Starting a Business with the Help of Social Media
Taking a business idea from the drawing board to the launching pad takes a great deal of time, dedication, and hard work. Today, entrepreneurs have the benefit of social media, allowing them to connect with potential customers and partners on a variety of platforms. Social media has proven to be a powerful tool in helping to take these small business start-ups and turn each one into a success story.
One of the most popular and well-known subscription services on the scene today, Birchbox delivers samples of beauty products to subscribers each month. Co-founders Katia Beauchamp and Hayley Barna met when both were attending Harvard Business School. Their idea was to provide a way for consumers to try out beauty products without having to commit to a purchase. Through a convenient subscription-based service, subscribers receive several samples of quality makeup and beauty products each month.
Birchbox launched in September of 2010 and quickly took off. Social media marketing did not cost the company any money because satisfied customers spread the word through blogs and uploaded video content. Many subscribers are quick to offer reviews on their own social media profiles, which in turn leads to sales for the companies that provide the samples. The success of the business model implemented by Birchbox has led to dozens of similar services offering a wide array of products to subscribers.
The success of the virtual pin board website Pinterest may seem as though it came overnight, but for founder Ben Silbermann, it took dedication and effort. His idea was to create a beautiful and convenient way for web users to collect and bookmark images, websites, and information easily in one location. Creators Silbermann, Evan Sharp, Paul Sciarra, and their development team began work on the site in December of 2009.
Not only is Pinterest a successful business in and of itself, but it also helps to promote other businesses. Users can save images and products to their virtual pin boards, which can then be viewed and saved by other members. The homepage of the site shows the feed with the most recent “pins” made by users. Small businesses can use the site as a way to promote their own products and services.
In March of 2010, the Pinterest website was launched. Today it is one of the most popular social media websites, boasting millions of users. It is one of the fastest growing sites on the web.
Founded in 2004 by Kara Egan and Collette Gunnell, Scentsy offers wick-less candles and candle warmers in a variety of fragrances. What began in a Salt Lake City basement has grown into a successful operation with over 400 employees and over 75,000 consultants. The business model is a multi-level direct selling and party plan structure.
Social media was barely in existence when Scentsy was created in 2004, but today it is one of the most effective ways for consultants to reach out to potential customers. Scentsy independent consultants use blogs, personal websites, and popular social media networking sites to connect with friends, family, and future customers to arrange in-home selling parties.
Today Orville Thompson is the CEO of the company and wife Heidi Thompson is the president. In addition to the candle warmers, new product lines are regularly launched by Scentsy as they seek innovative ways to expand and grow.
What makes social media so effective as a marketing tool is the ability to reach millions of potential customers at once. It also tends to be entirely free. There is no charge for starting up an account or profile on some of the most popular networking sites. Social media has proven incredibly useful for businesses of all sizes and types today.
About the Author: Joshua Turner is a writer who creates informative articles relating to business. In this article he offers a few businesses founded with the help of social media and aims to encourage further study with a masters in PR.