How One CEO Hit $100M In Sales By Building His Career Through Social Media

28 Aug How One CEO Hit $100M In Sales By Building His Career Through Social Media

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When people think about social media marketing, they tend to jump to Facebook ad strategies and content schedules, photography versus video analytics, and engagement rates. But when you really distill down social media to its most fundamental purpose, it is the thing that most often gets forgotten in the jargon of digital marketing: true social interaction.

If there is one entrepreneur who knows the real value of building social relationships, and how they can extend into the world of social media, its health and fitness mogul Andy Frisella: founder of Supplement Superstores, Paradise Distribution, and the renowned fitness brand 1st Phorm International. These brands, among others, bring in more than $100 million a year.

How?

He has built a true community.

Frisella’s mindset and the 17-year journey it took for him to build this personal health empire is worth reading up on in itself. In fact, he has even launched a wildly successful podcast called The MFCEO Project where he shares his brutally blunt advice and mindset while teaching aspiring entrepreneurs and business leaders what it really takes to build something truly successful.

But in order to fully understand Frisella’s intense approach to business, and how he has capitalized on the world of social media so effectively, it’s worth hearing how it all began: back in his first brick-and-mortar Supplement Superstore.

“You have to realize, everything we built from the very beginning was self-funded. We didn’t have rich parents. We didn’t have investors. Everything came out of pocket. And since we didn’t have the budget to advertise, and social media didn’t exist back then, the only way we could get people to come to our store was to go out and meet them.

“Every single day, we would go to every nearby business on foot, shake hands with the owners, people in the store, and I’d say, ‘Hey, I’m Andy, I own Supplement Superstores down the road. This is what we do, and if you need anything just come see us.’ That’s how we made friends and started to have 2-3 people show up every day. And in order to keep them in the store, we would talk with them, talk about their lives, their kids, etc.

“Then they would spread the word and say, ‘You have to go see Andy,’ because we had become friends. It was really slow at the time, but in reality it was the best lesson we ever learned. We never had the luxury of just throwing money at advertising. So we really asked ourselves how we could create a customer experience that would make people want to come back again and again,” said Frisella.

Well, clearly the lesson was worthwhile, because this approach to business is how Frisella himself has built an audience of over half a million followers on Instagram alone, people that follow for his business advice, as well as amassing over a million loyal followers for his health and fitness brand, 1st Phorm.

In fact, Frisella has secured his spot among business thought leaders such as Gary Vaynerchuk, speaking often about the value of focused work ethic, patience in business, and in terms of digital especially, how vital it is to create a community—not just a company.

“When I first started posting things for 1st Phorm online, I looked at all our competitors and all they were posting were pictures of protein powder. I thought that was so boring, and I wanted to do something different, so I catered our content around motivation instead, the lifestyle our customers wanted to live,” said Frisella.

According to Frisella, he shared that same kind of content on his personal pages, wanting to build his own personal brand as well. And with social media, instead of doing what he had done 10 years ago, going door to door, he just started having those conversations online.

“We communicated with people on Instagram or Facebook, and got people to start believing in the brand. Now, we have our Legionnaire program with over 4,000 social media influencers who represent 1st Phorm. And it’s not because we post pictures of protein powder. It’s because we know how to have those same in-person conversations online,” he explained.

To prove the effect this approach has had on the business, it was only recently that 1st Phorm started spending any money on digital advertising. Everything they were doing was organic, and the result of endless hard work to have meaningful, genuine conversations online with their customers, making them feel like they were part of the family.

“We have even had people get our logo as a tattoo. That’s the kind of stuff that shows us we aren’t just out here selling health producers, we’re actually building a place where people feel like they belong,” said Frisella. “That’s what I always wanted, even going back to our first Supplement Superstore. I wanted people to walk in and feel like they knew the owner, knew the people working there, and knew they were going to be taken care of.”

As Frisella tells it, expanding his businesses from $20-30 million per year to an anticipated $150 million in 2017 has been the result of utilizing social media the right way—and that means creating content not just catered to the consumer, but to the lifestyle they aspire to live.

Frisella who is no stranger to doing things his own way says, “Entrepreneurship has changed, it’s not about fancy boardroom meetings and custom suits…it’s about how good you are at connecting with people and solving their problems in the most over the top way possible.”


Brian Rashid is a speaker and branding expert. Say hi at connect@brianrashid.com

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