Beginning a Social Media Program

Beginning a Social Media Program

Beginning a Social Media Program

Adam Latham
The Cowbell Agency

To some, getting a social media program off the ground seems like some sort of black magic. You have a Facebook page, but no likes or follows. You have a twitter handle, but no followers. So, you think, why even post. And if you did, what is the value?

You know you should, and you know that eventually it may be worthwhile, but getting started seems daunting. 

The first thing I like to do is forget about the woeful size of your audience right now and think about these channels or platforms from a purely strategic perspective. What is their purpose and how do they fit my needs?

Let’s start with your needs. Apart from just advertising your product or service, ask yourself what type of information do you want to deliver to your audience? What, from you, do they want to hear? 

The answer to these questions will vary widely based on what your organization does or produces.

To help you answer these questions, let’s create a few hypothetical organizations. Let’s say you were a government or NGO who has a vested interest in pushing out a lot of information to the public, as in activities and schedules of events. Every time you push out a press release, it costs money. So instead, you’ve decided to use Twitter as your distribution channel. You are not looking to get into a lot of discussions with your audience there, just a public channel to broadcast that something new is available. 

This channel is very effective at this because most of the media itself follows organizations they regularly report on. 

Let’s also assume your organization wants to also build a community with relationships and conversations. This will most likely take place on Facebook. 

But, if you want to reach the generation between 16 and 23, then you should also include Instagram.

Let’s say your leadership, C-level executive and management, wants to be seen as thought leaders. If so, you need to include LinkedIn as part of your strategy.

So, before I even concern myself with building audiences and managing the pages, I build a matrix that includes the types of information I want to disseminate, and I choose the platform on which I want to broadcast that information. 

Secondly, I then, knowing the culture of those different platforms, will know how many different topics and amount of posts I need to create. 

This is how you begin building a Social Media Strategy.

The next phase is all about tactics. Connecting and automating where you can, getting the resources to fill the pipes with content, measuring and building audiences. 

Notice I put building audiences last. There’s a reason for that.

Everyone usually likes to start there. They go to their platforms and don’t see any audience and they think what is the point. Well, the point is, if you don’t have a regular flow of information, nobody will ever follow or subscribe. It would be like trying to get subscribers to a streaming service without shows for anybody to watch. Unfortunately you DO have to show a value for others to value your content.

And trying to build an audience before you can show value, is like kicking yourself in the butt. Every time someone goes to your page and is disappointed, the least likely they are to come back. Remember, when someone shares some of your content, you want to build and convince others to get there first.

Once you have your channels ready… you know, a good amount of videos on YouTube, articles on LinkedIn, posts and events scheduled on Facebook, an active Twitter feed that is constantly sending out links to interesting articles… then you begin paying occasionally to boost your circulation on your best, most valuable content.

Lastly, be humble. Share other people’s information if it is of value. Now, this can get misunderstood. I’m talking about Ford sharing GM information. What I’m talking about is the reality that every industry has resources from other sources that their customers might find interesting. The more you look like a channel of non-stop advertising, the less relevant your channel will become. 

Lastly, don’t be afraid to have a personality. At the end of the day, beyond special offers and announcements, people want to be entertained. Never lose sight of that. The object is to get as much of your followers to want to share your info with THEIR followers and friends. It isn’t only about building your audience, but rather, inspiring your audience to spread the word for you.

Good luck and have fun.

Understanding and Measuring the ROI of SEO

Understanding and Measuring the ROI of SEO

Understanding and Measuring the ROI of SEO

Adam Latham
The Cowbell Agency

Communicating the true ROI of programs like SEO can sometimes be difficult. I recently completed a White Paper that looked at several different key metrics that can easily be measured in real-world dollars, which then allow an easy calculation based on the investment in SEO activity.

The program used for this study was a client that recently completed the first four months of an ongoing SEO program.  The strategy and tactics were developed by myself and colleague Owen Yorio (fast becoming a young SEO Jedi).  The resulting benefits could be measured both in monthly organic search traffic, annual organic search traffic, non-branded organic search traffic, and closing those gaps with their competitors.

If that sounded at all confusing (because you have a life), it probably won’t be after you’ve read.

The ROI of this program ranged from 3X to nearly 10X

Download White Paper: Understanding the ROI of SEO

Read on LinkedIn

 

Why Chat Rules

Why Chat Rules

Why Chat Rules

Adam Latham
The Cowbell Agency

Why does chat rule? Well, the answer to that question is simple, and it is the same reason why no one over thirty is really considered “cool.”

Ever looked at how the next generation communicates? They’ve got their head in their phones constantly, and they’re chatting.

The generation just before them seemed to live in email. And the divide is getting greater as we become more chat-entrenched. As someone with teenage children or grandchildren if they are more likely to get a response by text than any other form of communication.

