Social media has worked in some wonderful ways and there is no denying the fact that it has the power to spread a word like wildfire. There have been instances where people have had crushes at a Knick’s game, randomly shared their candid photo on twitter, and ended up uniting with them because it got viral. If a random tweet can get someone famous overnight then imagine how powerful it will be to draw out a well-researched campaign for a brand!
Social media has the potential to turn a buzz into breaking news and if the word gets out there, it doesn’t take much time to shape into a trend. That is one of the reasons why established brands are inculcating famous memes into their strategies because they are so relatable and get shares and clicks too.
There are a number of small and medium businesses that left no stone unturned and used social media and SEO services to its potential and ended up with highly satisfactory results in their favor. We will be sharing success stories of few businesses and how they took it to the next level with the help of various social media platforms.
We will be talking about:
- Twitter’s role in the journey of Curtis Kimball to The Crème Brulee Cart guy
- Evan Carmichael and his YouTube channel
- The story of Letterfolk and Instagram engagement
Twitter and The Crème Brulee Cart
The journey of Curtis Kimball dates back to 2009 when he was looking for an alternative to the construction industry as it was not really doing good at that time. He got started as a small wooden food cart in the Mission area of San Francisco just as a distraction as to kill the time. Little did he know that it was going to be the life-changing decision of his life!
The name is itself a no brainer. When asked that how did he come up with this name, he said ‘The name is fairly self-explanatory. It came out of the wooden cart that I began with and the bigger cart that I had permitted a year later and now we’ve just stuck with the name for our truck.’
However, it has not been all rainbows and sunshine for The Crème Brulee Cart because nothing in life comes easy, right?
Logistics have been quite tough for them to manage initially and they had to lease a kitchen and separate storage for the cart as well. Not only this, they had to look for a place to keep the cart safe at various locations as well because it was always on the move.
However, there is a silver lining to everything. What keeps them going is the joy or serving various locations and a number of people who look forward to have dessert from the heaven’s kitchen. You might be thinking that if they are on the go then how do people know about them? That is where Twitter comes into play. Small businesses usually get 50% of their customers through word of mouth and Twitter is just the digital version of it in a way. Twitter users post messages of up to 140 characters in length and the culture of the service inspire people to share the news with their friends and the chain goes on.
The idea of using Twitter came to him when someone discovered the cart via Twitter. He had no clue about this platform at first but when he created an account, the clouds cleared instantly. Now, his 20,000 followers wait for him to update his location and flavors of the day.
He told New York Times that ‘I would love to say that I just had a really good idea and strategy, but Twitter has been pretty essential to my success’. He also gives a great deal of credit to Twitter for his relations with the clients. He tries to communicate with his followers by asking them about their choice of flavor to serve or the place to park his cart by keeping everything on a humorous note. Because of his ever changing location, The Crème Brulee man gives a solid reason to follow him on Twitter.
This is the power of social media; it can turn someone’s side job into a hit business that too without spending big bucks on the marketing front. All it takes is a device and internet connection and the willingness to make it big!
YouTube and Evan Carmichael
For those of you who don’t know, Evan Carmichael is an entrepreneur turned YouTuber with 2.53 million subscribers and 400 million views and an author to 4 bestselling books. He is a public speaker who vows the audience with his skills globally and is on a mission to solve a problem that almost everyone faces of not believing themselves enough.
He has been named the world’s top 40 social media marketing talents by Forbes and one of the greatest leadership speakers and 25 social media keynote speakers you need to know by Inc. He owns Canada’s biggest salsa dance studio where he met his life partner and has a gigantic bag of Doritos in front of him all day to remind him that he’s stronger than the snack.
He started off with YouTube back in April 2009 as he has always been a visual learner. Back in the days, YouTube was not how it is now. It had all sorts of bizarre videos like a cat jumping off a table or someone playing with utensils. He thought of coming up with some educational content but didn’t take it too seriously. He just started making videos for fun with no intention of becoming one of the greatest YouTuber that he is now.
When he sold his business at the age of 22, he got several questions related to his capabilities and success and it was very overwhelming for him that people actually wanted to hear his story. Rather than replying to emails separately, he thought of creating a video and posting it on YouTube so that it helps many and not just one. It took him about 5 years to gain 7000 followers as he did not take it seriously and posted 1 video every 3 months.
One fine day, He decided to take it more seriously and started posting on a daily basis. That is when he experienced an increase in his number of followers.
He shares content which is a blend of his personal advice, stories and journey of other successful people with his trademark ‘remix’. He has posted videos that are master cuts of clips from other leaders like Gary Vaynerchuk.
