Seeking to emphasize to consumers that the platform runs on a “social commerce” model – combining both social networking and e-commerce – bSocial teamed up with Arketi Group for the launch with the end goal of reaching a national consumer audience and trade publications.
Arketi and bSocial sought to position the technology nationally as a groundbreaking platform that allows consumers to easily create and profit from their own personalized online stores, says Annette Filliat, an Arketi Group consultant. Targeting a primary audience of 17- to 28-year-old Facebook users, small-to-medium businesses, and niche vendors, it also wanted to emphasize that it's the first company to offer Web-based e-commerce applications for social networks.
The network wanted to reach out to home retailers, as well as a secondary audience of technology investors and venture capitalists, particularly in Silicon Valley. So the team pitched the story to local and national general interest journalists, as well as trade reporters who have covered monetized social networks, Filliat says.
“We were looking for a kind of broad commercial appeal so that we could drive end-users... and then publications on a regional and national scale,” she adds.
Consumers built more than 17,000 market lodges using the technology, and added more than 370,000 products to the networks. Additionally, media outreach helped to place 98 stories deemed “positive,” including stories in The Wall Street Journal, eWeek, Time, and broadcast coverage on ABC News and Fox News Channel.
bSocial plans to use PR to enhance fundraising and reach its market base, says Bill Eager, cofounder of bSocial.
PR team: bSocial Networks (Denver) and Arketi Group (Atlanta)
Campaign: Market Lodge launch
Duration: January-June 2008
Budget: Less than $75,000