The single greatest impact upon my life professionally has been social media. It has changed the way I conduct my day, it has changed my perspective, it has impacted my intellectual outlook and it has become the best new business tool that I’ve ever had as a business development professional.
I’m writing this post from my hotel room in London, England reflecting on how far I’ve come since I was introduced to social media over four years ago when I started my consultancy. I have worked with new clients all across the United States from Costa Mesa, CA to Port Clyde, Maine and now my first overseas client located in the UK.
From my home office located above my garage in Alabaster, Alabama, I have built a global awareness for my services and established an international network of prospective clients solely through social media.
Almost every new business opportunity has come about the same way. Usually a prospective client is introduced to my blog ‘Fuel Lines’ by searching for “ad agency new business” through Google or they will click on a link to one of over 600 articles that has been repurposed through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or through a bi-weekly email newsletter. A growing audience helps to make my content viral. Acting as your brand ambassadors they fan these articles through their personal networks.
After becoming a reader, when a prospective client has a need for my type of service, they initiate the contact. This is a new business person’s dream because you’re not having to constantly chase business. You merely read and write, providing helpful content to your audience. The ones who are drawn to you will initiate the contact when they need help with their new business and social media efforts. I have yet to make a single cold call for any business since starting my consulting services.
A prospect who initiates a call and talks to you as if they know you. That’s because they do! Social media has allowed them to get to know a great deal about you. In their own time frame, they check under the hood, kick the tires and check out the upholstery so to speak. Rather than going through the dating process you’ve moved directly to engagement shortening the purchasing cycle.
You need to look at social media as a savior not a nemesis, an asset rather than a liability and time saver rather than time killer for ad agency new business.
Agencies were reluctant to participate as social media was becoming mainstream because they saw it as a major commitment of their time without much value to show in return. Fortunately a lot of negative perceptions of social media has been changed. But I don’t believe the majority of agencies have yet to appreciate the huge benefit that social media can actually make new business easier.
Most agencies generate new business through networks and referrals. Social media can greatly accelerates this process. It is networking on steroids. Taking its offline networking expertise online, an agency can now affordably create an international reach for its services.
“Kudos to all! Our social program is generating leads and business from around the world. Earlier this year got a client out of Australia and currently talking to a company in Japan that follows me on twitter” – John Sonnhalter, CEO, SONNHALTER
Utilizing social media can help you to be more consistent for new business. You can keep your prospective pipeline full even when your agency is busy with client work or you are away.
At the beginning of the summer, while my wife and I were vacationing in Key West, I wrote a post and published it along with a photo while on the beach. I wrote, “Vacationing with Social Media and Still Generating Ad Agency New Business,” to illustrate how social media can keep your new business pipeline full even when are away.
With very little effort I have created, maintained and am growing touch points through social media networks with my best prospective clients and all I’ve had to do is read and write.
Click here to view some of my London trip photos I’ve shared on Facebook.