Written by Ian Cleary

[Research] How Agencies Can Drive Better Results for Their Clients From Social Media

 

Do you know what other agencies are doing for their clients? You should! Here’s a look at what they are up to … and why it should matter to you.

Today, more than ever before, marketing agencies have to consistently get good results for their clients if they want to stand out in a crowded market and remain competitive. 

This is especially true for social media, where there are so many ways for agencies to drive real business value for their clients. Sometimes., the best way to get fresh ideas on how to improve the results we’re generating for our clients is to take a closer look at what our peers are doing.  

So, what are other agencies doing to drive results for their clients?

How are they improving productivity so they can achieve great results in less time?

We reached out to agencies to get answers to these questions and got some very interesting results. 

Here’s the breakdown of the types of agencies that participated in the survey:

How Agencies can drive better results for their clients from Social Media - Types of AgenciesNow, let’s take a closer look at the insights we uncovered.

Question 1: Which social media channels are bringing best/worst results in terms of unpaid tactics?

There were no surprises when it comes to the channels that deliver the best organic results for agencies and their clients. 

For both B2B and B2C Agencies, it’s the usual suspects: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. The laggard in the group was Snapchat with less than 8% of the surveyed B2C agencies and only 13% of B2B agencies reporting they generate good organic results for clients on this network.  

According to our research results, it appears that Agencies still don’t have a clear idea of the potential use of TikTok for driving growth for their clients. 

Unpaid Tactics

 

More than 80% of all surveyed Agencies reported they’re not using this platform even though it has a huge untapped potential for agencies to promote their client’s businesses to Gen Z and millennial markets. 

What is TikTok?

TikTok is a mobile app that can be used for creating and sharing short videos. With 500 million active users, and 1.5 billion downloads, it is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms in the world.

When it comes to its user base, TikTok is successful at attracting and engaging younger generations, with 41% of users aged between 16 and 24 (Globalwebindex, 2019) spending an average of 52 minutes per day on the app.

However, there’s a new trend appearing and there are more and more adults in the US using the app. In less than 18 months, the number of adult TikTok users grew 5.5 times!

Need some inspiration on how to leverage TikTok to promote your clients? Check out this article from HubSpot on how brands are using TikTok.

Messenger marketing

It’s also interesting to see that the use of Messenger marketing is picking up among agencies, with 26% of all surveyed agencies reporting good results on this channel. 

We expect to see more agencies using Messenger to promote their clients given the fact that Messenger marketing has 10-80 times better engagement than email. Messenger averages 70-80% open rates and 20% clickthrough rates! Source 

This level of engagement will not last forever and there are more rules all the time about using this for promotions but there’s still a great opportunity there.

When it comes to WhatsApp, 90% of all surveyed agencies reported they’re not using this messaging app. This is surprising to see since WhatsApp doesn’t really have competition among other messaging apps when it comes to the number of active users on the platform: 

Social Networks Monthly Active Users

Image and stats credits landbot.io

 

The challenge with Whatsapp is that there’s a lot of one to one communication and smaller groups. (e.g. a local sports team, a parents association group etc).

But if you do manage to get your message to a lot of these smaller groups they are seeing most if not all of the messages and are heavily influenced by what their peers say.

There’s also the potential that WhatsApp Business brings, allowing businesses to create a verified profile and engage users directly on the messaging app. 

Question 2: Which social media channels are bringing best/worst results in terms of paid advertising?

Facebook ads was the best platform for paid promotion, with 60% of the surveyed Agencies stating they’re getting very good results. Just behind it is Instagram advertising which is delivering great results for 57% of B2C Agencies and 40% of B2B agencies. 

In terms of underperforming channels, Twitter ads are delivering very good results only to 6% of B2C and 4% of B2B agencies. 

Question 3: Do you plan on doing more, less or the same of the following on social channels in 2020?

We wanted to get an idea of what Agencies are planning in terms of their client’s social media activities for 2020. According to the survey results, social ads are going to be in focus this year with more than 70% of agencies (both B2C and B2B) reporting they’re going to do more social advertising for their clients this year. 

53% of B2C Agencies are going to leverage Facebook Messenger Marketing more, 33% are going to increase posting in groups, while 20% stated they’re going to do less organic posting.

Social Channels in 2020For B2B, doing more Live streaming, posting to groups, and Messenger marketing becomes a bigger priority for 56% of Agencies. 

It’s no wonder agencies are planning to do more live stream videos for clients when live streaming surpassed 1.1. billion hours in 2019. 

