Getting love for your startup on social helps boost your profile and get the word out - but a like here and a retweet there doesn't automatically translate into sales. So how can startups make the most of social buzz and turn it into sales?

One business who has done just that is Naturelly - a multi-award-winning, fun and fruity juicy jelly treat with no added sugar or sweeteners. Naturelly was the Platinum winner for Best Children's Dessert in the Loved by Parent Awards 2017 and won Gold for Best Children's Snack in the Loved by Children Awards 2017. Also, a percentage of profits from every pouch sold goes to the charity, Hope for Children. We chatted to founder Dean Dempsey about their innovative social approach.

Meet Oscar: the Chief Imagination Officer (CIO) at Naturelly. The space-loving 7-year-old, (he was only 6 when he started), beat hundreds of applicants to win the role. He won our competition to become the CIO after submitting a short video online, which was judged by the public on the Naturelly Facebook Page. Oscar, who wants to be a space food blogger and critic when he grows up, now plays a key part in the decision-making process on big issues such as; flavour tasting, video animation and new formats.  

How to turn social buzz into Sales - Naturelly

The idea of recruiting a Chief Imagination Officer and turning it into a competition was playfully imagined in order for us, The Naturelly Family, to understand more about what our target audience (children aged under 10) want and desire. We wanted to able to ask children and their parents for advice from time to time while remaining true to our core values of being playful, imaginative and active.

Our brand purpose is to inspire parents and their children to enjoy natural fun through imagination and active play, and this idea ticked all the boxes.

It initially started with children applying for the role by describing, writing or drawing what they wanted to do when they grew up. Three finalists were shortlisted and were then asked to create a 20-second video presenting their dream job.

Oscar thought Naturelly was like space food and believed that Tim Peake should tell all the children in the world about Naturelly. In his video, Oscar wore a space helmet (obviously!) and drew the international space station. Eden Strickland and Alex Jones, the other two finalists, created something equally as brilliant. 

The entries were so good that the Judges (which included ex-Apprentice star Rebecca Jeffrey) couldn’t choose a winner. They turned to Facebook and, by turning it into a bit of a game, asked fans of Naturelly, the children’s parents, friends and family to vote on who should win.

Each video was uploaded to Facebook separately with a call to action. A like equalled 1 point, a comment 2 points and a share of the video equalled 3 points. This encouraged engagement and also brand awareness, with each video averaging an organic reach of over 30,000 from 3000 combined shares!

How to turn social buzz into Sales - Naturelly
How to turn social buzz into Sales - Naturelly

Oscar was voted the winner and he is definitely a star in the making. His imagination, confidence and presentation skills blew many of our friends, fans and customers away.

Amazingly, Oscar and his story then appeared full-page in two local Leicestershire newspapers (free and paid) and he was interviewed on BBC Radio Leicester, which was fantastic for him and of course also great publicity for the brand.

Every single person who voted for their favourite for the role of CIO was then given a 50% off voucher code to buy Naturelly from our website, resulting in direct online sales. Also, each person who voted was asked to send us their address and we sent them Buy 1 Get 1 Free Vouchers to try Naturelly from Boots stores.

All the children who entered were asked via their parents to join the Naturelly junior advisory board and those that accepted (around 40 of them) were sent free Naturelly and affiliate coupon codes for them to introduce us to a friend and earn commission back.

Finally, we printed business cards for our new Chief Imagination officer with his own promo code on them, to share with his friends at school and family so they could get Naturelly for 50% off in the future.

How to turn social buzz into Sales - Naturelly

The campaign resulted in an increase in sales of 60% from the month before on Ocado, a 30% increase in Sales in Boots stores, and also resulted in online orders of over £1000 direct from customers using the codes given.

And the brilliant news is, it’s not over. As part of Oscar’s role, he was asked to create a script for a new Naturelly advert that we briefed to a content agency called What Marketing, who created a storyboard and then animated it for us. It’s jelly good fun and you can be one of the first to watch Oscar’s here on YouTube or here on Twitter.

Just remember, if you like, comment, RT or share the video on any of these channels we will contact you and provide you with either a discount code or ask for your address so we can send you Buy 1 Get 1 Free vouchers for you to claim at Boots stores nationwide.

Top Tip

Create a unique and ownable idea then reward everyone that engages with your brand on social media to enable you to grow both your sales and a loyal following.

Thank you for being #naturellybrilliant reading this post, and please enjoy 50% off a box of 12 using promo code Vblog50!

Get the Virgin StartUp Business plan

The information contained in this website is provided for information purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal advice on any matter.  Use of this website is at users own risk and is not intended to create a lawyer-client relationship between Virgin StartUp and any user. Information displayed on this website is provided “as is” and Virgin StartUp does not provide any express or implied warranty or representation concerning the information, including but not limited to the accuracy or appropriateness of the information. Virgin StartUp recommends that users seek their own legal advice before taking (or refraining from) taking any action and do not accept any liability in respect of any actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the information displayed on this website to the fullest extent permitted by law.