Ad Agencies: 6 Social Media Steps That Changed Client Perception

It is hard for agencies to change the perceptions of their clients but social media can make it easier.

Stacy Carter is the creative director/partner for a small agency in downtown Charlotte, ABZ Design Group. Her agency’s primary focus is community hospitals. A couple of years ago, with the help of her staff, Stacy launched a blog called “CreativeTriage.” The site is generating an impressive amount of traffic for this very narrow niche.

“Social media solved one of ABZ Design Group’s greatest challenges – changing current clients’ perception of our business. CreativeTriage, our community hospital blog, raised our profile, increased online awareness and improved search rankings. The added bonus was tangible ROI with existing customers.

After launching in summer 2010, we quickly noticed that our clients were among the thousands of monthly readers. We tailored our content to change their perception of ABZ and our capabilities. As a result, we were no longer seen as a vendor but as a marketing team leader.” Stacy Carter

Stacy shares these 6 social media steps that changed client perception:

  1. Monitoring readership and engagement. It’s been critical to watch who is viewing and what is getting the most readership, click thoughs and comments.
  2. Being relevant. We wrote to the marketing needs of our clients and provided solutions for campaigns and long-term strategies. These posts not only solved their problems, but also answered questions for other key players in our industry.
  3. Exposing clients to our offerings. Early on, we defined how we wanted to be perceived by prospective clients. Tailoring our posts to those same goals exposed current customers to this expertise.
  4. Responding to conversations online and off. We added value both in our blog comments and in customer meetings. By resourcing CreativeTriage with clients we highlighted how we could help without selling.
  5. Giving back. We looked for opportunities to spotlight our services and those of our clients. One example was a video ABZ created pro-bono to raise awareness about cancer resources.
  6. Sticking to our plan. Attracting new clients and changing current client perception did not happen overnight. But ABZ found that it was worth the effort to nurture the relationships we have with customers of more than 20 years.

Experts write. If you want to be positioned as an expert, content creation is a prerequisite.

Stacy’s writing is directed by her clients’ interests, concerns and challenges. She often left client meetings with a number of ideas for new post articles. It evolved into Stacy’s personal continuing education program. She had a focus for her writing, assimilated information much quicker and became better at articulating it. The content was right on target and had great appeal.

Clients were often seeing solutions to problems and concerns coming from Stacy’s blog. Content was promoted and often shared through other social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and driven by a popular community hospital marketing eNewsletter.

When I searched “community hospital marketing” in Googletwo of Stacy’s posts were right at the top of the organic search results. That’s because she consistently uses an SEO strategy, her content has focus and is specific to a very narrow niche. Her posts are naturally optimized for search engines.

Talking with Stacy it is evident that she is excited about the future of the agency and our industry. She’s developed a system that helps her to stay relevant but more importantly to lead.

What has content marketing and social media done for you?

Connect with Stacy: Twitter and LinkedIn

Some of the recent post articles from Stacy’s blog, CreativeTriage:

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. Very helpful post – thank you for sharing! I agree that writing with SEO in mind is so important! I’m curious about how you handled your #1…? Social tools help monitor the number of views, and where the click-throughs came from, but how do you know WHO is viewing? Am I taking this comment too literally? Or is there a tool that allows for this type of tracking?

  2. Services such as Hubspot allow you to know who is viewing. But apart from that it is known through engagements through comments such as yours, Retweets in Twitter and who is sharing your info across other social media platforms. Just prior to reading your comment I was thanking a dozen or more people who had retweeted some of my posts. Reviewing who liked posts that were republished through my LinkedIn, Facebook and Google + accounts and responding to someone who had just viewed one of my boards on Pinterest.

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