Jim Tobin on the Current Landscape of Ad Agencies and Social Media

Advertising agencies continually have to adjust to an ever-changing landscape of marketing. That has never been more clear than the rate at which clients have jumped on social media, while simultaneously struggling to figure out how to approach the fast-moving technologies and possibilities.

To figure out whether agencies have caught up to the demand of clients to help them with social media, we recently spoke to Jim Tobin, President of Ignite Social Media, to find out his thoughts on the current landscape of ad agencies and social media.

Have most agencies caught up to the current social media landscape?

  • Most agencies right now are thinking about social media as part of the marketing mix
  • They have the same problem as they did five years ago; they only think about a part of social media
  • Only think about, "how could our ad or PR be better if we threw some social on at the end?"
  • That's the wrong way to think about it; need to think about social by design

What's the process agencies should use to integrate social media into the mix?

  • Create a business unit within an agency to take existing clients, and when the creative team goes off to think about the ad, a separate social team goes off to think about how social can help solve a problem
  • They will get back together and figure out where there's interplay and how creative and social can work together
  • Over time, you'll benefit, because people are doing what they do well, but you aren't tacking social media on at the end

Is it still difficult to sell brands on social media?

  • Ignite doesn't have these issues because they are a social media agency, but they still have to fight for and justify their budget 
  • Ask clients what the sign of success is when testing
  • Doing social media is not a business objective, so you shouldn't do it if it's not successful for you
  • What does success look like? Is it web traffic? An improvement in SEO? Is it registrations for a webinar? Email address collections?
  • If you can pick one of those and track that as the success metric, then develop a time-limited program and deliver on results, and then you can ask for more money from clients to deliver even greater results and run longer campaigns
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