Meet Dan Toombs – also known as The Curry Guy, who has more than 45,000 followers on Twitter and a very busy website all about curry. I started following Dan on Twitter when he responded to something I wrote about curry. Since then I see him popping up regularly in my Twitter feed, responding to people or sharing recipes.
The Curry Guy is a perfect example of how to use social media to build and grow a small business. Dan understands perfectly that social media marketing is about conversing with people and about sharing things they are interested in, rather than only being self-promotional.
He told me, “Having written my food blog for the past couple of years and promoting it with Twitter and other social media, I have found it best to chat a lot but but keep the selling to a minimum. Offer your followers content they can use instead.”
If you like Indian food and spicy dishes from that region, follow The Curry Guy on Twitter.
Content marketing and social media management working together
Dan’s business is a great marriage of content marketing and social media usage – the kind of thing we have written about before. Dan’s Great Curry Recipes blog is packed with a couple of years’ worth of articles, reviews and discussions about the food he loves. Through diligence and hard work, Dan has created a business out of a hobby.
He has written books and produced his own spice products, which he sells through the website. The important thing to note is that Dan doesn’t just spend all his time trying to promote these products. He focuses on reaching people, allowing the product sales to happen naturally. The logic is sound. If you reach a large audience first, you have more people to sell to later. If, however, you start out just trying to sell products, less people will be willing to engage with you.
How much time does it take to get 45,000 Twitter followers?
Dan told me, “I currently spend about two hours each day working on The Curry Guy Twitter account. I also have a few others which take less time. Personally, I feel that social media can be very beneficial for any type of business though it is very important to know your audience.”
Dan also runs a promotional merchandise company called Compugift. The Twitter account for that one has more than 20,000 followers, but Dan says, “I have almost completely stopped promotional tweets. I chat back and forth with people and try to offer advice at times. Business has picked up since doing so.”
Schmooze marketing requires patience
If you’re the type of business person who thinks marketing should be all about promoting your message and your brand, think again. As I wrote previously in this article, social media marketing is schmooze marketing. Dan understands perfectly that people don’t want to be sold to, they want to chat. People do business with drinking buddies because they become friends, not because one walked in with a presentation and a contract.