According to the same source, 80% of audiences prefer watching live video from a brand than reading a blog post. Live video enables a more authentic interaction with an audience, which is why an increasing number of brands use this medium to communicate their message to target customers. 

Question 4: What are the most important things your clients look for when hiring you to do social media for them? 

Even though businesses are still largely treating social media as an ‘awareness’ channel, it appears that they’re also increasingly looking to get real bottom-line results. 

66% of surveyed B2C Agencies reported that their clients are looking to get sales from social media, while 60% said clients want to generate leads. 

Here’s how goals look like for B2B clients: 

Social Media KPIFor B2B companies, sales cycles are typically much longer than with B2C so for a large majority (86%) the top goal for social media is increasing brand awareness. However, it’s interesting to see that 56% of B2B clients still expect to see sales happening from social media activity. 

If Agencies want to precisely measure how social media activity is impacting sales for their clients, they need to track posts with the help of UTM tags. UTMs are snippets of code that you add to the end of your link so that you can identify in Google Analytics exactly how much traffic and conversion a specific post drove. 

UTM codes are easy to create using Google Campaign URL Builder or, if you’re using AgoraPulse to manage social media for clients,  it’s even easier to add UTM tags to your links from this tool. You’d simply turn on UTM tracking when creating a social media post. 

However, attributing conversion or sales to specific links shared on social media is the final piece of the puzzle. In order to effectively monetize your clients’ social media presence, you need to follow a proven process like the PRISM Funnel

RazorSocial PRISM Funnel

 

Question 5: What helps you become more productive on social media?

Let’s take a look at what Agencies are doing to minimize wasted effort and improve their social media marketing productivity. 

Most B2B and B2C Agencies (80%) report that they’re improving their social media performance by using technology and tools and knowing what works through Analytics. Having better-trained staff (60%) and being more creative than competitors (66%) also play an important part in achieving great overall performance on social media. 

Productivity on Social Media

Question 6: What type of tools do you use to be more productive or get better results with social media?

Agencies are always looking for ways to better optimize the time spent on different client activities and get more done in less time. 

That’s why we’re not surprised to see that 85% of surveyed Agencies use social media management tools to decrease the amount of time and effort it takes to manage social media effectively for clients. 

The second most used tools are Social Media Analytics, with 73% of B2C Agencies and 92% of B2B Agencies reporting they are using analytics to drive better results. Next to analytics are tools that help with social media advertising, which supports our finding that Agencies are planning to do more social ads in 2020. 

Here’s a detailed overview of the social media tools that B2C agencies use: 

Social Media Tools

 

“I was fed up trying to manage comments and feedback with Hootsuite streams. I was missing things all over

the place. Then I found Agorapulse. It is hands down the best social management software I’ve ever used.

Its totally intuitive interface saves precious time when you are running through a pile of social posts. Beautiful

reports for free. I recommend it all the time. Hootsuite has some real competition.”

–Karen Kleiss, Two Pennies Creative

Question 7: How has video performed on the following platforms? 

Video is one of the most popular content formats on social media and brands are increasingly using it to engage with the audiences that matter to them the most. 

But how did video content perform from Agency perspective across different social channels? 

According to our research, B2C Agencies (40%) had most success with Facebook native videos, followed by Instagram stories (33%). The worst performing videos were IGTV videos. 

Videos under 1 minute drove most user actions across all social platforms, except for YouTube where Agencies had most success with longer videos (1-4 minutes). 

Now, let’s take a look at how video performed across channels for B2B Agencies. 32% said Facebook native videos performed very well, followed by YouTube videos (28%) and Instagram Stories (24%). 

Video Performance on Social Platforms

Question 8: What type of videos bring the most engagement for your clients? 

From the clients’ perspective, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube videos are bringing the most value and results that they’re after. 

When it comes to video types, more than half of surveyed B2C Agencies reported that “How-to” educational videos and Fun company/product videos work best. Only 20% of Agencies said that Product review videos bring a lot of engagement on social. 

Most Engaging VideosFor B2B clients, “Behind the scenes” videos of the company, team, etc. brought most engagement. 

This just goes to show that a more authentic approach to video content makes it easier for people to relate with a brand and helps create stronger connections. Behind the scenes videos are great because they ‘humanize’ the brand and establish brand trust.

People ultimately choose to do business with people they like and trust and this type of videos show brand’s personality and that there’s more to a brand than its products or services. It shows that there are people behind the brand that care about the customer and delivering the best possible product to them. 

Question 9: What did your clients use Facebook Messenger Marketing for the most in 2019?

