What to share in ad agency social media programs

You should read a good POV that social media guru Tom Martin crafted in Ad Age. He makes a strong argument for why agencies should share their process liberally.

When I read the story, I was nodding my head all along the way. But then, of course, didn’t think he was meaning my humble little outfit. All this sharing is fine for the other guy. But not me! Hell to the no.

What a silly, ego-driven reaction. And I can’t help but think that agencies – you guys – reading the story might have the same reaction yours truly did.

You could be reading now about how and why we think this kinda thing. The reaction is old school…a little snobby…yadda yadda… Whatever. Consider yourselves saved! We’re not going there today. (Because it ain’t helpful for you. And makes me feel all fuddy duddy.)

Instead, let’s explore… a comment yours truly made on Tom’s POV: sharing, as a concept, is great. When it’s done right, it can increase the number of pitches you get and help you close more efficiently. But what an agency shares should be considered on a case-by-case basis.

So, what exactly does that mean?! What follows are some guidelines to get you started…all of which can be painted with a big, fat social media brush.

Consider sharing things that wouldn’t break client confidentiality. As an industry, we have a pretty good idea of what a client would consider secret.

Consider sharing things that might, for instance, make a public company’s annual report. You’re not going to find too many secrets there. The thoughts and words have been carefully sweated over and discussed ad nauseum internally – way before you see them.

Consider sharing other’s work. You might be thinking, “now, that really is nuts.” But hear me out. Remember back in the day when account guys used to xerox a trade article and send it on to their client with a quick little additional thought?! That article – no matter what is – is someone else’s work.

Consider sharing things that are relevant, helpful and interesting. This is as much a “how to” than a “what to” share thought. If that feels too broad, apply it to, say, typical client problems and how you’ve helped people solve them. Thinking case study? Good. A lot of things agencies typically share is based on the humble case study.

This whole sharing thing is the basis for many, many a new business prospecting program! Both online, and, more importantly, offline. So there’s a ton of other things to think about. Additional thoughts or comments more than welcome!

P.S. And by the way, as you can tell, I’m happy to share. Feel free to comb through these posts for some genuine, honest to goodness value. May I recommend Pitch Predictor?! Free of charge.

But I don’t share everything. Just enough. After all, Papa’s got a mortgage. Is the idea of what one might share on a blog another sharing lens, particularly if you’re the least bit fuddy duddy?



  1. Steve Congdon says:

    I was just talking with a friend of mine, George Brumis, (http://www.rfpmd.com) about this topic. He said two interesting things:

    If you really have some magic, don’t share it. Clients should pay! My perspective: it’d better be real special. George is getting at a very interesting notion that’s worth another entire post: does sharing de-value our business?!

    Is the level at which you share related to your position in a given industry? If you’re at the top, do you share less? If you’re at the bottom, are you more willing to share more (to get to the top).

  2. To Steve’s comment — IMHO the only true magic is creativity… the ability to connect old dots in new ways to solve previously unsolved marketing challenges… you can’t share that because it doesn’t exist until you create it.

    Everything else — well it’s already out there in one shape or form. So sharing it (like a good recipe) might point folks in a direction but as I said in my post… it’s not about the recipe but the chef. That’s where the real magic lies.

  3. Steve Congdon says:

    Thanks for the comment, Tom. Agree on the chef. It’s a good analogy here. Maybe there’s more to the chef that meets the eye – his/her techniques, tools, training, past meals, etc. It’s all making me very hungry!