In 2008, Paul Rosenfeld co-founded Fanminder, a subscription-based, online mobile marketing service designed to help small businesses communicate with their customers. He had originally planned to bootstrap the launch and then find funding for growth, but those plans were delayed when the market collapsed.
“The bar to obtain what funding is available has been set very high,” Paul said. “So we’re trying to be more creative.” This includes his creative use of social media.
“I had pioneered the first blog for my prior company, so I know how powerful social media can be. And, it’s inexpensive.” He uses each of the following as part of Fanminder’s “toolkit”:
- Fanminder’s blog and Facebook for updates. A potential investor who Paul was trying to reach popped up on Facebook and invited him to chat; they’re now in discussions. Paul uses the company’s blog to feature his newest customers, announce new releases, and discuss what it’s like to start a company.
- Twitter and American Express Open to learn what others are doing. An ex-colleague read Paul’s tweets about new investors and decided to become one. They even found a couple of their first customers on Twitter and on OPEN Forum.
- LinkedIn for finding business partners. “I’ve used LinkedIn to find CEOs and VPs of companies I think would love to distribute us. Then I see who I know that is linked to them to make an introduction. Using this, I’ve recently had a meeting with the SVP of Corporate Development for a top company.”
Paul’s team has also found team members online, too, which is not easy when you can’t offer salaries. Fanminder now has 12 team members working for “sweat equity.” Paul said, “They work for us when they’re not at their day jobs in exchange for a number of shares in the company and the chance to be a part of our exciting mission.”
Even with his current and past success with social media, Paul still continues to be surprised by the results. “You think no one is listening, but they are. I’m always amazed at how customers or partners or other people bring up posts I’ve written. Social media presents an opportunity to gain a reach and a craft a voice that’s impossible with traditional marketing.”
If you have a story about how you’ve used social media, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d like to share your story with other OPEN Forum readers. I also invite you to follow me on Twitter @marcyshinder.
For more tips and helpful information on using online marketing including social media, you can download our OPEN Book: A Practical Guide to Online Marketing.
For more information on Paul Rosenfeld (member since 1999) and Fanminder, you can visit their profile on OPEN Forum, their Web site at http://fanminder.com or their blog http://fanminder.com/blog.