Diamond Candles is not your grandmother’s candle company.
The two-year-old home fragrance company sells ecofriendly, jar-encased soy candles with a little something extra. And it does all of its selling online, relying heavily on social networks to promote the brand.
Facebook (News - Alert) has been a particularly effective means for Diamond Candles to push its $25 product, which is targeted a mid-market females in the 23- to 55-year-old age range. Diamond Candles, which boasts a quarter million Facebook fans, frequently used Facebook contests to try to boost user engagement. But the company wanted to make sure it was optimizing its promotional efforts on Facebook, so it tapped a company called SumAll to help out, said Justin Winter, co-founder and CEO of Durham, N.C.-based Diamond Candles.
Winter described the SumAll solution as a very easy way review different data sets – like Google (News - Alert) Analytics, website information, and activity on Facebook and Twitter – through a single, graphical presentation to gain insights on how activities on different channels affect one another. The alternative, he said, was to run regression analysis on different spreadsheets. SumAll, he explains, enables Diamond Candles to get information on how many people see its Facebook post on a given day, and then look at its sales for the day and see how fluctuations on the social network affected its sales on that day. After signing on with SumAll, Diamond Candles experienced a 10 percent increase in Facebook traffic, customer engagement and sales generation.
That goes against a recent report from Manta, which got a write up in USA Today headlined “Social media a bust for small businesses”, saying 61 percent of small businesses aren’t getting any positive results from their social media activities, despite a 50 percent increase in their time spent on such activities.
CUSTOMER magazine mentioned this report to Winter, who replied: “I think the problem is that [some] people have no idea what they’re doing, to be frank.”
For example, he said, a restaurant might launch a website or promotion, but have no real strategy behind it. If people don’t know about it, or it has no valuable information once people get there, he indicated, it’s tough to get a return on that investment.
Winter added that a couple months after launching its business, Diamond Candles was selling one or two products a day, but that increased as some of its customers took their own photos of the candles (which have rings inside) and shared them via social networking. The photos and videos are fun for the buyers; they help both explain and promote the candles to others; and they drive a lot of revenue from Diamond Candles, he said.
Diamond Candles knew a good thing when it saw it, so it moved to encourage more of the same. It did that by updating the candle labels with a note suggesting that people upload to social media pictures of themselves using their candles and rings. Winter said the effort worked beautifully, driving huge results for the company.
“We do little to no paid acquisition at all,” he added. “We only work on word of mouth.”
By word of mouth, Winter obviously means not only via in-person interactions, but through social media. And while Winter said that “Facebook has made us who we are today” he added that “I think Instagram and Pinterest are who we are tomorrow.”
Recent Pinterest updates have made huge impacts on Diamond Candles’ traffic, he said, adding that in the last 60 days it’s seen Pinterest traffic surpass its Facebook traffic.
While home fragrance competitors Glade and Yankee Candles made their names selling traditional products via brick-and-mortar locations, and Scentsy distributes its candles and related products via in-home parties, Diamond Candles aims to build its reputation as the most social-media friendly company in the marketplace and one that delivers a “Zappos-esque high level of customer service.”
The company aims to know about any mention of the Diamond Candles brand online anywhere within 5 hours and wants to be able to respond to it within 24 hours. And that’s not just for damage control, but to allow it to actively reach out to happy customers. If a customer needs help, said Winter, Diamond Candles can send them FAQs about the product. If the customer says she likes the product, Diamond Candles may send her a “girl-next-store, fun” response.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi