Meet A Member

Bell Holder

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Name: Bell Holder
Title: Social Media and Marketing Analyst
Years of Experience: 6
College Name & Degree(s): University of Louisville, KY; BA in Communications
Firm Name: Lane Gorman Trubitt (LGT)
Firm City & State: Dallas, TX
Firm Size: 119
Email Address: bholder@lgt-cpa.com
Professional Memberships: AAM, AIM, AMA, PrimeGlobal
Community Involvement: Stack-Up
Twitter Handle: @theRebeccah
LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/therebeccah/ 

What types of marketing trend strategies does your firm employ?
Anything we can convince our amazing accountants to allow in the budget! My team has an amazing marketing manager who is always researching trends and figuring out ways we can implement them for accountants. I think one of the most interesting is our take on influencer marketing (IM). Most companies that use IM will reach out to an established social media personality and work with them to market to their audience. With accounting, that is not really an option, and it took shifting our perspective to see what that could look like for our firm. After some trial and error, we realized we had people in our firm who were already talking about accounting on social media. We took our active accountants and turned them into micro-influencers. This was not easy. It is hard to explain to someone who is using social to keep up with family and watch cat videos to lean into marketing themselves and their services online. Once we found who would be able to do this successfully, we provided them with early access to content and prelaunch event ticket purchases and gave them more exposure on our side. This led to an increase in interest and business development opportunities. It is not a static program, and like anything involving social, it is constantly being reviewed and updated.

What is the structure of your marketing department?
There are four of us. Our partner is an accountant, and he does much of our business development that comes in from inbound marketing. Then there is our marketing manager who has the distinct pleasure of managing me…and doing other things too. I run our social media and manage our campaigns. My work bestie (and AAM Rookie of the Year 2021) is our event and marketing coordinator. Our team is amazing. We are given a lot of space to be creative, and the results have been good.

What have you learned the hard way?
I do not rule the world. It’s very annoying! LOL. It is easy for me to see the pathway to achieving our goals and lay out a plan to achieve them, but accountants see the world differently. Finding the right way to communicate with them was a bumpy road.

What is a “must know” for new accounting marketers?
It’s OK to not use Twitter. I love Twitter. I use it to engage with numerous communities on a personal level and promote my stream team and fundraisers, but for B2B professional services, it requires a ton of work that might not provide you with the ROI you were hoping for. I would have to dedicate about 30% of my hours each week just to establish us in the #accounting community. Then, as the firm became recognized as an authority, this would increase exponentially on a daily basis. Twitter requires almost immediate reaction and a dedicated, knowledgeable social media professional. At some point, I would run out of accounting knowledge and have to turn to a busy accountant for help participating in the community. If you have an employee who is active in the Twitter community, there is a chance that participation could maybe lead to a client in a two- to three-year period. For smaller marketing teams, it is not a platform to sink resources into, and that is OK.

What are your special skills or what is something people may not know about you?
I believe in and design campaigns around the tiered marketing concept. Sometimes it is not about getting your content in front of the CFO of a company. Sometimes it is about providing his personal assistant access to a CPE event so they can help their CFO meet the hour requirements. Sometimes it is about giving a manager tips and tools for managing inventory. Sometimes it is about giving the bookkeeper easy access to FASB information in a quick notes format. This allows folks who are supporting the decision maker an opportunity to provide value, and when the CFO brings it up at a meeting, the team will have proof that our firm is the right one for their company. It is not easy, it takes work, and it is not for every campaign.

On the personal side, I am a Twitch streamer and run multiple Dungeons and Dragons campaigns on the platform. I started streaming with my partner during the 2020 stay-at-home lockdown as a way to socialize and hang out with our friends. It snowballed from one game every other week to a massive storyline with games every Saturday. It is a nice side hustle and has also given my partner and me an opportunity to fundraise for organizations like Stack Up. Stack Up is a community that works with active duty military and veterans to help prevent suicide and promote mental health through video gaming. If you would like to watch some fun storytelling with great folks, then follow my personal Twitter @bell_sleeping where I post about D&D and our game times. Even if you know nothing about D&D you will have a good time watching us get into trouble.

What is the biggest benefit you receive from your AAM membership?
I am new to AAM. My firm joined this year, and it was not until Katie got Rookie of the Year that I was interested in getting involved. I have gotten a lot of my questions answered on the message boards. I love those. It is like a fabulous collection of marketers who have a deep well of knowledge. It is the first place I look when researching products and services.

Share one marketing tip.
Sleep! It is easy to let the 24-hour cycle of social media sneak into your personal life. Before I did accountant marketing, I worked with not-for-profits and sports teams. Both of those industries need to constantly engage, and I would always be “on.” This does not benefit you, and it does not benefit your firm. Make a distinction between work hours and personal hours. Take your company accounts off your personal phone, and unless there is a PR emergency, try to turn your work brain off.

Be aware of trends. Do not call yourself an accountant on TikTok without knowing that this is a code word for sex work. Established platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn are easier to navigate than newer platforms. It is good to engage with new platforms on a personal level before you jump into them with the firm.

What do you feel are the biggest issues facing accounting marketers today?
Digital saturation and working from home. Everyone had to move to an almost exclusively digital advertising plan in 2020, and it flooded the market. Everyone is still recovering from Zoom fatigue. Content and email marketing are not getting the face time they used to. On top of it all, not all companies are going back to the office. We have lost that personal word-of-mouth channel, and finding a way to distinguish your firm is very challenging.

What would you be doing if you had not become a marketer?
Teaching. I was on track to become a science and math educator for middle school when I was injured playing roller derby. Head injuries do weird things to you, and I struggled with math and science, which used to be easy. I still enjoy presenting and teaching, but just do it in a different format now.

What is the biggest project you are working on right now?
We are running a multi-month direct marketing manufacturing and distribution email campaign right now. It is so exciting!

If you had an unlimited budget, what is one thing you would implement immediately?
An additional employee and more video. For an accounting firm our size, our team is on the larger side. Even so, I would really like another person so that we could have the time and resources to run in-depth campaigns for all our industry verticals.

What books have you read recently that you feel would be beneficial to other AAM members?
I am a huge fan of anything by Dr. Karen Freberg. Her books are a great primer on social media and creating a brand online.

What blogs/social feeds do you subscribe to that are helpful?
You can never go wrong with anything Gary Vee. I primarily subscribe to news feeds. It helps me determine what the accounting industry will be talking about in the near future. I also like to get a jump on legislative emails before our partners ask to send one out.

Bell Holder was interviewed by Tanya Doescher

Tanya_Doescher.jpgAbout Tanya
Tanya is the Marketing Director at Melton & Melton, LLP, one of Houston’s largest independently owned accounting firms. She is responsible for developing and executing the firm’s overall growth goals and objectives. She oversees and leads the marketing, strategic partnerships and business development activities, and is responsible for branding, strategy, advertising, corporate communications, public relations and improving organizational efficiency.