Social Media Case Study: A Hairy Success Story

Entrepreneurial Headaches Can be Eased by Social Media (photo: Mindsoup)

Digital media is the foundation of entrepreneurial success. The onset of digital media has allowed young professionals the opportunity to dabble in the “side business” without deviating from their day to day career. In essence, the access to niche markets, ease of market research and ability to measure success once could only be accessed by those few business folks with deep pockets for start up marketing costs. Now, digital media (the combination of mobile and social media) can bring business dreams alive.

Enter the personal case study.
A year ago my family invested in a small retail business. In a far fetched and little supported idea I had based on a Miss Universe observation, thousands of dollars in clip in hair extensions were purchased. We were going into the hair business. Me – a woman who could barely style her own hair despite hours of pageant training had been convinced she could be the face of a well researched, high quality hair brand. Money wired. Shipping costs paid. Web connection enabled and boom! The shipment was delayed. I tracked it everyday and I vented on my Facebook page about the delays.
Scared we would lose out on the Halloween hair buying rush (this does not exist by the way), I started the business’

A sample of the pictures posted.

Facebook page and posted information on hair care, hair extensions, photos of women with good hair styles – just in an attempt to keep my friends and family who would be supporting the store engaged in what I was planning to offer – a shopping experience that was based on educated and informed choices.  The page grew to 194 in a week. The shipment was not closer. I prayed. I posted on the business page.
A cousin saw the page. She liked it and recommended it to a friend. My cousin and her friend had curly hair. They shared with me how hard it was to find products that worked for them. They suggested I get a product for “curly cuties.” I listed. I did the research online. I found the supplier. I ordered the products and thanked my cousin for the suggestion.
I kept posting. My screen kept showing me my products were crawling from the supplier. The page grew to around 249. The growth was the only good news. Marketing funds were drying up. My investors worried. I posted some more.
A friend and famous beauty blogger, Afrobella, saw my posts. She inspired me to consider products for natural haired ladies. I did the research. I found the supplier. I ordered the products. I thanked my blogger friend.
Money done. Patience running thin. Halloween passed. I kept posting information on hair care, the products I would bring in and photos. Did I mention money was D O N E?
The page grew to just shy of 300. Shipment reach! Opening planned…of the doors. Money for fancy grand opening spent on the products suggested by the friends. Investors vex.
A local fashion blogger saw the post that we were opening. She came on opening day to do a “feature”. She bought a product. Other customers also read about the opening and shopped. But she wrote about the experience. Others read the blog. We had customers the next day.
Enter the meeting of traditional and new media. A “product launch” was done in San Fernando – in a drug store in the mall. I featured the date and time on the Facebook page. A Facebook friend was the feature’s editor for a paper. I invited her online. She came. She wrote for the paper AND on her blog that was about…HAIR!

A Photo from the ENV Clip In Extension Product Launch

Another friend saw the planned launch. She suggested I film it. She knew a friend who had a film business and could do good work for a small fee. I paid it (account in minus now). Two weeks later an informercial was posted on the Facebook page. People shared it. They liked the fact that a percentage of all profits (whenever they came) would be donated to cancer charities. My family liked that the concept was inspired by my mom. They pressed the like button. Their friends saw the posts = more awareness = more customers.

Via an email, I asked the most followed blogger in T&T, Saucy Trini, to consider sharing a media release I wrote about the store. She did. She shared a link to the store’s Facebook page. The page following spiked. I thanked her.
Customers were encouraged to share their mobile numbers. When sales ebbed, I sent broad cast messages from the mobile phone I bought for the store. To keep costs down a blackberry group was started. Customers shared their “hairy” stories on the Facebook page. I started a blog. We tried Facbeook ads. 300 friends grew to 200 shy of 9,000 fans and customers. The foundation of success was laid. Thank you digital media. Thank you Mr. Zukerberg. Thank you RIM.
The above story is 100% true. It is shared to inspire other start up businesses (not hair please 🙂 ). It is a case study that highlighting that social media helped a small business survive nearly crippling delays by creating an opportunity to build brand engagement even before the business opened the doors. The “Hair It Is” story shows that LISTENING to customers is key to business success and super easy due to social media.
This blog is about Communication Questions. So, having read those 843 words, Why aren’t you using social media for your business again? Social Media works. Try it.
This commercial for Hair It Is and Social media brought to you by, Danielle A. Jones – upcoming speaker at Caribbean Digital expo. Ha! Another commercial! WHOOP! Hair It Is!
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4 Responses to “Social Media Case Study: A Hairy Success Story”

  1. krissytrini@hotmail.com Says:

    I’m actually considering opening a small business and I want to use Social Media as my start up point.

    Thanks very much Danielle 🙂 ur truly an inspiration

  2. difference between google plus and facebook Says:

    Hmm it seems like your site ate my first comment (it was super long) so I
    guess I’ll just sum it up what I submitted and say,
    I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I too am an aspiring blog blogger
    but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any suggestions for novice blog writers?

    I’d really appreciate it.

    • caribbeancontessa Says:

      Hi there! I am very tardy in replying but I am honored you would ask me, a sporadic blogger for advice. My most important tip is to write about topics you are passionate about. When you write what you belive in, it shows. My second tip – research, read and respond to everything to read online.

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