Are Top B2B Agencies Worth Following on Twitter?

With Twitter lists continuing to roll out to users (currently at 25%, expected for all users soon), everyone wants to create lists of valuable followers. We have already written about leveraging Twitter Lists for success, but what about using them to listen to industry thought leaders. This is an important part of the community of Twitter and connecting to others in your niche or industry. Whether people use the new list feature to create a group of followers around an idea, organization or location to refine their Twitter experience, or to promote a list of users, everyone is creating lists once they get them. While I do have list access on my personal account, the account for this site does not yet have access. This means I can discuss creating a list here, and get feedback, before creating the list on Twitter.

An important part of the B2B social media world are the agencies around the world advising their clients on how to better reach their customers and prospects. As a starting point for my list, I am using the BtoB magazine list of top US B2B agencies for 2009. The below list includes large, mid-sized, small and interactive winners, runner-ups and honorable mentions sorted alphabetically. On this list, all top agencies are equal. I will look at a number of factors and make an assessment whether I will add each agency’s Twitter feed to my upcoming list. Please add other B2B agencies below that you follow, especially those outside the US. While there are definitely B2B agency thought leaders who tweet from personal accounts, either instead of agency accounts, or in addition to them, this post is examining agency accounts only. In the interest of full disclosure, I did work for Koroberi and continue to partner with them on projects, but do not currently have anything to do with their Twitter account.

BBDO
@BBDOWorldwide
Easy to Follow from Web Site: No
Aggregate or Feed: No
B2B Focused: No
Engaged with Followers: Barely
Included on Other Lists: 49
Worth Adding to B2B Agency List: No

BusinessOnLine
@BOLoptimized
Easy to Follow from Web Site: No
Aggregate or Feed: No
B2B Focused: No
Engaged with Followers: No
Included on Other Lists: 0
Worth Adding to B2B Agency List: No

DDB
@TalkValue
Easy to Follow from Web Site: No
Aggregate or Feed: No content
B2B Focused: No
Engaged with Followers: No
Included on Other Lists: 1
Worth Adding to B2B Agency List: No

Digitas
@Digitas
Easy to Follow from Web Site: Yes
Aggregate or Feed: No
B2B Focused: No
Engaged with Followers: No
Included on Other Lists: 77
Worth Adding to B2B Agency List: Yes

Doremus
No main agency account

Eric Mower & Associates
No agency account

HSR Business to Business
@GyroHSR
Easy to Follow from Web Site: Yes
Aggregate or Feed: No
B2B Focused: No
Engaged with Followers: No
Included on Other Lists: 6
Worth Adding to B2B Agency List: No

Koroberi
@Koroberi
Easy to Follow from Web Site: No
Aggregate or Feed: No
B2B Focused: Yes
Engaged with Followers: No
Included on Other Lists: No
Worth Adding to B2B Agency List: No

Ogilvy North America
@Ogilvy
Easy to Follow from Web Site: No
Aggregate or Feed: Yes
B2B Focused: No
Engaged with Followers: No
Included on Other Lists: 192
Worth Adding to B2B Agency List: Yes

Stein Rogan + Partners
@SteinRogan
Easy to Follow from Web Site: Yes
Aggregate or Feed: No
B2B Focused: Yes
Engaged with Followers: No
Included on Other Lists: 2
Worth Adding to B2B Agency List: Yes

Sullivan
@SullivanNYC
Easy to Follow from Web Site: Yes
Aggregate or Feed: No
B2B Focused: No
Engaged with Followers: No
Included on Other Lists: 1
Worth Adding to B2B Agency List: Yes

Traction
@Traction
Easy to Follow from Web Site: Yes
Aggregate or Feed: No
B2B Focused: No
Engaged with Followers: No
Included on Other Lists: 3
Worth Adding to B2B Agency List: Yes

According to my review, most top B2B agencies are not worth following on Twitter at this time because they do not provide enough compelling content. Using Twitter at the corporate level is still something many businesses are figuring out, and agencies are no different. While many of the major agencies on this list are not worth following, some of their individual offices may be. Those offices have thought leaders, personality and things to say that just can’t be conveyed at the corporate level. Note that none of these agency accounts engage with followers very much, which is common for many business accounts. They still treat Twitter as a broadcast tool, rather than an engagement tool. Having said that, one of the best Twitter accounts listed above is the Ogilvy account, which aggregates blog posts from their offices worldwide. This is a great use of a corporate Twitter account.

