Posted September 13, 2010 6:20 pm by with 0 comments

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Most advertising execs are quick to jump on the social media bandwagon when it comes to marketing a product to consumers, but when it comes to marketing themselves, not so much.

A recent study by RSW/US took a look at the business-to-business social media habits of a variety of ad agencies. As reported by Brandweek, 54% of the agencies polled said they never or rarely use social media when prospecting for new clients. Of those that did use social media for outreach, LinkedIn was the clear favorite getting 51% of the vote. Facebook polled at only 9% and Twitter less than that.

The agencies polled complained that in general, it was getting harder and harder to reach marketing execs and they blamed it on the budget. With revenue down, many people have had to take on more responsibilities within their companies leaving them too overloaded to respond to any type of outreach. Mark Sneider of RSW/US says,

“People don’t have the time to answer their phones, check out e-mail and be active in the social scene. That [fact] even more so justifies a need to make sure you’re in all those touch points.”

If marketers are so slammed, why aren’t they hiring an outside agency to help lighten the load? Again, money was mostly to blame but they also pointed to the fact that hiring a consultant slowed down the process and they were perceived as having conflicts of interest and limited value.

This is where social media can help. Sneider says that sites such as LinkedIn offer a way to get one-on-one time with an exec you’d like to pitch to. But it’s not enough to just send over your list of accomplishments.

“What’s more important here is not the tool, but the message. Where people are falling down is in simply pounding their chest and talking about how great they are.”

If you’re going to use social media for outreach, you must make sure your message is tightly on-point and useful. Don’t send a request for a meeting, send an idea and you’re more likely to get heard.

Do you use social media to prospect for clients? Or have you ever hired a consultant whom you “met” over a social media channel? We’d like to hear both sides of the story.