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Agencies, what's your social media strategy? [tutorial]

socialmedia

Image via Tom Fishbourne

As an agency, even if social media is not your prime platform for gaining clients, you still need to be on it. No one is going to take a branding, marketing or web agency seriously if they aren’t using social media. That means you’re going to have to cultivate a social media following, whether you like it or not.

You have a lot of freedom to dictate your own social media strategy. Think about how you want to use social media. Many agencies use it as an industry “watercooler”, using their social media accounts to share content and inspiration with other creative professionals. Others - especially those who focus on work for a specific niche - focus on business and branding advice for that industry. Others will use social media to promote the personal brand of the company founder.

A good social media account can help bring you brand recognition, raise your profile within the industry, and bring in more clients. In this article we have a look at how agencies can use different social media platforms:

Agencies on Facebook

Pretty much everyone has a Facebook account these days. People check their Facebook throughout the day - what they’re looking for are interesting articles, discussions and images to distract them or entertain them while they take a break or wait for the train. When using Facebook for your agency, think about these things;

  • People aren’t on Facebook talking about business. They are there to look at cool links and comment on their friends’ walls.
  • Instead of focusing your attention on a Page, you could create a Facebook group around a certain topic - for example, if you’re a content agency, you could create a group for bloggers. A branding agency could create a group for graphic designers, etc. This is a great way to build your reputation within the industry (as well as giving you a pool of talented applicants to draw on for contract and in-house roles).
  • Don’t just share links - think about video, podcasts, images, infographics and memes.
  • I find posting 2-4 times a day on Facebook is great, as long as you aren’t only pushing your own content.
  • Experiment with boosting important or popular posts. Facebook will alert you to posts that are doing particularly well.
  • Status updates tend to get lost in the newsfeed. Include an image with every update and this will help you become more visible. I like to screenshot Instagram pics and use these.
  • Share creative quotes. Inspirational images with uplifting or funny quotes are some of the most popular shared items on Facebook.

Agencies on Twitter

Twitter is a place to connect with industry professionals. Your clients probably aren’t hanging out there, but important influencers in your industry definitely are. Twitter is where everyone hangs out when they go to a conference, or an exciting piece of news breaks.

Here are some ideas to get the most out of Twitter at your agency.

  • Retweet and link out to other awesome stuff more often than you tweet your own links.
  • You can retweet the same link multiple times.
  • Create a funny or sharable new hashtag and start a new trend.
  • Twitter is fantastic for events and “real time” social media - it is basically a micro-blog. It’s nearly impossible to tweet too much (although, don’t go crazy).
  • Use Twitter to send messages to writers, PR agencies, journalists, bloggers and other media professionals - it doesn’t feel as personal and pushy as an email or Facebook message. I like to follow journalists to see if they ever need a source for a story.

Agencies on Pinterest

Pinterest is a way to store inspiration - an online “pinboard” where you can store images in collections that you can refer back to later on. The users of Pinterest are overwhelmingly female, and they often use Pinterest to collect inspiration for craft projects, wedding planning, home decor, kids, and creative projects.

I must admit, I don’t really understand the point of brands using Pinterest. To me, while it’s easy to build up a decent audience on the platform, it’s harder to correlate time spent “pinning” with a ROI for the company. It’s not a place where users really interact.

However, if Pinterest is your platform of choice, here are some tips for using it:

  • Use Pinterest as a space to collect your own inspiration. For example, create a board for branding that appeals to you, another for clever web design, another for interior design you love.
  • You can also use Private boards on Pinterest to collect inspiration for client projects. Share the board with your client and get them to add their own images.
  • Let your personality shine through in your choices. Try to collect boards according to themes - colour or content themes that resonate with you.
  • Don’t forget to pin your own projects, as well as images from your office, or even your own outfit photos. If these get repinned, your URL will follow them around. A highly pinnable picture can result in hundreds of hits to your website.
  • Add text to images and create special quote-based or DIY images to share - include your business name and URL as part of the text in the image.
  • Install a Pinterest browser button so you can pin images whenever you see them.

Agencies on Instagram

I’m seeing a lot more agencies using Instagram to help raise their profile. It’s a great medium for creatives - the square picture format is attractive and eye-catching, the freedom to edit images using filters and apps ensures you can create a truly unique page. It’s neat to be able to share little visual snippets of agency life.

Here are some tips for making the most of Instagram:

  • Use hashtags. This is how new followers will find your feed. Use sites like iconosquare to find out popular hashtags to employ.
  • Cool-toned images appeal more than warm tones, although this may alter as trends change.
  • Get the whole team involved with creating images. Fox example, you could get your team members to add a personal image once a week - maybe of a beloved pet or their garden project. It’s a fun way to get to know everyone a bit better as well as having new social media content.
  • People want to see the faces behind the company on Instagram. Don’t just show off your projects (although you definitely should), take a picture at the staff party, snap the funky stencil on top of your coffee, and definitely get some pics of your charity triathlon team.
  • Use “still life” techniques to show your creative process - photograph images and typography mood boards, or show off some early drawings for a project. Clients are fascinated by this behind-the-scenes glimpse.
  • Don’t go Insta-crazy. I wouldn’t post on Instagram more than once a day, and it can be less than that - a few times a week is all you need. Think of Instagram as simple images that convey what’s going on for the whole day/week.
  • Use trending hashtags for the days of the week to create fun company images - eg. #Throwbackthursday, #mancrushmonday. This article explores the most popular weekly hashtags and offers some ideas for brands.
  • Keep it consistent. Use the same set of filters or overlays on all your photographs. This creates a consistent style and means that your followers can always tell which images are yours. Have a look at different filters and photoshop actions for your Instagram pictures - A Beautiful Mess have some lovely actions.

Is your agency getting the most out of social media as you could do? Remember, you’re unlikely to get a ton of new clients through social media, but it’s a great tool for building brand awareness and establishing your company as experts in your particular field. Choose one or two platforms to focus on, and get sharing!

Which social media platforms is your agency using? What are you doing to improve engagement and follower numbers?