If you work for any of the above agencies and have any insight into your Twitter strategy, or even an explanation, please let us know below. Our readers may be going through some of the same challenges as you.

And share your suggestions of other B2B agencies worth following on Twitter, and if you have created a list already, share that as well.

Comments

  1. says

    Your report on “Are Top B2B Agencies Worth Following on Twitter” reminds me of life back in 1996. I was an executive at Jupiter Communications (now Jupiter Research) in NYC. We had the first conference in this arena called, “Madison Avenue Meets the Web.” Literally 100% of the agencies with whom I spoke said that they didn’t think that online advertising was anything to be concerned about. Madison Avenue’s position was to ignore the web. I remember watching Kevin O’Connor and Seth Godin put it all on the line. These were very exciting times.

    Now we are in the world of Social Technology. Less at risk? I don’t know. Is FaceBook replacing .com URL’s? I don’t know but I do know you hedge your bets and have both. I also know that Facebook is much easier and less expensive to maintain.

    Now I’m at Realm Advertising with my colleague, Eric Berrios who also lived through the NYC .com (and .bomb) days. We are the #24 agency in Atlanta. Although we are a mid-size agency with 24 people, we work with some of the largest brands in Atlanta – UPS, Georgia-Pacific, Chick-fil-A, ChoicePoint (LexisNexis/ Reed Elsevier) and many more. We are also responsible for the award winning http://www.earthsharega.org online presence. We primarily used social technology for our Defy the Recession campaign which recently won a 2009 IABC Golden Flame Award.

    We invite you to evaluate our efforts and include us in your future updates. It will be very interesting to read your reports and watch the rate of changes from agency to agency.

  2. Jeffrey L. Cohen says

    Nancy: Thanks so much for the comment and sharing your experience of the glacial pace at which traditional agencies recognize trends and incorporate them into client recommendations. Traditional agencies need to look at other industries in similar situations and realize that eventually all business models move on and firms that don’t recognize it never recover. Agencies are quite familiar with the changes in print media and the downward slide that affects their media buys. They can also look to the record industry, another group of corporate conglomerates that kept their heads in the sand until it was too late. Traditional agencies are filled with smart people, and the ones willing to take the risk and push new models of business will survive. Others will wonder where the business went.

  3. says

    Jeff,

    It’s been 5 months since you posted this article. Any change of heart or still think B2B Twitter is irrelevant. I suggest looking at small B2B ad agencies, I think they do a better job leveraging social media.

  4. says

    Pavel

    Thanks for the comment. I can definitely revisit this issue of B2B agencies on Twitter. Do you know some small agencies that are doing a good job on Twitter? It would be great to review a larger pool.

  5. says

    We’ve had some pretty good results with @FUSIONb2b and @ideasBIG, but I’ll try to make a larger list and shoot you an email. Thanks.

  6. says

    Jeff,

    I just looked through BtoB Magazine’s Top Agencies List published March 8, 2010 (http://www.btobonline.com/assets/pdf/CT6884139.PDF) and went one-by-one through every single one to see if they have an active Twitter account.

    Out of 145 B2B agencies, just over 100 had a twitter account. Some of that 100+ twitter accounts were inactive or rarely updated. What struck me the most is that maybe about 15-20% of agencies had a twitter/facebook link on their home page, the rest I had to look for in Google, or just guess what the twitter URL might be.

    Anyways, I put all of them on our @FUSIONb2b account in a list called B2B Top Agencies. Take a look for yourself.
    http://twitter.com/FUSIONb2b/b2b-top-agencies

  7. says

    Pavel:

    All I can say is that you rock! Thanks for the stats that are not that different from my review of the top agencies. This is exactly the work that I was not able to do when I originally wrote this post. Your list of top B2B agencies is a great resources. I will definitely link to it when I review these agencies again.

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