If you’re a young company, getting on the Oprah show can mean a pot of gold – it can also make you plenty nervous about ramping up to the anticipated demand. Despite her mainstream platform, Oprah Winfrey practices social networking with gusto! Think about the “favorite things” product handouts and her endorsements of all kinds of products – talk about a network!
Xconomy first reported on the company, started by two alumni of Jobster.com in 2007. They started with profiles on MySpace and Facebook, and launched discussion groups. Perhaps their crowning touch was to friend everybody who said “I love bacon”. Xconomy quotes their results as 37,000 bacon loving fans on MySpace alone. Founder Justin Esch is quoted as saying “There’s a huge bacon subculture. There’s love and there’s fanaticism.” They have since attracted the attention of venture capitalists, and now Oprah. There are some business lessons here also – Again in Esch’s words:
1. In the social media space, having advocates of your brand, evangelists, is the most powerful thing you can do. Do you trust someone marketing to you, or do you trust a friend’s referral?
2. Be genuine. be honest about who you are and what your intention is.
3. Never give up on promotion. – they mailed product to the Oprah show four separate times, but a convergence that started with John Stewart’s poke at baconnaise got her attention.
Lessons here for all kinds of companies, and for daytime Divas. Social media has the power to make an overnight sensation – or maybe just a hurricane that was forecast, but never came ashore.