In my opinion this is an obvious yes, but you’d be very surprised with how many people are still afraid to cross over to the social media era. “Businesses that use the Web are growing 15% faster than those that do not. That’s the reality now,” said Susan Sobbott, President of American Express OPEN, in closing her lunchtime panel discussion at The New York Times Small Business Summit.”
In a recent article that I had read, three businesses gave their opinions on how social media can make all of the difference for a small business. The following is my perspective on their stories.
- Example 1 – Birchbox: Birchbox is a health and beauty company. To market their product, they would send out a little pink box full of health and beauty samples. To add to their publicity, they allowed their viewing audience to post videos of themselves opening these gift items. Yes, simple! Posting videos to websites is a form of social media, and guess what this ultimately did for Birchbox? It spread the word to friends and family members instantly. Birchbox didn’t lead the conversations about their brand, but the customers did, leading to more visualization of the company, and more sales!
- Example 2 – Orabrush: Orabrush, a tongue cleaner product, originally had very little success. A product with limited marketing material, sitting on retail shelves, waiting for the notice to be discontinued. That was until a marketing student suggested making a YouTube video. Once the YouTube video was published, sales spiked with the product that was once close to elimination. This helped Orabrush in the smaller retail world, which gave incentive for them to advance into the big leagues. They again turned to social media and invested in a Facebook ad, which ultimately drove them into the Walmart stores, as well as other larger retail stores. Again, with a little research, they found that personality driven videos on YouTube created the most attention. With little investment, Orabrush made a killing in sales and is still going strong.
- Example 3 – Warby Parker: Warby Parker is an online eyeglass company that started from the concept that the founder despised outlandish designer eyewear prices. “Warby Parker has a virtual try-on tool and sends customers five pairs to try out for five days, a policy that co-founder and co-CEO Neil Blumenthal said builds trust and inspires people to buy.” What did this lead to? Word of mouth sales! Sales spiked almost 50% when this marketing strategy led to an increase in friends and family spreading the word about the great eyewear program. No more running to stores, all you needed to do was pick which glasses you wanted and return the rest. Warby Parker also accredited their success to outstanding customer service and was very adamant about the importance of investing in quality staff for retaining customers.
These are obviously just a few of the success stories that are out on the internet. If a business puts forth some creativity, a solid social media campaign, and a commitment to invest time in their efforts, and odds are that company is going to see an increase in overall profit and success.
Do you feel a lull in sales? Would it help your business to post an ad on Facebook or a video on YouTube? Do you have personality and flair that will appeal to an audience? Then what are you waiting for? Take advantage of social media and turn that small business into a social media success story!