As I have long stated, new business is the ‘lifeblood’ of any agency. But acquiring those new accounts and brands has become increasingly complex and vastly harder to win over the last decade. However, those that have clarity, energy, courage and influence will continue to grow and profit!
Clients and brands, have all become more demanding, the competition much fiercer, more diverse and all agencies have been forced to evolve and adapt to a rapidly shifting, global marketplace or parish!
One area in particular has emerged as battleground — social media marketing. Traditional advertising agencies, PR agencies, and boutique social/digital shops can all be battling for a brand’s social media business.
One report I recently read by BIA/Kelsey, projected that U.S. social media advertising revenue will reach $15+ Billion by 2018. This means, with budgets on the rise, landing a piece of social media business can have a great appeal. It will also inspire the victors to strive for even bigger and better things!
According to the latest report on US Ad Agency and Media employment staffing levels, I am even more passionate and positive about having a Social Media Marketing strategy. This will be more important for growth and success in new business and business growth in 2018 than ever before. Especially if you want to increase client engagement and build the loyalty, enhance the trust levels and create a steady flow of leads.
But, that said, Ad Agency staffing has dropped to it lowest level (198,500) since since September 2015. (Peak figures in Ad Agency staffing in 2000 was 207,400. Remember back the dark days of 2009, ad agencies in aggregate cut an average 41 jobs a day. So putting social media marketing to work for your business is going to be the best way to grow your Ad Agency business in 2018.
Picture: Jobs from Marketing Fact Pack 2018 via Advertising Age
Importantly, President Trump recently stated
“So we’re at 3.3 percent GDP in December 2017. I see no reason why we don’t go to 4 percent, 5 percent, and even 6 percent.”
That’s great news for every Ad Agency and American business in 2018! And, I have certainly watched the rapid return over the first year of President Trump’s leadership and economic growth in the US, and importantly, the role it will play with our Industry and employment and staffing levels. In fact, it is currently now the highest level of employment in the US in the last 17 years.
Ad Agencies are hiring, and revenue is rising as digital drives growth across the spectrum of agency disciplines. In fact, in 2015 – Digital’s share of agency revenue topped 40% for the first time, and I know today’s clients are demanding greater ROI and impact. Clients also expect Agencies to excel at social media marketing, mobile and all things tech too.
Social Media Marketing (SMM) can build closer client relationships, create greater awareness and deliver more qualified leads. SMM can also activate your existing staff to leverage their relationships and influence when they use social media marketing for your agency and to showcase your skills, case studies, results and successes.
From my perspective, I think the key elements every Ad Agency needs to consider this coming year regarding their Social Media Marketing are:
- DON’T BE AFRAID TO BECOME A ‘SOCIAL’ AD AGENCY – Always remember that social media is about PEOPLE and importantly, connecting with other PEOPLE. Don’t make the mistake of leading your social media efforts with the brick and mortar agency (that’s old school and doesn’t work today). Agency owners need to be the face of the agency and use their personal social media accounts to engage with their prospective clients.
- ACQUISITION– I believe about 60% of marketers and agencies that use SMM platform solutions acquire new customers as well as increase their conversion rates. I also believe that more the progressive Ad Agencies that use Social Media Listening platforms will enjoy significant benefits in 2018 too!
- SERVING– I also believe that the majority of today’s best Agencies and marketers that have used of SMM platform solutions to serve their clients, have also helped them to retain them and their customers longer.
- GROWTH & ENGAGEMENT– Approximately 50% of Agencies and marketers using SMM platform solutions increase customer loyalty. (Your current clients are your best and most profitable clients too!)
- PROSPECT TARGETING – Industry benchmarking is a great way for a brand to see how it stacks up in social media against direct competitors and even others outside its sector. From ‘follower growth’ to average response time, to a host of engagement metrics, brands want to know how their social marketing efforts compare to others.
- PROSPECT AUDITING – Once a target has been identified, analyzing social media data can then be used to get a fuller understanding of the current efforts a brand has put into its social media presence. From Facebook and Twitter to LinkedIn and Instagram, brands have a variety of platforms to explore and leverage, and it’s likely they aren’t optimizing all their efforts.
- COMPETITIVE INTELLIGENCE – Social media analytics can show you which competitors are earning the most engagement — and what type of engagement around which type of content. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses, and the successes and failures, of a client’s competitive set can become a catalyst to identifying a unique creative idea.
Historical data — e.g. what did the industry players do around the Super Bowl this year and in previous years — can also be analyzed. What are the year-on-year trend-lines and how have competitors changed strategy and tactics over time is the type of intelligence required in today’s competitive landscape.
- CASE STUDIES – The case study is a ‘tried-and-true’ part of the agency new business pitch. With independent, third-party social media analytics, you can clearly show how your work for another client stacks up and the results you achieved. Results matter!
- MAXIMIZE CIENT RELATIONSHIPS – Retaining clients, increasing long-term engagement, increasing loyalty, increasing retention levels all benefit from using Social Media
- GET IN THE GAME – sitting quietly on the sidelines and not engaging, finding ideal customers, partners and employees is simply a bad idea. Using social media is the ideal way to showcase your company, your results, case studies, research, attract new opportunities and more.
