The 28-year-old South African native discovered his interest in social media after freelancing and starting his own graphic design and web design business in 2008. Stuart helped local businesses get online and start leveraging social media to increase sales. That’s when he began to see more and more small businesses adopt social media as a marketing tool and started his new business - selling stickers. Stuart got the idea after thinking about what he could do to combine his experience as a designer and business owner and to use these skill-sets to create a useful product.
“Brands are getting used to the idea of engaging with customers online through social media. Small businesses that can benefit from social media need to raise awareness of their online presence: they need to keep the conversation going and be a part of the online community. Businesses need to let customers know they are also listening and connecting online,” Stuart said.
The trend Stuart picked up on is reflected in the news. In an article entitled "Local businesses take advantage of social media," author Hannah Rogers of The Reflector details how several Mississippi businesses are fully leveraging Social Media to increase sales. http://www.reflector-
Another article written by Laura Petrecca of USA TODAY details how the restaurant chain Smashburger went from 3 Denver stores in 2007 to 150 nationally by 2012 thanks to a heavy Social Media and PR focus. http://www.usatoday.com/
"Wielded wisely, social media can help a growing business boost brand awareness, improve customer relations, garner market research, even bolster sales. As the number of people using social media rises, marketing experts say it's essential for even the smallest of companies to consider diving in." explains Laura.
In 2011 Stuart started his new business selling social media stickers to businesses that understand and leverage social media or have someone helping them with their social media engagement. The stickers display a custom business name on each one, as well as icons representing the popular social media networks. FollowMeSticker.com has now sold stickers to restaurants and retailers in 29 states across the US and 11 countries around the world.
One happy customer is a family owned and operated jewelry store in Liberal, Kansas: "Collins Diamonds chose to work with FollowMeSticker.com for our QR code promotions [...] We have Facebook, Twitter, and our Website Stickers on the exterior of our store front. It has not only drawn in more customers but it has also provided our Facebook and Twitter with a larger following as well. The stickers do not take up much space, but they make a BIG IMPACT!” explains Morgan L. Bartel A.J.P., owner of Collins Diamonds www.facebook.com/
After increasing demand from restaurants and retailers, Stuart has recently introduced three new products designed to help small business increase-word-
“The table tents are a hit. They are sturdy and attractive. I’ve had numerous compliments on the product and I’ve had positive feedback regarding their effectiveness,”
Stuart plans to provide several more products throughout the year to meet the demands of businesses that are strengthening their social media communities. He also hopes fans of FollowMeSticker will help boost the economy and support local American businesses, an effort he calls the ‘Local Street Team,’ aimed at helping mom and pop shops increase sales by learning about social media and his custom stickers.
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FollowMeSticker.com creates custom social media stickers to help customers locally promote their Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Google+, and LinkedIn social media profiles and online communities. Stickers are affordable, attractive, and an innovative way to raise awareness of social media presence.