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Cincinnati's social media agency tops $1 million in revenues

Alisa Cromer
Posted

Market: Cincinnati, Ohio

Media: WKRQ 101.9 FM, WREW 94.9 FM, WUBE  105.1 FM, WYGY 97.3 FM

Key Executives: Rob McCracken, Director of Business Development and Strategy, 2060 Digital and Hubbard Interactive/Stephanie Tobias, Director of Operations, 2060 Digital and Hubbard Interactive

Initiative: 2060 Digital

Challenge:  Create a digital agency that is competitive with other local media agencies locally and nationally.

Strategy: Founded in 2010, 2060 Digital tapped corporate Director of Business Development and Strategy, Rob McCracken, to lead the sales effort. Since then, the company has grown a revenue stream LocalMediaInsider estimates upwards of $1 million a year, mostly in social media sales.

Key components of this social media-focused agency include: 

• Separate Brand operated as a separate division.

• Strongest focus on social media services – especially Facebook. Other services include web sites, graphic design, micro site development and inbound marketing services as needed.

• All sales made by Legacy radio representatives supported by one full time specialist, Hillary Weidner, who goes on the majority of initial social media presentations, and other executives with deep social media training.

• Provision of approximately one strategist per six social media accounts (depending on the size of the account).

• Social media contract packages that run from $1900 to $3900 a month on annual contracts.

• Deep outside training in social media for the core executives.

Here are these components in more detail:

1. Separate Brand

2060 Digital is presented to the market as a wholly-owned, but separately operated subsidiary of Hubbard Radio. McCracken says the 2060 Digital brand gives the agency an edge in the field over using the radio brand.

“Sometimes we were viewed as 'you are (just) a radio station with a digital department,' he said, "and then there is the assumption of an ulterior motive; that the recommendation is not objective.”

2. Focus on Social Media, and especially Facebook 

“We evolved to social media because we saw this as a powerful tool for merchants to leverage the oldest and most powerful form of marketing... word-of-mouth, and do it virally."

"Some businesses are more niche, but every business needs to be active in social media – if they are not joining in conversations with their customers in social media we argue they will be out of business soon."

While other social media networks have emerged since 2010, Facebook remains the foundation for most managed campaigns. 

"We also develop and execute strategies using Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and LinkedIn. But Facebook is still the 800 pound gorilla where the majority of Americans interact. The average mobile phone user checks Facebook 14 times a day."

 "We don’t believe in chasing everything that comes out. We don't fall for the shiny new penny syndrome but we watch it and, if it catches on, and is relevant to one or many of our clients, we want to help our clients take advantage of it."

3. Personnel Organization

The agency started with training for the key group of four people: McCracken, who heads digital sales, sales strategy and business development; Stephanie Tobias, who runs operations; Julie Hauck, who manages social media operations and Hillary Weidner, the digital specialist in the field. Ongoing training for this key group includes conferences, college level courses and use of renowned consultants in the social media space.

 Legacy reps are the sellers, customer management handled by social strategists

Legacy sales reps are responsible for all sales, supported by the digital specialist, who works in the field, and the account managers. Legacy sellers made sense because of their ability to leverage long standing relationships with so many advertisers. Currently there are about 19 sellers on staff between the four radio stations, not including deal sellers, who do not sell agency services. 
“We have the luxury of having many business owners with strong relationships with our company, who have trusted us with their marketing dollars for years. Because of that trust it is easier (to sell agency services).“

A social media strategist is assigned for every six new clients. McCracken calls a “fluid rule… depending on the size of the client.” The dedicated in-house strategist not only saves sellers' time, but increases the value of the sale, which makes them more financially rewarding in a virtuous cycle. The social strategists are the Social Media Management clients' direct connection, often communicating with the client directly multiple times a day.

McCracken says sellers embraced social media sales at first because it not only "got them in the door" but also had significant revenues attached. 

“They use our digital department a lot and have a responsibility (for goals), but it goes beyond that - digital is a little sexier and often gets you an appointment more easily.

"It is easier to go to a client and say I notice you aren't getting much interaction on your Facebook page. Did you know that there is a business like yours in San Diego that is using a Facebook app to generate incremental store traffic? May I have 30 minutes of your time to show you how you can take advantage of social media for your business?

“The general subject gets the prospects ears to perk up more. They tend to think they know about radio, ‘I’ve been advertising in radio for 30 years, I already know about it.'

However, the strength of the sale resides in the specific ideas and track record of successes the agency brings to merchants for expanding their communications with customers, including the ability to set appointments on the Facebook page or create customized contest apps. See this award winning campaign for a local dentist and Pinterest strategy for a local jeweler. 

Legacy reps have a standing bi-weekly digital sales meeting the majority of which is training to keep up with client successes, digital terms, business trends and explain how digital and social media relates to their clients' success. We have a deep seated commitment to on-going training.

"There is never enough training, but we have a few secret weapons,” McCracken says about his relationships with several renowned authors and thought leaders in the social media space.

4. Promotions and Go-To market strategy. 

The agency has its own web site where an ebook, "Social Media For Business 101" is downloadable in return for email capture. 

 

The sales deck includes basic information on Social Media including a photo of the staff and key clients: 

 

For more key slides in this deck see "How to create a great social media sales deck." It includes:

• A slide showing "We have friends" - the combined 155,000 fans of the stations.

• A slide  showing that social media is the "new word of mouth"

• Key statistics on % of people using Facebook

• Pictures of the employees with their areas of expertise listed

• A list of benefits of social media engagement and marketing

• An impressive slide with past and present social media client logos 

• The step by step client on-boarding process to build fans, engage fans and analyze results

There are three tiers of packages - $1900, $2900 and $3900 per month - all on on annual contracts. All packages include a dedicated strategist with in-person strategy sessions, graphics and page customization, Facebook posts, monitoring of comments, contest building and execution, and often, introducing the business to the radio station's fans on their own social pages. Also included are Facebook apps and monthly Facebook advertising buys, whose numbers vary with the tier: 

Silver

• 1 social network

• 2 Facebook contests/year

• $125/month in Facebook targeted ads

• 2 Facebook apps

Gold

• 2 social networks (choose to add YouTube, Email, Pinterest or Twitter)

• 4 Facebook contests/year

• $250/month in Facebook targeted ads

• 4 Facebook apps

Platinum

• 3 social networks

• 6 Facebook contests/year

• $500/month in Facebook targeted ads

• 7 Facebook apps

All the packages include an in person planning and strategy  meeting, dedicated strategist, five posts a week, "introduction" of the page to the stations' own 155,000 fans and development of a contest with a contest app and management of the giveaways. Of the add-ons, email with a graphic promoting a sale, and YouTube videos have been especially popular. 

“We found that these prices allow us to acheive very high levels of client expectation."

Results:

The agency currently manages more than 50 social media clients, which accounts for the highest percentage of digital revenues generated by 2060 Digital. Graphic design, custom social media app development and web development is also in demand. LocalMediainsider estimates that agency revenue is somewhere around $1 million and growing. 

Rob McCracken 

Rob McCracken, Marketing & Advertising, Hubbard Interactive/2060 Digital Media

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