I believe when agencies, new business and growth executives coupled with social media marketing professionals in their teams, they can produce and better manage content across all channels, launches and campaigns, and start seeing real business results, rather than just relying on the number of ‘LIKES’ they get to prove their strategies are working.
Since market leader Facebook was the first social network to surpass 1 billion registered accounts and currently sits at 2.06 billion monthly active users – there has never been a more important time to be in social media and building your business and brand.
Even, seventh-ranked photo-sharing app Instagram had over 700 million monthly active accounts.
Plus, the vibrant business community LinkedIn now has a massive member base of approximately 500 million B2B users! LinkedIn is also the largest publishing platform on the Internet too! And, having over one million Twitter followers in my Tribe, I know absolute power Twitter plays in TV, print, billboards, online and in every major advertising campaign. Please follow me on Twitter, @geoff_deweaver
CONCLUSION – Having been a power user and pioneer in the Tech industry, even launching Omnicom’s First pure play digital agency in San Francisco in 1999 with clients like: EA.com, TiVo, Shutterfly.com, E*Trade, etc. – I have always believed to excel in social media marketing and all Internet marketing today you must always:
- SET CLEAR OBJECTIVES– for using social media and all things digital. Ad agencies are going about social strategy backwards, by first concentrating on the tools and technologies instead of focusing on what they want to achieve. Their purpose and passion should dictate strategy, business objectives and the tactics used for reaching desired goals from a new business perspective and/or client
- CLEARLY FOCUS ON POSITIONING. I’ve said for decades, the foundation of an agency’s new business program is its positioning. Most agencies don’t have a differentiated positioning from their competitors – even the biggest Multinational Agencies today. That’s why new business is so costly, hard and not pushed. I’ve found that social media marketing actually makes it easer to resolve the problem with positioning and if done correctly, creates immense benefits.
- FOCUS ON BENEFITS: Agencies using social media for blatant self-promotion simply isn’t effective and is noise. Credentials and capabilities belong on an agencies website, which is your online brochure. Your website is all about you and how you can build engaging customer experiences and loyalty. But, the driving force of a social media marketing programs today, must be built from a focus that creates benefits for prospects. NOT US but THEM!
- NO INTEGRATION between blogging, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or even LinkedIn. When the majority of agencies finally ‘jumped in to’ social media, they just jumped in with a check list of channels. Yes we have a blog, Facebook Fan page, Twitter account and LinkedIn. But there was no convergence, bringing them together into a single social media strategy. A pure ‘Rookie’ mistake in 2017 and beyond.
- Agencies are waiting passively for prospective clients to come to them. If you build it, that doesn’t guarantee that prospects are going to come. You must have clear Calls-to-Action, initial steps that you’d like a prospective client to take. If done correctly, your first face-to-face meeting will be a paid engagement.
Finally, having personally been one of the most viewed profiles on LinkedIn and having ten’s of thousands of First Level Business Connections in New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Silicon Valley, Seattle, Dallas, Houston, Miami, Nashville, Chicago, Boston and other major Advertising centers nationally, not to mention my global network. e.g. London, Hong Kong, Singapore, Sydney, etc.
I have to say, for any agency today to ignore the millions of potential Sales, Marketing and Management executives on LinkedIn today is criminal and must be investigated and then implemented in 2018.
I have found, building and nurturing relationship not only keeps you sales pipeline full BUT, having a daily presence ensure you attract new leads in a strategic manner with the exact right companies and brands too.
Leverage your Agency on LinkedIn, prospect on LinkedIn, prospect in LinkedIn Groups, join LinkedIn Company Groups, check LinkedIn jobs and company pages, use their mobile and ad products, take advantage of InMail and send personalized messages quickly and directly to your best targets and always learn daily how to target your prospects with customized messages and ads that will convert better than the Ad Industry average.
Will you do me a favor? When you have some massive new business with your social media marketing efforts in 2018, can you please share your success story with me at firstname.lastname@example.org or simply drop me at line at: geoffdeweaver.com
If you need additional help in using social media marketing for new business, please email me to set up a time to discuss or request my guide and best tips for success!
To your social media marketing and New Business and Agency growth in 2018!
ABOUT GEOFF DE WEAVER:
Geoff is passionate about the art of influence, new business and presentation. His techniques can help you communicate and lead more effectively. As a global marketer, coach and workshop leader, Geoff makes mastering these advanced skills an enjoyable and achievable process. His sound business acumen and results driven approach have made him a trusted business advisor to many of the world’s leading organizations and their senior executives.
Geoff works with business leaders to ignite their courage and confidence so they can step up and step out in the way they engage people and communicate their leadership style. He is in high demand with CEO’s, CMO’s, directors, corporate executives and senior managers for his expert counsel and guidance in creating strategies for face-to-face communications and integrated global campaigns that are engaging and delivered with confidence and passion to key stakeholders.