Major corporations realized this a long time ago, moving a lot of their customer interaction to chat. And here’s the surprising thing. An automated bot in chat isn’t nearly as annoying as an automated voice system. I don’t know why that is. It just is.

And now, there are finally a whole host of platforms out there that small to midsize companies can implement to both improve their customer relationships and lighten their workload. And the costs are typically less than an expensed lunch a month.

So the question isn’t really “should I be using chat?”, but rather, “what’s the best way to be using chat?”

At Cowbell we’ve looked at a number of easy-to-install plugins for most websites, and here’s what we’ve found.

There are two basic levels: 1) I just want to chat, or 2) I want to actually embrace chat and use it as a competitive advantage.

For those who want to “embrace chat” for all it can deliver, we’ve recently discovered a tool that actually replaces most of your lead nurturing and similar drip campaign platforms. It uses an “omni chat” feature that links your facebook messenger to your website chat. This not only means they can chat to you in an environment they’re familiar with, but they are instantly a lead in your CRM. 

You can also configure pre-programmed bots to help your customers quickly get to the information they need without someone on your team having to hold their hand.

Let me make sure we’re completely clear about this. I didn’t mention CRM to scare you away. I’m not talking about having to invest into a holistic software solution for customer relations and lead nurturing.  The chat tool itself IS its own CRM. 

In other words, once they begin a chat conversation with you, they are converted. They are a lead, and all of their contact information, like name, email address or phone number that they have on Facebook, is now attached to their record in your chat tool. 

In the backend, we can develop a whole series of drip campaigns that can run directly through the facebook messenger or through SMS text. In other words you are communicating with your customers in the space they actively communicate throughout their day.

If this sounds too good to be true, it gets even better. Imagine if you will, that you are running an online banner ad campaign and someone is on a mobile device. And, someone then clicks on that ad. What if, instead of going to a landing page, they were launched immediately into a chat session with someone on your team. And, you immediately had all of their contact information and were in your system as a lead. You didn’t have to worry about whether they would find your call-to-action on your landing page. There is no landing page! 

In fact, conversions through chat are now as much as 10X greater through landing page or email-based drip campaigns. Why? Because…and some marketing professionals may be afraid to admit this… we have moved past the email-to-landing page-to-contact list paradigm. We are now in the instant mobile chat phase, and those who recognize that first will reap the lion share of benefits.

If you want to learn more about how the different chat platforms work and which one is best for your business needs, contact us at Cowbell, or better yet…why not just chat.

 

Maintaining a Positive Online Reputation

Maintaining a Positive Online Reputation

Maintaining a Positive Online Reputation

Adam Latham
The Cowbell Agency

Understanding the Proactive Review Management Process

As Bob Dylan once opined, “the times, they are a-changin’.” And one of the industries that has seen the most radical changes in the last ten years has been marketing and brand management.

It is almost hard to imagine how well major corporation did at controlling their brand perception. Through just the right focus on PR, a few high-visibility sponsorships and events, you knew all the corporations wanted you to know about them. Barring some major news event or tabloid expose, the corporations were in charge of their brand.

Those days are gone. Now, the true managers of a company’s brand is its customers. For good or bad, social media has allowed customers to talk and exchange information about companies whenever they want. All it takes is one #ABCWidgetrippedmeoff and a scathing blog post, and next thing you know, everyone has their own story. Before long, decades of paid-for public relations is toast.

For consumers, this is a good thing. For companies, it is scary as hell. For PR companies and marketing agencies, it means we have change our strategies.

The Cowbell Agency has taken an effective and somewhat radical approach to maintaining a positive online reputation. We start with the assumption that customers are going to talk about you. They are going to leave reviews. And if they are angry, they are going to want to vent to somebody.

Given that assumption, you want to be proactive and soliciting feedback from customers as often as possible. Because if for any reason they are upset with you, you want them to talk to you about it instead of their facebook friends or potential customers on Yelp.

You do this by being disciplined. Depending on your business, you want to ask customers for feedback as soon after your interaction as possible. We recommend a system that sends text messages and emails that not only solicit feedback, but allows them to give you a star rating from 1-to-5. This way, you get a pretty good idea what star rating they would give you on Google, Facebook or Yelp.

Their reply to you flows into a dashboard environment that allows you to see each and every comment, and then respond back to customers as soon as possible. If there are issues you can rectify or smooth over. Do it here, and do it quickly, before they have an opportunity to make their angry post or review.

By the time you’re done with this interaction, you have a pretty good idea what kind of rating they would give you at those public, third party review sites. It is at this time you can, if you so desire, try to encourage them to share their feelings about you.

This solves two major issues: 1) it builds your database of reviews which will help lessen the impact of the negative reviews, and 2) allows reviewers to judge your company on your entire customer service approach, which now includes your attempt to engage them and satisfy their needs.

