Professional development and training blog of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
November 5, 2010

Using Social Media for Your Agency’s New Business Development

In my session at the PRSA 2010 International Conference I talked about how we at Bailey Gardiner use the Web and social media to support our new business work. Our work started with the recognition that we really weren’t taking our own medicine — we espouse the importance of the website as a resource for decision makers to our clients but were we using it that way? Did we showcase our work creatively? Did we provide understandable case studies and results? Nope.

We started with some research in our community to see how we were being perceived vs. how we wanted to be perceived. We looked at whether we were providing the type of information that would help someone make a choice about taking the next step with us or not. We evaluated the ease of navigation and whether the experience of our site was joyful or painful.
Then we did the geeky stuff we now love so much and looked at how we were doing in search. That was painful. We weren’t coming up in Google in all the places that we should have. We developed a list of ten key phrases we wanted to be found for and figured out how we were going to weave them into our website and blog.

We then took a look at the strategy for our blog, Facebook page, LinkedIn and use of Twitter. What were we doing there and why? Social media takes time and we wanted to be very clear about maximizing those efforts. We use each tool differently and find that each has a value in reinforcing brand awareness and new business development. Here are some examples to help you think about your strategies.

  1. Twitter: Rather than having a Bailey Gardiner handle, we decided to use a hashtag. The reason was because so many of us were already on Twitter with growing groups of followers. To have introduced a new BG handle from scratch that would have to be managed by a group of people that was already managing their own and client handles was onerous.
    So we all started using #bgsd in relevant Twitter posts and we streamed those onto the homepage of our website so visitors could immediately see that we walk our talk, as well as experience the dynamic nature of our agency. We used Twitter to drive traffic to our blog and develop online relationships with our community and the media. San Diegans who are active on Twitter now know the #bgsd hashtag and often use it to talk to us.
  2. Facebook: People who will like your Facebook Fan Page are generally people who already know you, support you and thereby … like you! Our fans (or likers) are friends, family and clients. They want to know what’s going on with us, and enjoy our creative, sometimes kooky approach to life and work. We use Facebook to showcase our creativity and personality.
    We post wacky photos, humorous videos, links to great client work and awards. We recently hosted a contest for San Diego Magazine to win tickets to their annual 50 People to Watch party on our Facebook wall. You could win tickets one of two ways: provide the best (subjective, yes) haiku about San Diego, or post a photo that somehow represents the letters B and G. We had 36 posts on the wall over a six-day period. They were smart, funny and engaging. We grew our followers and everyone had lots of fun playing along.

I hope these two examples inspire you to think about how your agency is using social media, and to get both strategic and creative in your efforts.

Indra Gardiner, chief operations officer and partner, Bailey Gardiner, oversees the daily operational needs of the agency. Indra has been a driving force in its transition to a creative digital shop. While offering a full range of online marketing solutions, including strategy, PPC, online advertising, e-mail campaigns and Web development, Indra’s primary focus is on PR, social media, SEO and all things geek. Indra assists in strategic online and PR planning for a variety of consumer and hospitality/destination clients. She believes the changes we are seeing in media, public relations and advertising require a change in how we think about customer communications and who is in control. Connect with Indra on LinkedIn and on Twitter at @bgindra and the agency blog, Don’t Drink the Koolaid.

For more coverage on the PRSA 2010 International Conference: Powering PRogress, visit PRSA Intelligence, follow #prsa_ic and the Conference blog.

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