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Smart Social Media Marketing: Caleb Elston and Toluu

Interacting with bloggers called vital for business

Brice Wallace, Deseret News, June 7, 2008

Toluu released several new features on Wednesday. The features are cool, and are covered in another post on this blog. Which leads to the point of this post…

Caleb Elston did a masterful job of getting coverage for his fledging company Toluu. By himself, with no PR firm. How?

Caleb is a participant in social media. He’s established relationships and credibility with bloggers, and with others on FriendFeed and Twitter.

In a recent post, I asked Will Brands Figure Out FriendFeed? The idea is that rather than rely only on standard press releases and marketing campaigns, companies should look at engaging customers out in various social media, with a focus on FriendFeed. Establishing these deeper relationships pays dividends:

  • Reliable audience for updates
  • Viral distribution of company information
  • Customer advocates
  • Feedback from the market, with the ability to follow-up on questions/comments

Caleb has all of these advantages through his efforts in social media. How involved is he? On FriendFeed, he subscribes to 278 people, has 248 Comments and 244 Likes. On Twitter, he’s following 479  people and has 734 updates. In other words, he’s involved. Which is actually pretty amazing considering he has a day job on top of building out Toluu.

Yesterday, his involvement paid dividends. He reached out to bloggers the day before to let them know of an upcoming release for Toluu, and asked us if we wanted to cover it. Well, since I know him already, saying ‘yes’ was easy. He got eight different bloggers to write about the new release:

The combined Technorati Authority of those eight blogs is 872, which is like getting a top 5,000 blog to write about you. Many of the bloggers are active on FriendFeed, which combined with their existing subscribers, meant that a lot of people saw the news about the new features.

Caleb describes the payoff:

All I can say is wow. Yesterday was an amazing day for Toluu, you helped us shatter every metric we track. We had a record number of pageviews, visitors, signups, new feeds, connections made, invites requested, and time spent on the site. All I can say is thank you.

He even picked up technology celebrity Leo Laporte as a user. Said Leo, “I’m in dire need of a feed reset!”

Admittedly, as a small start-up with limited resources, this is all he could really do. He can’t crank up the PR, marketing and advertising machine.

But that doesn’t devalue the accomplishment. Caleb managed to get people interested in his company thanks to his active involvement in social media.

Big companies…are you listening?

*****

See this item on FriendFeed: http://friendfeed.com/search?q=%22Smart+Social+Media+Marketing%3A+Caleb+Elston+and+Toluu%22&public=1

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