He gives major credit to his YouTube channel as it helped him land with 2 book details with leading publishers, global speaking shows and awards from Forbes and Inc. Evan has also had the chance to collaborate with people like Tony Robbins and Gary Vaynerchuk.
He prefers YouTube due to a number of reasons. They are-
YouTube pays you to create content
They have advertising teams selling ads against your content. Even with podcasts, you have to go out and get your own advertisers or have a business model that’s snarled to it. You can have all that and get paid by YouTube and Google by making YouTube videos. YouTube should be the primary content platform for anybody who has a message or is trying to spread awareness.
It’s the only place your content is available forever
As long as there is YouTube, your content will stay no matter what. Nobody’s going back a week on your Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, but they might check your video from let’s say, 2 years back. The videos Evan made 10 years ago still get views, suggestions, comments, traffic and subscribers which are eventually resulting in brand building.
In the starting, people’s attention will be at 100% because anybody who starts the video at 0 seconds is watching the video. But then you’ll start to see where people are losing interest. You can see where people left the video, go back and watch that part, analyze and fix it. But then there are some magical moments that are either a flat line (which means nobody left) or a spike (people re-watched a certain part). That’s the clip you can cut and then post on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. You can use YouTube as the base and then divide the content for all of the other social media platforms.
YouTube will promote your better videos
As it’s purely a content platform, YouTube works to find an audience for you. However, don’t mistake it for a shortcut. You still have to post great videos and content and put in a lot of effort. You can’t just upload a video and magically expect it to be viral overnight. But then, YouTube will suggest your content against other people’s videos.
If you have a message that you know can impact people’s lives and help solve problems, YouTube will help you gain a new audience that has never heard of you. It’s without a doubt the only platform that really does that well.
The best way to create a name in the world of YouTube is by posting great content which is valuable to the audience and being consistent at it.
Instagram and Letterfolk
Letterfolk is a mom and pop store owned by a couple with an Instagram following of 330k which has given the use of retro boards a modern touch.
They started it in June 2015 while they were searching for a unique way to capture their second child’s monthly milestone photos. They decided to design a modern letter board customized for today’s houses. A year later they left their jobs to take up Letterfolk full time.
They offer a wide range of home décor options and even customized passport covers to satisfy the wanderlust in you.
Their handcrafted letter boards come with a full set of characters that people can personalize and hang on their walls as per their convenience and have the vibe they always wanted via words.
Instagram plays a major role when it comes to the marketing of their products.
Their IG account is funny and relatable. They inspire their audience with engaging content using their own letter boards. All their pictures invite people to take an action which is either to like it, tag others or share on their own profiles resulting in amazing engagement.
Letterfolk religiously follows the 80/20 rule of content marketing; using 20% of the content to promote the brand and 80% that interests the audience and results in engagement. In a podcast for Tradeshow Camp, Letterfolk owners talked about how they wanted their posts to feel like conversations like they were ‘injecting us in an existing conversation happening between friends on Instagram’.
They use the following strategies to utilize Instagram to its full potential and make sure it gets them eyeballs-
User Generated Content
User generated content is a great way to strategize the campaign. Consumers value candid posts and conversations as they feel more real. Regramming is another way to show products and not just for social proof or engagement. Letterfolk makes it a point to post user generated content from time to time.
Their high-quality images pay attention to detail and create a scene around their letter board. This expected aesthetic is recognizable to their customers which results in a stronger brand image. Consumers know what they are going to get when they come across a post. What actually changes are the sayings that are on the board. Using humor and wit, the quirky messages written on the boards makes the posts fun, entertaining, and relatable to their target audience. This is what results in sharing of the posts and attracting new clients from time to time.
Apart from re-posting their customer’s letter boards, they are making them and their stories a part of it too. By authentically placing themselves and their lives into the brand they are also telling their story. They do this so that people remember that it is a human brand and people who actually cares are behind it. They talk about how they always try to respond to comments and mentions.
Letterfolk excels at Instagram and Instagram proves to be an excellent platform to use for marketing purposes. They also believe that Instagram users are more engaged than the average social media user and they are actually willing to make an online purchase. According to a study, 72% of Instagram users report making a purchase decision after seeing something on Instagram. Embracing Instagram should be part of your digital marketing strategy if you want your audience to take immediate action.
These are just a few stories pointing at the success of homegrown brands using social media. If you are willing to do something then never doubt the potential of hard work, a mobile phone and an internet connection and you might just be the next viral sensation!