Social Media Tools for Agency New Business: At a Plateau?

Four years into the RSW/US-Mirren Agency New Business Tools Survey, use of social media tools, as a category has plateaued with category usage at a strong 93%.

2014 through 2016 category trend

Among the “Big 3” – LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, agencies report:

  • Almost universal use of LinkedIn, with 99% of respondents identifying it as a tool used for new business, up from 97% in 2015.
  • High usage of Facebook for agency new business use at 89%, but even with last year.
  • Slight decline in usage of Twitter for new business, from 88% in 2015 to 83% this year.

Social media platform trends

Eight social media tools posted strong gains in reported usage ranging from +14 points for YouTube to +30 points for Instagram.

Over the past year, Instagram, with 72% of respondents indicating they use it for agency new business, leapt over YouTube for the #4 spot.

The common thread for all social media tools showing significant growth is a prominent visual component.

This shouldn’t be surprising, as the impact of visual content is noted widely across the industry, from HubSpot, 37 Visual Content Marketing Statistics You Should Know in 2016, to The Guardian, Why online video is the future of content marketing.

Still, being on social media just to BE there is not apt to have potential prospects parading to your sites.

Be sure to see the RSW/US – Mirren 2016 Agency New Business Tools Report.  It includes effectiveness ratings for all the social media tools, based on respondents’ experience.

On a related note, Social Media Examiner included the following data in their July 2015 post on the future of Google+.   The chart presents the percentage of all internet users that use each platform named; it also indicates the percentage of ACTIVE members on each platform.

members v usage

No question that social media can and do play important roles as tools for agency new business programs.  The key is being purposeful, intentional and strategic in using them. 

As with “traditional” media, define your audience and communicate WITH them with relevance through the most effective channels.  Create a plan and editorial calendar that keeps social media communications focused on information that will reach and engage your prospects.

If your firm is spraying social media content and praying that it generates new business leads, stop.

Be strategic.  Be methodical.   Identify objectives, test, learn, and expand what generates the best results.


Mark Sneider
Mark is a 30-year veteran of the consumer packaged goods, advertising, and marketing service industry. Mark started his career at DDB Needham in Chicago prior to earning his MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Business School at Northwestern where he majored in Marketing and Economics. Prior to starting RSW/US in 2005, Mark was General Manager for AcuPOLL, a global research consultancy. Sneider worked in Marketing for S.C. Johnson and KAO Brands. Sneider has been invited to speak at numerous Agency events and network conferences domestically and internationally including the 4A’s, Magnet, NAMA, TAAN, and MCAN. Sneider has been featured in prominent industry publications including Adweek, Media Post, e-Marketer, and Forbes. When not working (which often seems like not often), Mark likes to run miles, go to church, and just chill with a hard copy issue of Fast Company.