Should Ad Agencies be Expected to Have a Presence in Social Media?


Study: Cone finds that Americans Expect Companies to Have a Presence in Social Media. The results of the study refer to the 60% of Americans who use social media.

93% of “social media users” expect companies to have  presence in social media. 85% believe a company should not only be present but also interact with its consumers via social media.

“The news here is that Americans are eager to deepen their brand relationships through social media,” explains Mike Hollywood, director of new media for Cone, “it isn’t an intrusion into their lives, but rather a welcome channel for discussion.”

The results of the Cone Study refer to the 60% of Americans who use social media.

If this is the expectation for companies, what about the same expectations for ad agencies? Should they not also be a participant? When agencies should be leading you’ll find a significant number of small-to mid-size agencies are not even participating. They are woefully behind when it comes to social media.

Almost 60% of Americans interact with companies on a social media Web site, and 25% interact more than once per week, Cone Business in Social Media Study says.

  • 56% of American consumers feel both a stronger connection with and better served by companies when they can interact with them in a social media environment.
  • Americans believe that companies should use social networks to solve my problems (43%). Companies should solicit feedback on their products and services (41%).
  • Companies should develop new ways for consumers to interact with their brand (37%).
  • Companies should market to consumers (25%).
  • Men, a much sought-after target in the online space, are twice as likely as women to interact frequently (one or more times per week) with companies via social media (33% to 17%, respectively).

“The news here is that Americans are eager to deepen their brand relationships through social media,” explains Mike Hollywood, director of new media for Cone, “it isn’t an intrusion into their lives, but rather a welcome channel for discussion.”

Harder-to-reach audiences are ripe for social media interaction

A way to involve your agency in social media is to use these tools for your agency’s new business. Used correctly, you’ll build a community of highly targeted prospective clients.

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About Michael Gass

Consultant | Trainer | Author | Speaker

Since 2007, he has been pioneering the use of social media, inbound and content marketing strategies specifically for agency new business.

He is the founder of Fuel Lines Business Development, LLC, a firm which provides business development training and consulting services to advertising, digital, media and PR agencies.


  1. I generally see social media as being best used by businesses that sell tangible goods to consumers. I see them cultivating relationships with their customers by getting feedback and letting them know about deals. I see ad agencies as being pretty much business-to-business since they don’t interact with consumers _as the agency_.

    That’s not to say that social media can’t be used by agencies; I just don’t think anyone has figured out how to use social media for B2B just yet. We’ve only recently begun to see how blogging can help people in this arena (talk about what you know, share your observations, establish yourself as a thought leader that way) but I don’t think we’ve figured out how to leverage things like Facebook and Twitter except to promote our blog posts and start discussions.

  2. Brad, Thanks for taking the time to comment.

    I think agencies should be at the forefront in figuring out how to use social media to promote their agency and secondly to the benefit of their clients. B2B or B2C.

    Off Madison Ave, Phoenix, AZ is generating 5 new business leads per day through social media. The Holland + Holland agency, Birmingham, AL sent a note to me this morning that they had met with a national brand completely outside their SE region and was asked to submit a proposal. The lead was generated through their blog, She-conomy. I can testify to how social media has impacted my own business. Not only discussions but business.

  3. A bit of a leap of logic in your post but none-the-less, a solid conclusion. Social media is absolutely a good way to grow business both in terms of “knowledge leader” which can get you in the door with clients and to actually contact leads.

    While I’m not seeing 5 leads a day, I have had instances where I’ve made a connection via LinkedIn that I could not make with traditional offline approaches.

    The big learning here is that if a decision maker is playing in the social media world (LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.) he/she is no longer behind a gatekeeper. So, while the gatekeeper screens the stuff you mail him/her, that hurdle disappears in social media world.

  4. Tom, Thank you for your participation in this discussion. Excellent points.

  5. Oh, yes. Ad agencies need to be involved. Even if they have no intention of participating in the social media space for their clients.

    Social media is a major trend. Failing to get involved seriously hampers creative output. Agencies with little to no contemporary experience create offline ads that fail to connect with current audiences.

  6. Thanks Laura!

  7. I think agencies need to decide if they feel social media will benefit them in securing new client or leads and if so make it part of their overall strategy. Organizational choice.

    However, whatever an agency decides to do for themselves… they MUST understand the impacts of social media and the way to use the tools to benefit their clients and to be able to now do integrated strategies that cross all the boundaries. It is no longer an option.

  8. Agencies absolutely should have a social media presence. It’s a critical part of the mix these days, and how can you truly understand it, and how to use it properly if you don’t use it for yourself? Agencies need to practice what they preach if they expect people to see them as experts.

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