Ad Agencies: 7 tips that will prep social media success for new business

ad agency new business

“It’s not the will to succeed, but the will to prepare to succeed that makes the difference.”  Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant

It wasn’t until 2010 that most small to mid-size ad agencies gave up fighting against the social media tide and decided to dive in.

When most agencies finally jumped into social media, they had a check list that merely showcased how they were a bona-fide member of the social media community.  From the get-go they were not prepped for success.

We have an agency blog – check; Twitter account with the agency’s logo – check; Facebook Fan page – check; LinkedIn account for the agency – check!”

No strategy. No specific audience. No positioning and no appeal. Instead of using this new communication channel as an opportunity to showcase how they were different, they ended up looking just the same.

They are positioned online the same way they were offline – as a generalist instead of a specialist and once again following the “safe-way” instead of the “smart-way.” 

Is there any wonder why most agencies are not having much success using social media to create new business opportunities?

As a new business consultant. I understand the need for acquiring new business NOW. But short-term solutions will not provide long-term results. 

To be prepped for success using social media for agency new business, here are 7 tips that I hope you find helpful:

  1. Identify and connect with a specific target audience. Face it, most agencies are afraid to put their stake in the ground and even identify their target audience. You would never recommend a marketing campaign for a client without first identifying who they are trying to reach.
  2. Lead with benefits. Social media helps agencies to talk in a new way from the self promotional agency speak of the past. For success with social media, it’s about them not you. Your communication and content should be focused on your prospective client audience and be of benefit too them.
  3. Differentiate from your competitors. You wont win any significant business by showcasing how you match up with the rest of the agencies. You must un-level the playing field. Set yourself apart. What would give a company a reason to fly  across a number of states and over hundreds of other agencies, to do business with your agency? Social media provides a great opportunity for your agency to stand out.
  4. Become a specialist instead of a generalist. Our world is becoming more and more specialized and the internet and social media allows you and your agency to become more specialized than you dared offline.
  5. Create chemistry.  Remember that social media is about people. You lead with a person, not the agency. People want to work with other people that they know, trust and like. Social media is the greatest networking tool in my lifetime. I’ve built my consultancy utilizing it; building a network with agencies all across the U.S., Canada, Europe  and South Africa from my home in Alabaster, Alabama. How incredible is that?
  6. Develop appeal. One of the great benefits for using social media for new business is the instant feedback from your audience. It allows you to easily test your message and hone your appeal. It forces you to give up the “agency speak.” Analytics will provide insight into the needs, challenges and objectives of your prospective client audience. Your community of prospects will let you know whether or not what you communicate is of value to them.
  7. Earn positioning as a “thought leader.” Thought leadership is a critical component in using social media for new business.  But you will never attain such status without a platform and focus. Social media provides a great platform. You much choose your area of focus if you are to have success.

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photo credit: Leo Reynolds via photo pin 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. rachael hammer says:

    Another valuable take on an evolving topic; thank you Michael! My teammate and I were just discussing the need to be more strategic about which channels we’re using and what type of content we’re posting. An exercise we found of value was to categorize how our target audience interacts with each channel. Based on these insights, we can tailor the content to provide the maximum value. And continue the content strategy cycle: have a strategy, do more of what works, less of what doesn’t and try something new.

  2. Glad you found it helpful Rachael. Your feedback and insights are very much appreciated.

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