own social profiles?

1.     Cobble your own shoes

It sounds obvious, but agencies need to know their audience in social. It is what we advise clients, but as always, cobbling one’s own shoes is often the last thing a shoemaker wants to do. So we spray our social posts out and hope that a prospect might engage.

First off, you need to look at your prospects: What do you know about your targets on social? Do you connect with every future client you meet? A deeper dive might reveal some interesting findings about your audience. For instance, we know that the best time to reach the c-suite of marketers is Sunday late afternoon. We can see that this is when they jump onto social networks and take some time to look what’s happening before their week begins.

By knowing who of our clients and prospects is online and where they network, we can focus our efforts.

2.     Move away from ‘me’

A quick review of agency Twitter profiles reveals that as an industry we do like sharing stuff about ourselves. We talk about the awards and clients we win. We tell followers about our cake bakes, the fun we have as an agency. And sometimes we tell them about systems failures and mistakes we made!

What we should be doing of course it talking with clients and prospects. Widening our network with useful, informative content. A well-placed case study managed as a social campaign can generate leads and certainly adds to credibility.

3.     Targeting the sweet spot

For most of us in agencies creating content is natural. A part of who we are.  But when we take a peek into social we see that content that appeals to clients and prospects is not always obvious. We miss the opportunity to make it more relevant.

Take a look at your prospects and targets in social media. What do they like to talk about? What matters to them? Marry this with your messaging, thought leadership and you begin to build a personality in social that appeals to clients.

But it is more than content. Agency social profiles are busy. Lots of different conversations, tones and topics. Business development in social needs consistency. Campaigns and ongoing programmes give you a chance to raise the bar on thought leadership and test the value of your social activity.

Give it a go – one solid social campaign where you measure results in terms of leads and audience activity. You might be surprised.

Getting serious about social has its rewards. It is so much more than a reach tool. With a bit of smarts and a little more focus it will support your business development.

Katy Howell, Immediate Future