Modthink Helps Social Media Click with Small Businesses

by Serenah McKay  on Monday, Aug. 6, 2012 12:00 am  

Michael Baker knew he needed a social media strategy for connecting with customers of his Fayetteville-based Houndstooth Clothing Co.

Talk at a retailers' conference he attended in Las Vegas last February had convinced him of that. But the 46-year-old, who started his T-shirt company on North Block Avenue in 1992, also realized he was out of his element and needed to call in the experts.

After several months of research and meeting with about a half-dozen companies, Baker found modthink, a local firm that focuses on teaching small to medium-sized businesses how to use social media channels like Facebook more effectively.

Baker, who has seven stores throughout the state, has been working with modthink since early June and has already seen an increase in sales.

"Our location at the Northwest Arkansas Mall just had summer sidewalk sales, and we posted some really strong numbers from that, the strongest we've seen in several years," he said. "And I've got really nothing I can attribute that to other than us handling the social media portion of that better, letting our customers know what was going on and then responding to that."

Modthink, which officially began doing business in March, was started by Northwest Arkansas residents Brent Robinson and Matt Dromi and Kansas City, Mo., native Bob Roth. The team's fourth member is Sylvia Tran, a social strategist.

All three founders have worked at Rockfish Interactive in Rogers, though not at the same time. Robinson and Dromi met at an event at The Iceberg, and brought up their mutual friend Roth.

"We were talking about how we'd all been working for big brands and big retailers and doing social media campaigns," Robinson said, "and came to the realization that while they're doing a good job with the things they're doing with social media, they're not taking full advantage of it, because it really is a two-way conversational medium, which is like how our grandparents did business on the square.

"It just kind of struck us that social media could be so much more utilized by small businesses."

About this time, Robinson said, his friend Hank Kaminsky, the Fayetteville sculptor, contacted him and said, "I don't know how to do it, but I know I need to do this social media stuff, and I know you know how to do it. Come help me."

Robinson brought in Dromi and Roth, and the three began meeting with Kaminsky at his studio, helping him with his professional Facebook page. That entailed answering his questions about the technical features as well as helping him clarify the message he wanted to convey.

"We said, ‘We could do your social media, but it won't be authentic, because we're not you,'" Robinson said.



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