Rohan Mirchandani, Co-Founder, Drums Food International (By Anand Murali/ NextBigWhat)

To say that social media is a great leveler is stating the obvious. It is the 21st century equivalent of David’s “sling and smooth stones” for smaller companies to take on Goliaths. If you are a consumer startup, a good social media plan will perhaps go a long way. To gain insights on how its done, we caught up with Rohan Mirchandani and Milap Shah, the co-founders of premium ice cream brand Hokey Pokey owned by their startup Drums Food International. Hokey Pokey has over 100,000 likes on Facebook and Rohan has co authored a paper on “Increasing the ROI on Social Media marketing,” published in MIT Sloan Management Review. The startup, which has 15 outlets now, has plans to expand to 150 outlets in the next 2 years and hasn’t spent any money on Facebook or Twitter advertisements yet. Here are three things they did to get there:

1. Hokey Pokey started something called the morning news network. Every day, they’d share a wonderful story on their Facebook page. Such stories tend to have a certain virality just because those are positive stories while there is so much negativity around. They also started sharing pictures– cute & funny ones– as well as posts on their brands page. “The idea is to not only talk about the brand but also bring some value to the people on the network or at least put a smile to their face,” says Mirchandani.

2. “On Twitter we did a much more scientific campaign,” he said. In the early days, they were keen listeners. They’d listen to the chatter on Twitter and respond to opportunities. “If someone says they’d had a great dinner, we’d recommend an ice cream dessert at our nearby ” says Mirchandani.

Milap Shah, Co-Founder, Drums Food International (By Anand Murali/ NextBigWhat)

The company then identified influencers and started talking to them. Few of them were invited to try their Ice Cream. At Hokey Pokey, anyone can mix and match and create a personal flavor.  Because it was an interesting concept, it got photographed, tweeted and shared.

3. Mirchandani co-authored an article for the MIT Sloan Management Review on Increasing ROI of Social Media Marketing. It’s a seven step guide to identify and recruit potential brand ambassadors online. The steps are: Monitor social media conversations, identify influential individuals who can spread messages, identify the factors shared by influential individuals,  locate, recruit & incentivize those influencers who have interests relevant to the campaign. Read the full article here.


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