Discover how to generate inbound leads and create an agency new business program through social media.
This is a more personal post than I have written in awhile. I hope that some of the discoveries and insights that I have had through my pilgrimage into social media will be of help to you and your agency’s new business efforts.
If you don’t know me, I am a new business consultant to advertising, digital, media and PR agencies across the country.
My point of differentiation from other agency new business consultants is “fueling ad agency new business through social media.”
Social media is the central to my recommended new business program for ad agencies. That doesn’t exclude traditional methods but I’ve found that social media provides the central hub for agency new business program that can consistently generate qualified, targeted inbound leads.
My epiphany for utilizing social media for new business came this stat from a CMO study conducted in 2007:
80% of decision makers say they found the vendor, not the other way around.
There was a definate paradigm shift taking place in the way new business was being acquired. Social media and a down economy accelerated the shift. Instead of chasing prospects it was now more important for them to find you.
Having directed new business for most of my advertising career, when I started my own new business consultancy I was determined to use the tools that I recommend my clients use. In my first year of business social media was rapidly becoming mainstream. I had a passionate curiosity to learn how social media could be used from a new business perspective.
I quickly discovered a major obstacle that would be a primary deterant for agencies. Participation in social media was very time intensive. It took a lot of late nights, early mornings and weekends to get up to speed and a lot of time and energy to stay ahead of the curve. But I also learned a to have a disciplined approach to social media that allowed me to become better at time management online.I discovered many tools and techniques that enhanced, simplified and even automated my efforts.
My next discovery was best practices for increasing an agency’s online footprint. The best central social media platform, at least for now, is a blog. As important as it was in the past to have an agency website it was now equally important, to have a blog. The agency website was being relegated to the position of an online brochure, the blog was to become the “gateway” to the agency.
The more I participated in social media I discovered another rich nugget … social media actually taught agencies to do new business the way they should have been doing it all along. Social media compels you to choose a target audience, you can no longer be everything to everybody and generate any significant traffic.
Here are some additional lessons gained through using social media for ad agency new business:
- It’s hard for people to socialize with an entity such as an ad agency. The agency needs a face, people must be involved and it needs to begin with the agency’s principal(s). People have a natural tendency to want to work with people that they know, like and trust. Social media greatly accelerates and expands networking opportunities.
- For the agencies that find themselves in a perpetual state of re-branding, social media simplifies the process. Social media has become the best agency brand/positioning tool I have ever used.
- If agency principals are willing to do only two things they can provide their new business director with what they need to build a consistent new business pipeline that can easily be maintained by junior level staff or even interns, even when the agency is covered up with work. All they need to do is basically read and write. The content they provide pays back their time and energy a dozen times over and has a long life, repurposed through multiple social media channels such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, email newsletters and SEO.
- Social media compels agencies to lead prospective client conversations with benefits instead of agency capabilities.
- Instead of agency speak, such as “our proprietary process,” they learn to speak with words that resonate with their target audience.
- Agencies can affordably build awareness among their best target audience well beyond their geographical location.
- Social media provides engagement and feedback from an agency’s best target audience to determine what is or isn’t appealing and greatly improve upon an agency’s appeal.
- Agencies can continue to obtain new business through traditional methods. “You don’t have to throw the baby out with the bath water.” Social media provides additional opportunities.
- It is a powerful presentation when an agency can demonstrate how they have used social media to promote their agency. They are practicing what they preach and using the tools they are recommending to their clients and prospective clients.
I’ve witnessed a recent change in agencies attitudes toward social media. Most have stopped debating the value of social media and are now willing to jump in. Here’s my advice to those agencies willing to participate:
- Choose a target audience and a point of differentiation for your agency. Think narrow and deep rather than broad and shallow.
- Find the online resources that provide enlightenment to you and will be a helpful resource to your audience. Use Google Reader to organize your online reading.
- Create an agency blog, center it around people, not your agency. Allow it to live apart from your agency’s branding. Keep in mind, relationships first.
- Set a goal to reach your first fifty post in a short window of time, such as 30 to 60 days. The first five post are the hardest. It will become progressively easier as you continue to write. Remember, you don’t know what you know until you write it down. Read and write your mind clear and you will accelerate your learning curve in social media.Fifty posts will also provide credibility to your blog (provided its content of value to your audience) and the content that can be repurposed through other channels.
There are many additional resources within my blog that will be of help. If you have questions, please feel free to email them to me.
Additional articles that may be of interest:
- Top 25 Ad Agency New Business Through Social Media Articles
- Four Ways Social Media is Changing Advertising Agencies New Business
- Social Media “Teaches” Ad Agencies to Promote Themselves the Right Way
- Is it the end for cold calling as an agency new business tactic?
- Ad agency having explosive new business growth by leading with social media