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Gini Dietrich

Case Study: Wholesome Tummies Grows Via Facebook

By: Gini Dietrich | January 5, 2011 | 
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This ran in the January issue of Franchise Times so it’s franchise-specific. But I think you’ll really appreciate the case study that comes from building a business through Facebook ads.

Think you can’t have an ROI from Facebook? Think again. Wholesome Tummies, a franchise out of Florida, has used Facebook (and Facebook alone) to gain five new franchisees since February of 2009.

A business started in order to change school meal plans from high-fat and processed foods to more fresh and natural selections, they began using Facebook because as Samantha Gotlib, co-founder and president, says, “I love Facebook!” (And really, who doesn’t?)

Using laser-targeted advertising, which is what Gotlib and her partner Debbie Blacher use, it’s hard to beat the cost efficiencies of Facebook. “We target passionate moms who gave up their careers for their kids, but now want something to do with their time. Facebook ads make it easy to target specifically,” says Gotlib. “Our ads have a sentence about working while kids are in school and link to the application form on our website.”

Spending $20 to $30 a day in the beginning on Facebook advertising (their spending has since increased to $50 a day), they quickly began to receive two to five leads each day. From there, Gotlib and Blacher interviewed the applicants themselves, gauged their interest, and then invite them to a Discovery Day.

Now, however, because of the sheer number of applicants coming from Facebook, they have “graduated” to an educational webinar coupled with an application that gauges interest before they invest the time in follow-up calls and Discovery Days.

“We really love Facebook advertising because you only pay what you’ve budgeted. For instance, we set a budget where we are comfortable and that’s all we have to pay,” she says. “And you can target people who are fans of other like-minded pages. It’s really that simple.”

The lesson here is that there are many ways to use the social platforms, and Wholesome Tummies didn’t try to get on all of the platforms at once to see what would stick. They went on Facebook, first, because they already used the platform personally and because they could target, very specifically, who would make a great franchisee. Their strategy was to grow their business, one franchisee at time, and they only bit off as much as they could chew.

Wholesome Tummies now has presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Foursquare.

“We are definitely going to continue using Facebook because we’re very happy with the response,” says Gotlib. “The other social platforms we’re using simply to build brand awareness.”

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communications firm. She is the lead blogger here at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. She is the co-author of Marketing in the Round and co-host of Inside PR. Her second book, Spin Sucks, is available now.

47 comments
mirbiz
mirbiz

I am not hating on it, but I hadn't heard too many people boast about advertising using Facebook ads.

I think Facebook Ads worked for Debbie and Samantha because their target customers are parents. Not only that, but their service meets a need for these parents.

I am typically against Facebook ads because I think when people are on Facebook, they are there to see what their friends are up to or check messages -- at least that's how it is for me.

Basically, if you know you are offering something that a person likely needs, Facebook is good because it allows you to target specific people.

My reservations are based on people having basically conditioned themselves to not look at the ads. in the past I didn't even notice the ads, but with their new layout, ads are much more obvious (smart move Facebook). Maybe I think the ads are ineffective because I mainly see Mafia War ads.

I wouldn't be surprised if ads appear in the left column in the next Facebook update.

sierratierra
sierratierra

Great post for its tangibility for small to mid-sized businesses. The costs of running Facebook ads (as seen in the post) are not outrageous and have a much better chance of grabbing your target audience -- esp. if you're in a market like Wholesome Tummies. Lord knows it's better than spitting in the wind with print media!

NancyMyrland
NancyMyrland

Gini...always good to read case studies...thanks! These stories make us all better at what we do by helping us study what other businesses have done.

Doug_Davidoff
Doug_Davidoff

Gini,

Good stuff. I'm curious though - do you think there is a substantial difference in Facebook impact for B2C vs. B2B?

Mark_Harai
Mark_Harai

First - Happy New Year Ginny - and you win the award for best smile - it's infectious...

It's interesting to see how Wholesome Tummy's focused on just one platform to get traction on their social media presence, found success, and then branched out on to some other platforms to compliment their efforts. Seems to be a winning strategy.

Most of the time, you see at least three platforms being discussed by social media service providers when discussing where to start in social media.

Thanks for the insight Ginny...

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

There is a race to get my comment in before Danny. I am competitive like that.

So Facebook is not a very viral platform. In fact it seems anything but viral. It is REALLY hard to increase fans at any decent rate without gimmicks. I sent many invites to my 280 friends 90% in LA to Fan a client who makes yummy gourmet desserts and I got 6. These are good friends and close associates. People just don't see invites or messages. The Insight numbers are pretty sad compared what I get out of Twitter for them, shocking as that might seem.

That said we ran some targeted Facebook Ads to gain fans. At about 0.25 per click its cheaper than Google Paid Search. So for $25 we gained 100 Fans. Who if I can get each one to see a post just once per week over the course of a year that is only half a penny per impression. Based on a bar so low you know it will do even better.

I bag on Facebook all the time on Twitter and in my blog. Yesterday I totally proved they are becoming a Pump and Dump Scheme for investors via Goldman's new Derivatives Contract valuing them at $50bil. But Facebook got Facebook Ads right so as long as they have people on the network (unsure how long they will) use the FB ads. Especially if 0.25 per click is of value to your client or business.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@mirbiz We tested Facebook ads for a client last summer and they failed miserably. So I'm typically not a fan either. But they seem to really work well for this franchised business.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@Doug_Davidoff Oh sure! We find, generally, Facebook works better for consumer-facing businesses. It actually works really well for Arment Dietrich, but we think that's more because it's what we do for a living and less because it works for professional services firms. Of all of our B2B clients, we use Facebook for only one of them...and it works pretty well as a recruiting tool for them.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@Mark_Harai Aren't you nice?! Happy New Year to you too! I actually asked their founder that very question - why are you focused solely on Facebook? And I think it's mostly because they're a start-up company, without venture backing, and they just have time to explore other avenues. Plus Facebook really works for them!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@HowieG We have a consumer client who has a product almost all of us buy...and Facebook ads did NOT work for them. I think it just depends on the business and its growth strategy.