Is Twitter A Viable Source For Ad Agency New Business?


According to ComScore Inc., Twitter attracted 21.2 million U.S. visitors in July, up 783,000 from the previous year. Right now only 26% of companies use social media for business purposes, but 70% have plans to jump in according to a recent Russell Herder Survey. However, just getting involved does not guarantee you success. Twitter is so new that it is almost impossible to predict what will succeed and what might be an embarrassing failure!

Twitter is still a relative black box and I am very skeptical of anyone who claims to know how to leverage Twitter in a business setting. According to Jeffrey Kalmikoff, Chief Creative Officer for Threadless, nobody has any idea of what they are doing on social media. “It’s just how comfortable your company is in taking risk. Some things pay off and some things don’t.”

What agency leaders have to get comfortable with is that to connect with your target clients on these new media like Twitter, you have to cede absolute control of your advertising message. A very uncomfortable feeling for agencies that have spent their whole lives perfecting one way conversations, versus generating open dialogues where consumers can be extremely blunt.

If you take a look what’s happening out there, there can be little doubt about Twitters ability to influence public perceptions and awareness. JetBlue’s recent Monthly Pass Promotion became a trending topic on Twitter just after it went live in market. According to Lindsey Petersen from JetBlue’s frequent flier program, they were “completely bombarded”. Less than 36 hours after launching the promotion they were concerned about having to pull the promotion due to a lack of seats.

And here is a great agency example. A couple of months ago Barry Judge, CMO for BestBuy, Twittered after a meeting that he had just met with two people from Crispin Porter and that he thought that the agency was “the smartest agency on the planet”. The chatter that ensued from that tweet about Crispin was pretty amazing.

In my day to day discussions with various agencies, I find that:

  • Some feel that Twitter is waste of time because it is full of inane chatter between people that do not matter or have no influence.
  • Others are a little scared of it and to be quite frank are not sure how to get involved.
  • There are those who are involved but really do not use it seriously. They too send inane tweets and have no plan or strategy.
  • There are those few who are serious about Twitter. They have a plan, they are active, experimenting and making an effort to make it work. Some are even reporting some significant successes.

So, you can choose to sit on the sideline and wait for the “fad’ to pass, and maybe it won’t. Or, you can get involved, take some risks, experiment and find out for yourself if it works for you. You will never know until you try.





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