Advertising Agencies are Social Media Posers


Hope you are well.

I have worked in the agency business in Canada and the U.S for a long time with great agencies such as DDB, JWT, Ross Roy and O’Leary and Partners. I worked on New Business often, as I loved the hunt and the pursuit of New Business.

I learned a lot from my mentors and was very successful at landing new business because I knew how to turn prospects into relationships.  I was always a relationship person and a networker.

Now networking is increasing in importance and we have the tremendous growth of social networking.

Over the last few years I have also conducted many agency searches.

I have done agency reviews for Jenny Craig, Villeroy & Boch and recently Raley’s Supermarkets.

With the popularity of social networking, all the agencies recommend involvement on social media.

Prior to my meetings with them I find that they aren’t very robust on social networking themselves.  They have few followers on Twitter, few Facebook Fans and aren’t very active on Linkedin!

The icons for these platforms aren’t on their site.

They don’t practice what they preach.  They are posers.

I am just a consultant yet I am more robust than most agencies I meet with.  I am one person and they are full companies, yet they lag.

Agencies are great at marketing their clients but they aren’t very good at marketing themselves.

Their excuse it the old cobbler’s kids story about their children not having any shoes.

That is not an excuse for these times.

They need to practice what they preach.  Agencies often tell me that they are the world’s best kept secret.  What if they went to their clients after the end of the year and said “Great news client.  You are the worlds best kept secret!”  They would get fired.

Why is it acceptable for agencies? They own their businesses.  It is their asset.

Time for a change.

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6 thoughts on “Advertising Agencies are Social Media Posers

  1. Hank,
    You nailed it. Thanks for this post. I feel the same goes for interactive departments, youth and Spanish divisions as well. Trying to be all to the masses.
    Looking forward to more honest posts like this.

  2. I think there’s a misnomer on “practicing social media”. If an agency doesn’t have a Twitter account (or whatever), it doesn’t mean they don’t understand that tool. Indeed, understanding it might actually persuade an agency that they shouldn’t use it.

    And that’s the misnomer. Advertising agencies don’t have to go out and buy billboards to prove they know how to do billboards. But if an agency doesn’t have a Facebook page, or a blog, or whatever, it turns into an indictment of their knowledge of social media.

    Now that said, an inactive social media presence implies that they did run out and get the shiny new thing without understanding what it can do for their brand. And that’s an indictment.

    But not having a Facebook logo on the agency site isn’t.


    It’s the difference between the theoretical and the actual. Reading about social media isn’t the same as producing it.

    Until we began our company blog and became active on Twitter and LinkedIn, we didn’t truly appreciate the amount of time and energy it takes to create and maintain these channels. Now when clients ask about social media, we can give them the straight dope and let them decide.

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