Messenger marketing enables brands to engage with their target customers in a more personal, conversational way. But what, exactly, are brands looking to achieve with Messenger marketing?

Our research found that most agency clients (46%) use Messenger marketing to promote a product or service as well as to re-engage with an audience. A very small percentage (6-8%) use it to share content. 

Facebook Messenger MarketingAgencies need to stay on top of the latest changes in Facebook’s policies for business communications on Messenger in order to understand associated restrictions and stay compliant. The changes that were announced recently will definitely improve the user experience on the messaging app, but they’ll also regulate more strictly how businesses communicate with subscribers. 

Starting March 4th, 2020, businesses will be able to message subscribers within 24 hours of a subscriber’s last interaction with that Business Page. If they send messages outside the 24-hour window, those messages must be tagged with one of the following: Confirmed Event Update, Post-Purchase Update, Account Update, or Human Agent.

Question 10: How did you generate sales from social media for your clients in 2019?

This was a big question and the answers show that driving targeted traffic to a website from social ads still brings the best results in terms of sales. This is true for both B2B and B2C agencies. 

73% of B2C Agencies said that social advertising drives most sales for their clients, while 66% said they get the best results with retargeting. 

The results are very similar for B2B agencies:

Generate Sales from Social MediaAccording to Statista, social media ad spend amounted to more than $89 billion in 2019 and it is projected to reach $102 billion in 2020. The analysts found that this growth has to do with businesses looking to further monetize social media channels. 

Question 11: What are your best tactics for minimizing ad spend and maximizing results on Facebook? 

The majority of surveyed agencies (60% B2C and 84% B2B) reported that they use retargeting to boost conversions and lower the ad spend and the overall cost of customer acquisition. This just goes to show the positive effect of showing ads to people who previously showed interest in the advertised product.

Agencies also reported that better imagery and use of video also play an important part in improving the results of Facebook ads. 

But, is it better to use images or videos as part of your Facebook ad campaigns? A recent case study from Hubspot showed that a video generated 20% more clicks than an image used for the same ad and targeting. However, this doesn’t mean video works better in every scenario – you’ll need to do a lot of testing to conclude which works best for each client/campaign. 

Minimizing ad spend and maximizing results on Facebook?

Summary

To help sum up all that we’ve uncovered in this research, here is a checklist of things to help you improve the results you’re driving for your clients from social media: 

  • Create captivating organic content for Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. 
  • Focus on channels that are proven to bring good results in paid promotion i.e. Facebook ads and Instagram advertising.
  • To keep up with other agencies in 2020, focus more on Live streaming, Posting to groups, and Messenger marketing.
  • Make sure you can deliver real bottom-line results for clients i.e. leads and sales. 
  • Use social media management tools to minimize time waste and improve productivity.
  • Leverage Facebook native videos and Instagram stories to engage target audiences.
  • Create more “Behind the scenes” and “How-to” educational videos for clients. 
  • Use retargeting to minimize ad spend and improve results on Facebook. 

Want to find a social media agency that can help you even further in your social media marketing? Check out our global directory to find a digital agency near you.

Ian Cleary

We help B2B businesses drive more traffic and sales through inbound and outbound marketing. Ian Cleary is founder of RazorSocial where he provides practical and strategic advice to B2B companies through consultancy and training for all areas of Digital Marketing/Content Marketing. He is an Inbound and Outbound Marketer! When he's not working from his office in Dublin he's keynote speaking at marketing conferences around the world. He is an exciting and entertaining speaker that is consistently listed as one of the top rated speakers at any event he speaks at. Here's a couple of recent achievements... ♦ Listed as the 8th most influential person in social media globally by Onalytica in 2016 ♦ Listed as one of the top 100 online marketers globally by Brand24 in 2018 ♦ Listed as one of the top internet marketing blog globally by INC Q1 2016 ♦ Listed as one of the top 50 content marketing influencers globally in Q2 2015 ♦Contributing author to Digital Marketing Superstars, published by Entrepreneur.com ♦ Top 40 Digital Strategist in a recent annual report by Online Marketing Institute in the US ♦Winner of "Best Social Media Blog" annual blog award by Social Media Examiner 2013 to 2016 ♦ Professional speaker speaking at many international events. Martech, Social Media Marketing World, Content Marketing World and Tbex. ♦ Awarded as one of the top rated speakers at Content Marketing World ♦ Published in Forbes, VentureBeat, Entrepreneur.com, Huffington Post, Social Media Examiner, MarketingProfs and many more. ♦ Co-founder of the Content Marketing Mastery conference with Mark Schaefer