Markets: Fort Wayne, Warsaw and South Bend, IN
Key executives: Deb Williams, Director of Interactive Sales for Federated Media, and Kathy Uebler, Digital Manager at Federated Interactive
Initiative: Sales of social media as a service
Challenge: Federated Interactive, the digital company owned by Federated Media, wanted to leverage one of the radio group's core competencies: social media communications. They created an initiative to sell this skill set as a service to current clients and to attract new customers for incremental revenues.
1. Lead by example: Building each station's social media chops. Essentially each station was its own first case study. The “Showing by doing” strategy asked each participating station to embrace social media to create its own example of both salable expertise, and the value of social media.
“Each of our stations are fully embracing social,” Deb Williams, director of interactive media for Federated Media told Local Media Insider.
“We constantly engage our listeners, and monitor our social media. We’ve just added Pinterest accounts. WBYR The Bear in Fort Wayne, our most social and mobile station, has 45,000 Facebook fans, and 4,500 Twitter followers. It also has 14,000 people in its text club – people who get SMS text alerts for concerts and other events.” See WBYR Facebook page top right.
In fact, even the promotional link for social media and digital services on the Bear's web site links back to the Federated Interactive Facebook page, which staff keeps up to date by sharing digital marketing news items (second image to the right)
2. Adding dedicated reps. Originally existing reps were responsible for selling and managing social media services, plus a dedicated rep sold services a la carte.
“One of the push backs with traditional sellers was that they wanted to make the sale but then there was a lot of work that went into it after the sale,” said Williams.
“They had to understand how it would suit the individual client needs. Not everyone was willing to go that far into it.”
So, Federated transitioned the dedicated sales rep into a new role. She retained her own accounts, but as of January, 2013 began to coordinate with radio station reps, who then hand off their social media clients to her for ongoing maintenance. Federated then hired a second dedicated sales rep to add sales horse power.
“As a result of this change, we’ve seen an increase in sales by radio reps,” said Williams.
In fact, in the first three months of the year, sales of social media services doubled.
“Ten of our clients have been sold by traditional sellers, six of them since the transition. The top radio seller said, ‘You mean I can sell but don’t have to maintain? I’m all in.’”
3. Beefing up fulfillment. One Federated Interactive designer/programmer spends 75 percent of his work week managing social media client projects. A third party, Tabsite, is used to manage Facebook promotions, which include contests and deals.
4. Pricing and packaging. All of the accounts are sold on one year contracts, though open-ended. The pricing is structured in tiers: The baseline package includes management of Facebook and Twitter accounts with regular posting strategies. Premium levels add other sites such as Pinterest, Google+, Foursquare, Linked in and YouTube. The pricing runs $250 to $600 a month, with a small set up fee.
Design work, such as set up of a Facebook page and a custom tab per quarter, is an additional fee. The two graphics below show the various services provided.
5. Leveraging promotions. Promotions for social media as a service are promoted on FederatedInteractive.com, and on 30 second spots on Federated Media radio station streams.
From the radio commercial spots:
"Are you a business owner who knows you need to be on Face book and Twitter, along with all the other social media networking sites, but just don’t have the time to do it? If you’re not utilizing the power of social media reach and engagement that you could have with your customers, then you need Federated Interactive. Get social today and start connecting with your customers in a way that is convenient for them and in places they are spending their time, like Face book and twitter. Go to Federated Interactive dot com and contact us for a free consultation on how you can get social with your customers today! Federated Interactive dot com, your guide to social media management."
• Twenty customers so far include a wide variety: restaurants, automotive service stores, a travel agency, specialty retail stores, and even a politician who ran for state representative last November. Almost all are small to medium sized local businesse. The total group accounts for pproximately $100,000 annually, with an average spend of about $5000 per year, One new client inquiry from a neighboring state (beyond DMA), a referral from a current client. Since the new plan is just three months in, and a new dedicated rep is on board, Federated executives see this program as one of the most solid new sources of incremental digital revenues.
Many thanks to Deb Williams and Kathy Uebler for sharing their story and their expertise.
The author, Alisa Cromer is publisher of a variety of online media, including LocalMediaInsider and MediaExecsTech, developed while on a fellowship with the Reynolds Journalism Institute and which has evolved into a leading marketing company for media technology start-ups. In 2017 she founded Worldstir.com, an online magazine, to showcases perspectives from around the world on new topic each month, translated from and to the top five languages in the world.
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