Launching your own startup company can be both terrifying and exciting. Trying to reach potential clients on a shoestring budget is daunting. You just don’t have the money to spend on an expensive, polished marketing campaign. That’s the beauty of social media, it’s cheap and it’s easy to get started. Social media allows you to interact directly with current and potential customers. It’s a great source for feedback and as a means to spread word-of-mouth about your product or service. But, for some reason too many small business owners are not taking full advantage.
In a recent poll released by Zoomerang Online Surveys and GrowBiz Media, only a third of all small businesses are currently utilizing social media. Whether the others don’t feel comfortable or are too intimidated to learn a new technology, these companies are losing out on a great way to grow their business.
When we launched our premium soy sauce, Little Soya, we needed to clear a big hurdle. The average grocery store in the US carries more than 30,000 products and we had to differentiate ourselves from the pack.
We turned to social media. We built a persona for our Facebook page and began engaging people on Twitter. It really didn’t take long for it to pay off. After reading a few of our tweets, we located our first of what we call “Shouters”. These are fans that rave about your product to anyone who will listen.
Pei Pei Yuan is a dancer, blogger, stuntwoman, producer and director in Los Angeles. Pei Pei reached out to us telling us she had been looking for a good-tasting, gluten-free soy sauce but had little luck. She added that she loved our cute packaging and our product’s personality and asked where she could get it in Los Angeles.
Unfortunately Little Soya wasn’t available in California yet, but we sent her a care package. Shortly after we began getting barraged by tweets and Facebook posts from her telling us how much she enjoyed Little Soya.
Pei Pei posted pictures of her and friends using it around town and a funny thing happened. We noticed our number of followers and likes started to increase faster than normal. Pei Pei had given Little Soya something a traditional ad campaign couldn’t on its own: credibility. People love to feel that they are on the cutting edge of a new trend and she clearly was a trend-setter.
You can’t put a monetary value on that type of exposure. Following her example, we started to get photos from people across the country. From places Little Soya wasn’t even available. Slowly, either from friends or while traveling, we started building a buzz around our product.
The buzz continued to build up to the Winter Fancy Food Show, one of the premier food trade shows in the country. Even though there were more than 80,000 top gourmet food products from around the world on display, Little Soya was selected as one of the trending products.
The Zoomerang and GrowBiz Media poll also asked what small businesses planned on focusing on in 2012. Roughly 25% said creating new business, while another 25% said maintaining current business. Social media is a great tool to do both. Don’t be intimidated, jump in!
Written by: Grant Mehlhoff
@LittleSoya - Changing the way America thinks about soy sauce! We are the world's best tasting gluten-free, less-sodium soy sauce. "Just Squeeze to Squirt & Enjoya Little Soya!"