Christiane Erwin, owner of Crestview Doors of Austin, TX, logged onto Facebook early one morning and was surprised.
She saw one of her company’s door designs in a photo post from home superstore Lowe’s.
Unfortunately it was as the winner of the Lowe’s Ugly Door Sweepstakes.
“They call that ugly?” she thought. “That’s odd, because it’s one of our best sellers.”
Crestview is a small door manufacturer specializing in mid-century modern architecture. Erwin knows that it’s not everyone’s favorite style, but she also knows that mid-mod fans are a devoted and stalwart bunch that had just been insulted on a question of taste.
In her ponytailed debut on the Block Blog, Crawford asked her, “Madeleine, do you know how to fix a laser aimer?”, to which she confidently replied, “Yes!”
The pair then demonstrated with charming aplomb a simple troubleshooting tidbit for Block’s medical imaging equipment customers.
It’s 6 pm on the west coast of the United States, but it’s already 9 am tomorrow at James Filbird’s apartment in Shenzhen, China.
Filbird is the proprietor of JMF International Trade Group Ltd., a company he built to $5 million in revenue largely through his efforts on LinkedIn, the only major social media platform that is not blocked by the Chinese government.
His beginnings in China, however, were less than auspicious.
Callan Green, senior social media specialist at Sony Electronics, never thought she would want a pair of leather pants.
“But I saw enough pins on Pinterest that I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I have to own them,’ and I went out and bought some.”
It was the fall of 2011 and she was discovering firsthand the power of Pinterest to drive sales.
The image-based, pinboard-sharing social media site launched in March 2010 is now the third-largest social network, behind Facebook and Twitter.
In March 2012, it tallied 2.3 billion page impressions to over 4 million unique visitors a day.
“We were all using [Pinterest] personally,” said Green of the social media team at Sony Electronics, “and realized the power of the platform to drive people’s interest in purchasing.”
The company typically relies heavily on advertising and PR to get the word out.
But for its Office 365 product, the team took a different approach.
Using partnerships and social media, Microsoft connected specifically with women business owners – a key audience group.
Rather than directing promotional messages toward them, Microsoft involved them in the process from start to finish.
“It’s definitely innovation within a large matrix organization like Microsoft that hasn’t really done this in the past,” said Penny Delgadillo, senior product manager at Microsoft.
In just a two-month period, the entirely social Office 365 “Your Office, Your Terms” campaign garnered 5.8 million overall campaign impressions and four times more traffic from social sharing than the typical Microsoft campaign.
Patton Gleason is the first to admit he can’t sell. And just over a year after going live with his online start-up, the Natural Running Store, he hasn’t had to try.
“I’m a terrible sales guy. I’m awful at it,” Gleason says. “But I really do like this idea of ‘can a relationship really be your big marketing vehicle?'”
Turns out, it can. By wowing customers with unheard-of service, Gleason has come close to replicating the in-store experience online. In doing so, he turned the Natural Running Store into a serious competitor in the running shoe arena.
And he’s done it without spending a nickel on outside advertising. The key has been to give online buyers a very personal touch and create bite-sized content for social media.
“It is 1000% a hustle in relationships,” he says.
“Just in the last year and a half, social media has become not just a component of our product marketing plan, but really the core component,” said Hession, currently senior manager of Autodesk’s AutoCAD product marketing.
“Pretty much for everything we do, we’re looking at, ‘How can we make this work for social?'”
Millions of people worldwide use AutoCAD software to design everything from sunglasses to skyscrapers. If there’s any question that a B2B software company can market effectively with Facebook, look no further than the AutoCAD team.
Today, she runs her own rapidly growing destination, drawing nearly three million page views every month.
Successful professional bloggers aren’t hard to find, but a few things are remarkable about White’s success:
- She writes a do-it-yourself carpentry blog. With White’s help, droves of women are discovering they can build beautiful, stylish things.
- She started with dial-up Internet and does it all from her home in the Alaskan interior (where record-smashing temps recently hit -40° F).
- White succeeded accidentally. She never expected that simply sharing what she loves could support her entire family.
This self-described “homemaker” has an innate knack not only for woodworking but for business as well.
Adding to the pressure, Sony’s social media team had a relatively small budget for the project.
With a creative mix of social media and in-person events, Sony brought out thousands of people to locations to “Catch the Tablet” and tell their friends about it.
Most notably, the campaign created buzz that inspired 1,000 clicks from Facebook to the Tablet S pre-order page, making it the most successful social media effort yet for the company.