The Top 10 Social Media Questions Ad Agency Clients are Asking

top social media questions clients want answers

Ad agencies need to understand what top questions their clients and prospective clients are asking about social media and be prepared to provide answers.

Marketers are mostly new to social media. A significant 88% of marketers surveyed are using social media to market their businesses, BUT 72% have only been doing so for a few months or less.

Michael Stelzner, author of the book, Writing White Papers: How to Capture Readers and Keep Them Engaged, commissioned a study that simply asked, “What question about marketing with social media do you most want answered?” From that study here are the top 10 questions your clients want answered regarding social media marketing:

  1. What are the best tactics to use?
  2. How do I measure the effectiveness of social media?
  3. Where do I start?
  4. How do I manage the social balance?
  5. What are the best sites and tools out there?
  6. How do I make the most of my available time?
  7. How do I find and focus my efforts on my target audience?
  8. How do I convert my social media marketing efforts into tangible results?
  9. How do I cohesively tie different social media efforts together?
  10. Does social media marketing work, and if so, how effective is it?

What is the best way to prepare your agency to answer these questions?

 Practice what you preach and use the tools you recommend your clients use. Don’t just talk the talk but walk the walk. Social media is so transparent you’ll not be able to hide your agency’s lack of understanding and preparedness.

Additional report highlights:

  • The top benefit of social media marketing: The number-one advantage is generating exposure for the business, indicated 81% of all marketers, followed by increasing traffic and building new business partnerships.
  • The top social media tools: Twitter, blogs, LinkedIn and Facebook were the top four social media tools used by marketers, in that order.
  • Social media tools marketers most want to learn about: Social bookmarking sites were ranked of highest interest, followed closely by Twitter.
  • Business owners were more likely to use social media marketing (90+%) than employees working for a business (81%).
  • After only a few months and with as few as 6 hours a week, more than half of marketers have generated qualified leads with social media marketing.

This link will provide you with the entire report:  Social Media Marketing Industry Report: How Marketers Are Using Social Media to Grow Their Businesses

photo credit: milos milosevic via photopin cc

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 would also add to the list: “What is my commitment in terms of time and resources?”

  2. Michael,

    I enjoy reading your blog posts and often share with others. I especially liked your last point about the best way to prepare the agency to answer these questions.

    Most of the agencies and their employees are stating they know social media and understand the interaction but many aren’t using the tools. Often times you won’t find them on twitter or if they are they have no image, no bio, no location and no updates in 30 days. I often follow agencies just to see how they are leveraging the tools to build their own brands and it is often frightening.

    Mike D. Merrill
    Chief Bacon Maker and Marketing Strategist
    Bacon Marketing
    twitter @mikedmerrill

  3. I’m in pre-launch mode for a new website that will rely on social media, and I’ve started actively targeting people to follow on Twitter who are thought leaders as a pre-cursor to choosing someone to work with. I’ve got all these questions, of course, but I’m also interested in the “show me the money” aspect of demonstrating command of the tools!


  4. I would add to the list:
    Is this form of communication just a fad or is it here to stay?
    What will be the next big thing in social media?

    These questions are asked my nearly every client even it they are not currently engaging on this medium. And, I agree with the advice of practice what you preach–you’ll understand it a lot better and be able to answer these questions.


  5. Krista, Laura, Mike and Guillaume: thank you for your input!

  6. I clicked through and read the Stelzner full report. It’s interesting to read, but … I do question the usefulness of the statistics as being applied to the greater business market.

    At the end of the report is a brief description of the survey participant demographics. The survey invitation went out via Twitter — so is it any surprise that Twitter is the most popular S.M. tool used by these respondents?

    Also, it’s reported that “nearly half” of the survey participants are sole proprietors like consultants or freelancers. It’s highly likely that their marketing practices are going to be quite different from larger firms, because the cost of traditional communications tools are simply beyond the financial means of many sole proprietors.

    These are just two examples, I could go on …

    Nonetheless, reports like this are interesting, if only for looking at directional indicators. It would be worthwhile to see results from a similar response group surveyed at the end of this year or the middle of 2010, and then compare those results to this March 2009 benchmark.

  7. Thanks for your input Phillip.

  8. Another question companies are asking:

    How can I control leaks of sensitive company data due to social media posts by my employees?

