Can social media help you build your business?

Dave Allen, BrandPie Founder, shares our thinking on social media to help other agencies and consultancies think through and develop their own approach.

Like many consultancies and agencies we have been experimenting and exploring different approaches to managing our social media over the last few years. I thought I would share our thinking to help other agencies and consultancies think through and develop their own approach.

What has become increasingly evident to us is that the true value in social media is the interconnectivity and interactivity between different social media sites not the specific channels themselves. It seems to require an integrated approach to get real value.

Before social media we recognised in the early 90s that if someone came across our consultancy name in the press, then saw us at a conference and then our name cropped up in conversation at an industry event they were more likely to contact us than if they just saw 3 ads in Marketing Week in quick succession. So as we built what is now The Brand Union we focussed on how we get these multiple exposures to occur.

The same logic seems to work in social media. When we set up BrandPie 6 years ago we noticed very early on the traffic moving between the 'who we are' part of our website and Linkedin people profile views. Today when our business development person talks to a prospect they increasingly go straight onto the website whilst he is talking to them and the same person then looks at Twitter or Instagram. This makes them decide on the spot if they want to meet with us or not.

To take advantage of this growing power we needed to develop an integrated approach to managing our presence on line and driving interactivity between the right channels. The channels we selected needed to be mutually reinforcing and not doing the same thing. That way prospects and potential employees can see the serious, the creative and the fun the side of our business.

As a rapidly growing consultancy based in London and New York we couldn't manage our profile everywhere and so we had to be selective. The question for us was what to focus on and what to walk away from?

After lots of debate we have concluded which social channels we think interact best and which ones we should focus on.  Rightly or wrongly, we decided we should focus on just 4 channels and work out how to build the connectivity between each.

The four we selected were Linkedin, Instagram, Shocase and Twitter. From our analysis this seems to be where potential clients and employees are going before or after they visit our website.

On Linkedin we are sharing thinking and building profiles for all of our people. On Twitter we are sharing news, knowledge and opinion. On Instagram we are conveying what it feels like to like to work with us and on Shocase we are sharing the work we have done for our clients once it is in the public domain.

So over the next few months and years we will be learning how to really use these channels in an integrated way to drive our on line business development strategy.

I thought I would share this thinking as I know other consultancies and agencies are having the same debate. We would be interested to hear about other successful ways of building awareness and consideration through social media and maybe get a conversation going within the industry.

From what I can see happening it is at last developing into a powerful tool that when integrated, used intelligently and with the right frequency can add real value.