The other approach I characterize is more of a “fix on failure” policy. You, as the business owner, just sit back and hope your customers are saying good things about you. When you see one come across, and it is a 1-star, you get all angry. You try to remember who the heck this angry customer was. You read the review and you frantically try to figure out if there is a way to remove it. After all, this person is obviously crazy.

But guess what. You can’t. And since you don’t have a pro-active, review-encouraging process, it just sits there…for days. Maybe weeks. Maybe even months. And every time someone searches for a business like yours, there it is, staring every potential customer right in the eye, that 1-star review from hell. You sit there again, passively, hoping someone else would review your company to push that one down the page.

Our systematic approach provides a framework for the type of disciplined internal processes that put you proactively in charge of your online review management and can be implemented in just a few short hours.

 

McBride Marketing and Drumup Media Merger

McBride Marketing and Drumup Media Merger

Local Marketing Agencies Combine Forces to Help Clients Stand Out from the Herd.

Mike McBride and Adam Latham announce the merger of McBride Marketing Group and Drumup Media Group. The two marketing agencies have combined to create Cowbell Agency, a full service, digitally integrated marketing agency offering services that are transparent to clients and disciplined in strategic marketing cogency.

This is the latest evolutionary jump for McBride Marketing Group, an established and highly recognized fixture in the local and regional advertising arena having launched in 2001 as U.S.Ad & Marketing before merging with Space Coast Marketing to become McBride Woodbridge Marketing in 2005 and subsequently McBride Marketing Group in 2010.

“We took the opportunity during the pandemic to refocus the strategic direction of our agency to add scale and depth in our digital and search engine marketing services,” says Mike McBride, Partner and Chief Marketing Officer of Cowbell Agency LLC. “As destiny would have it, another local agency with amazing capabilities and experience in both local and global SEO was exploring expansion options for their integrated marketing approach.”

“Be seen. Be heard. Be more” is the tagline for Cowbell Agency while the new name itself has created curiosity in the community.

“Sure, there’s a bit of pop culture in the name but we see it as more of an analogous spin on clients making some noise and being heard,” says Adam Latham, Partner and Chief Creative Officer of Cowbell Agency LLC. “We also want to be clear that we are easy and even fun for clients to work with while making digital marketing easier for them to understand and use.”

DrumUp Media Group was launched in 2016 by Adam Latham as a digital agency to leverage his many years of executing the marketing for global technology innovator, Intersil Corporation. His 12-year experience with the Silicon Valley-based electronics company was instrumental in his development of top performing global SEO and SEM strategies that are now in Cowbell’s digital arsenal.

McBride Marketing Group, a full-service marketing agency headquartered in the Eau Gallie Arts District on Florida’s Space Coast, has been long recognized for professional leadership having earned more than 150 awards by the American Advertising Federation, Florida Public Relations Association and the Governor’s Tourism Flagler Awards since 2001.

Both Cowbell Agency principals had large-market agency experience before moving to Brevard. McBride worked with Fortune 500 clients like Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s and BASF in Atlanta and Latham worked in Nashville with clients including Alcoa and Cracker Barrel. Like Latham, McBride also boasts client-side experience for his tenure as Vice President of Marketing for a global home fashion/textile conglomerate headquartered in Manhattan.

“Clients recognize our unique perspective of having worked on both sides of marketing,” reflects McBride. “And as entrepreneurs, we also share their same concerns about running a business and ROI on all expenditures including marketing.”

“ROI is one of the biggest reasons we became a Google Partner Agency and have been building our digital marketing services over the past 15 years,” adds Suzanne McBride, Partner and Chief Operating Officer at Cowbell Agency. “As a CPA, I can appreciate how online targeting, media outreach and tracking allow clients to monitor the numbers and gauge response 24/7.”

Details about the new agency and its services including brand and web development, SMM, SEM, SEO, traditional broadcast and print media, PR and video production can be found on cowbellagency.com. Digital marketing options are also listed on the attached document.

“Exciting to hear about the next chapter in the agency’s growth to become Cowbell Agency,” says Amelia Woodbridge, former partner in McBride Woodbridge Marketing. “Mike is a well-versed marketer who has given companies large and small successful marketing programs for almost 30 years. This longevity reveals his dedication to his craft and showcases the trust companies put in his counsel.”

“I am sure Cowbell Agency will be a success, too!” added Woodbridge.

About The Cowbell Agency

Cowbell Agency LLC is a full service, digitally integrated marketing agency serving clients with local, national and global marketing. A merger of McBride Marketing Group and Drumup Media Group, the Cowbell Agency team understands that successful modern marketing is about ensuring all aspects of a client’s brand and message are integrated and working to improve your bottom line. The object isn’t to increase web traffic or get more likes, the end goal is to engage with a client’s customers in a meaningful way… to translate leads into sales. Cowbell Agency is located at 668 Law Street, Melbourne, FL 32935. Contact information: +1.321.259.1795 or info@cowbellagency.com.

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