A Startup Success Story (and Facebook played an active role!)

Posted: October 8, 2009 in marketing, Sales and Promotion, Social Media
Tags: , , , , , ,

Ok, it’s late and I am up too (again) late but before I sign off for the night: I “gotta” share this story that ran in the San Francisco Business Times for a couple of reasons that have me beaming and I hope you can feel my enthusiasm leap off your screen:

September 25, 2009 — The San Francisco Business Times featured How Fast Time Flies as its Startup Spotlight (read the story!) Web site helps weave memories into digital scrapbooks .

A pleasantly surprised How Fast Times Flies founder recently shared it with her Facebook circle (of which I am gratefully part of.)

#1 Cathy Biddy Bennett was once upon a time a high school classmate of mine and well I don’t think any of us of the Santa Catalina class of 1983 figured back then (as we headed off to college) that for some, our fortunes would be made via the internet. Were we even conscious of it as we chose Liberal Arts degrees and pursued careers in medicine, finance, law, teaching and other fine fields?

#2 Real Relationships and Strategic Alliances played a significant role in catalyzing this success story. And trust and collaboration paid off big time.

#3 Utilizing Facebook successfully helped build a brand and generate interest that became sales and more sales:

“Ecom also built Bennett a Facebook presence in January 2009, and the business took off.

Prior to Facebook, How Fast Time Flies had about 11,000 members. Membership more than doubled within six months. Bennett now advertises on Facebook, has a Facebook application and a dedicated fan page.

“That medium is so, so powerful,” Bennett said. “I didn’t get into it at first because I didn’t think my customers were there; I didn’t think moms were there. And, yeah, they are.”

Cathy very gently, genuinely and tactfully used first her personal page and later her business page to showcase some of the cool things that customers had created. I watched as time passed that she got a little bolder, but remained understated as well, in her posts to share wins and wows. And her way “of being” herself, clearly attracted even more interest and customers.

No hype, just honest and genuine enthusiasm from Cathy the person (and the proud business owner), sharing customer creations month after month and contest winners as voted upon by the community. I recall one time months back, she unknowingly double posted only then to apologize for the duplicate posting. I suspect no one minded the double take. For her authenticity always shines through for me.

Using social networks like Facebook or perhaps one that is more targeted, such as Greenwala, a newer network established to champion all things Green will increase awareness of you as individual or cause or company over time. Facebook is for everyone AND within the entire population are the tribes we identify with also.

More specialized social networks may be easier to locate by online searches and they may have fewer members BUT at least you know they are more than likely receptive to you and your values and offering. The question may be how many active profiles in different communities can you consistently cultivate and participate and contribute to? A dormant profile within a community could send a mixed message, so being discerning about where you spend your energy seems a valuable dialogue to have.

Now, I don’t think it’s necessary to “over think” a Social Media Strategy. In fact, over thinking it could backfire sometimes. Authenticity trumps strategy time and again and good finds are naturally shared through friends and family and groups and now, social networks. So imagine that you have a good thing that simply needs to be more easily found. God bless the entrepreneurial cheerleaders” who created first newsletters, then websites, and now populate their blogs with the great exciting things they have found as they journey the web or the physical world.

Social networks allow for you to reach out, as yourself, be yourself, and be more easily discovered (if you are ready to be). Planning your involvement professionally and tactically is important, like the foundation of a home is. And genuineness rings true and clear where posts and pitches are concerned. And responsiveness when one can be, builds rapport naturally.

One of my favorite phrases is “Social Media is Straight Up Honesty.” –Francisco Rosales, of SocialMouths.com

And for as long as I have seen Cathy posting on Facebook as the mom and friend and business woman she is, I have felt her gentle spirit in every post and comment and share. Inspiring in me a desire to use her company’s fun service (aka patronize her) and let my circles know about this cool way to digitally beautify and share photos with others.

Good Product/Service I need/want + Generous/Gracious Leadership + Values that Align with Mine = Gets My Attention and Business!

I celebrate this former classmate’s enterpreneurial success and again gently encourage all you who are waiting to join in Social Networking, as the meaningful channel it is to grow personally and professionally and organically over six months, one Facebook post at a time, with some strategic and well-timed ads to attract new followers (per the article).


How Fast Time Flies for those who enjoy digital scrapbooking what a concept!

  1. […] More resources about 2010 social media trends, including customer voice, engagement and data bias: Brandkeys: 10:10 Brand and consumer marketing trends for 2010 Mark Suster: 5 tips to becoming a more customer-centric organization Venturedig: Monetizing social networks: The four dominant business models and how you should implement them in 2010 David La Piana: Non-profits – 5 key-trends […]

  2. […] More resources about cloud computing, power shifts in mobile data usage, and more: Miranda Mowbray: The fog over the grimpen mire: cloud computing and the law ComMetrics: Citigroup, RBS and Google: Loads in common Federal Computer Week: Cloud computing: Is it secure enough? New risks could cancel out potential benefits – are you compliant? CommMetrics: No free lunch with Apple, Microsoft, Nokia and China Mobile! Dion Hinchcliffe – ZDnet: Are the iPhone and social networks making the classic Web and intranet obsolete? […]

  3. […] More resources about social media marketing and the c-suite: Frank Maylett: Should the C-Suite Use Social Media? ComMetrics: Example of a corporate social media policy that works – 5 golden rules The Globe and Mail: Sorry boss, ain’t no firewall high enough ComMetrics: Yes Virginia, social media client-engagement IS a myth! ComMetrics: Sponsoring a sports or art event – why should a luxury brand do that? Deborah Drake: Facebook, reception or store – personable service is key: a success story […]

  4. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ComMetrics, Deborah Drake. Deborah Drake said: @ComMetrics thinks this is great case: small biz using #Facebook smartly + what it takes to succeed http://bit.ly/441P6l #trends2watch […]

  5. Deborah,
    what an awesome article…
    I look forward to staying in touch & reading more of your great material, on where else…Facebook!
    Cathy Bennett

  6. Judy Dunn says:


    What a wise and perceptive post. As a company that now specializes in social media strategies that will get our clients more customers, I can just say that your friend is doing everything right.

    I recently wrote a blog post on finding the right balance in the world of social media overload. I deeply believe that it is not the number of sites you are on, but the quality of your involvement. Better to pick two and do it right than be scattered across multiple sites and have an ineffective, inactive presence.

    And having a good product or service will not do it alone. Helping people, showing them how to do something easier, better, quicker is the other half of the equation.

    Now I need to go and subscribe to your blog!

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