    Revealing survey by Proofpoint:

  9. Alex Sommerkamp says:

    I think the biggest question right now is “how many traditional ads will I have to sacrifice to dip my foot into social media.”

    For mid level managers who’s job depends on the success and ROI of their budget, it’s almost to risky to try.

    Keep my job or attempt social media marketing.

  10. Alex,

    It’s back to school for all of us in the ad industry.

    All through college and two graduate degree programs I’ve worked 40 + hours a week. I looked a social with the same intensity and persistence to do what I needed to do work wise while getting up to speed on social. That meant nights and weekends to get it done.

  11. Aren’t almost all of these *tactical* questions? Where is the strategy component? You need strategy before you determine the tools and tactics best suited to your goals, deliverables, timeline and budget… Just my two cents for consideration…

  12. This is a great, well summed up post and we have come across all these questions with our clients and kicking off social media programs.

    Another question that we get is: “How immediate are the results?”

    Clients tend to think they are going to achieve stellar results and success overnight with hundreds of Twitter followers or Facebook fans and closed deals!

    While these SM channels do have a fast response rate, we have to remember that’s its still not overnight success. Its takes time, consistency, sincere engagement and quality content to build a following, trust, and see these channels turn gold.

    Yasmin Bendror
    Affect Strategies

  13. Good post, Michael. The following post/chart is helpful in mapping social media tactics to stages in the buying cycle. (may be more helpful for B2B marketers with considered purchases)

    Joan Damico

  14. Very much appreciated Joan and thanks for sharing the chart.

  15. I still agree with @Elisha Kasinskas .

    Where is the strategy?

    It’s not smart to dive head first into the shallow end of the pool.

  16. Elisha, Alex. Good points but remember that the questions actually came from the clients. It is helpful to know what they are thinking, what their questions are, irregardless of whether they are off-base. It helps us to know how to engage and respond to them. What I gleaned from the study and the questions, the vast majority are involved with social media but they’ve only been doing so for a short period of time. Clients, like most agencies, don’t have a strategy when it comes to social.

  17. It is our job as the agency to educate our clients about the proper way to look at social media.

    It doesnt matter how long they’ve been utilizing social media if they don’t have a strategy. Their iniciatives will be like driftwood and float around for no one to look at. and in a worst case senario, ridicule you for making a fool of yourself / your client.

    “Clients, like most agencies, don’t have a strategy when it comes to social.”

    Are you saying this is an acceptable best practice?

    It should be the agency’s job to prevent their clients from making foolish decisions like diving into 3 feet of water.

    if you accept that lack of strategy, you will have a whole pool of clients with broken faces.

  18. No, no, no, a thousand times NO. I’m not saying that at all. I always begin with a strategy and advise others to do the same.

    That they don’t have a strategy isn’t acceptable for the client nor for the agency.

    IT IS HELPFUL to understand where they are with social, what their perceptions are and what questions they have to better help them.

    It would be a great thing for agencies to be able to prevent clients from making foolish decisions with social but most agencies are in the dark as well.

  19. Glad I stumbled across these questions. Very useful questions to be answered.

  20. I agree with “practice what you preach.” I see a lot of ad agencies or self promoted “gurus” spouting advice, and when I check their own blog / fb / youtube / twitter streams, they look either 1994 or look like the work of spambots.

    As to strategy, I agree it’s nice to have a clear direction. But one thing I have learned about different social media is that they are all slightly different, and every company / person needs to find what is most natural or effective for them, what they will practically use. What they will PERSONALLY use. It does no good whatsoever to pay an ad agency to pontificate about strategy (on your dime) for several months and then spend another several months “executing” that strategy. Hop in. Get a twitter account. Start using facebook et al. Then once you get your feet under you, you will be much more likely to select an appropriate strategy. In the absence of a grand plan, let your strategy be: 1. be real. 2. don’t be fake. 3. look for ways to help your customers.

  21. Good additional insights John. Thanks.

  22. #10 I this question use to stump me, as I didnt have the studies on place to make a clear point. Good tips, will help new marketers prepare for the possible objections

  23. I completely agree, here’s some of the tools we use: 5 Valuable Online Tools for Agencies and Entrepreneurs

  24. Number 10 is my favorite and least favorite question. So easy to say that it builds name recognition or something broad. Truly knowing the effectiveness takes a lot of research and time to both understand and speak intelligently about.

  25. I fully agree with you Jon.

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