It Doesn't Matter if the Client is Ready for Social Media

IStock_000006367063XSmallSome of the most persistent reasons agency PR pros give for lagging on their Social Media knowledge? 

“My clients aren’t ready for it … It’s not as big a deal in B2B … etc.”

Newsflash: it does not matter if your clients aren’t ready.  The mainstream media are ready.

Forget (for a minute, if you must) the fact that the rest of the world is becoming increasingly engaged in Social Media.  The fact is that the Mainstream Media are getting religion.

Yesterday one of my colleagues noted, “I was accustomed to ‘stalking’ the same set of reporters for years.  I’d get press clips, sure, but the relationship was very controlled.  Since I became friends with these guys on Facebook, we’ve become actual friends. When they visit SF, they ask me for hotel and restaurant recommendations, etc.  And, I get a LOT more coverage for my clients.”

Please note that this team member’s clients are among the most techie, B2B, curmudgeonly folks on SHIFT’s roster.  The use of Social Media to influence end-users on these clients’ behalf is relatively minor (if not non-existent).  However, the use of Social Media to influence the beat reporters in their industries is now a priceless part of our approach.

Imagine if this SHIFTer had personally ignored “the whole Social Media thing” because her clients didn’t care about Twitter and Facebook and bloggers?

Posted on: July 24, 2009 at 6:30 pm By Todd Defren
116 Responses to “It Doesn't Matter if the Client is Ready for Social Media”


  • Marcy says:

    I agree that we should embrace social media but then don’t you think that for businesses, not every business need social media?

  • I totally agree. As frustrated as we are that some of our clients refuse to embrace social media, it doesn’t mean as an agency, we are excused from participating.

  • I still need to figure out a strategy for B2B relations w/ Social Media but I can see how it works. I have a great relationship with a person who is in radio/columnist. I listen to his radio show but I don’t ever call in. I seem to be helping him with his twitter account in the beginning and now his station is using it so things are going well. I have a great relationship this way and he has given me tips as well.

    Another friend of mine had trouble with 3rd party applications on Facebook and she changed her status and a reporter called her for an interview and then posted the story on Facebook.

  • Kat Jaibur says:

    Good, short post. I agree with Arik Hanson that helping to guide clients in the right direction is part of what we do.

    And your “staffer/colleague/account exec/whatever”‘s experience is so true. I’ve been able to cut through the b.s. and form better connections to people through Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn than was ever possible in the world before SM. It’s far easier to be helpful here, to engage, to chat, to spread the good vibes… and it all comes back multiplied.

    Put a dollar value on that!

  • Arik Hanson says:

    I’ll take you one step further on the “my clients aren’t ready for SM” argument. Isn’t that what they pay us for? That forward-thinking, “we’re looking 3 years ahead to anticipate trends and stay ahead of the competition” type thinking and counsel they want us to provide? Or, maybe that’s just me.


    • I agree that we should be paid the big bucks to innovate and bring these new technologies to clients, but at some point when they’re not ready, couldn’t this be detrimental? It’s true that some clients may just be stuck in a rut, but if a client would perform terribly in social media, alienating consumers or other contacts, then is it really worth it?

      I’m still kind of new to this, so maybe I’m not fully understanding yet. I keep hearing that your online presence follows you and that you really only get one shot at it. So what if not being ready equates to a terrible SM performance? Is it worth it in the long run to wait that extra time until a client can really do SM right? I’m really curious about your thoughts because I don’t think I quite understand the industry well enough yet…

  • JackD says:

    Todd, what is up with the “staffer” term. A little demeaning, doncha think?

  • Rachel Kay says:

    I like this post because it points out the benefits of relationship building using social media for PR pros, which benefits clients. It means that social media is important for clients but also for us PR people who are looking to bond at a greater level with the media. Social media gives us a great way to demonstrate an interest in our favorite media contacts and to get to know them on a more personal level. I second the thoughts of your staffer – establishing relationships via social media is a significant reason to start interacting online.

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