by Julia Paulus
In 2007, Taran Hensley and her mom, Jody, became business partners. Having come to a crossroads in her career as a marketing specialist in the corporate world, Taran decided to take her skill set and apply it to the launch of Mom’s Originals, a gourmet pretzel company with the product made, of course, by Taran’s mom.
Hensley began marketing Mom’s Originals. She started by creating a website, and she also joined local organizations and hoteliers associations, and soon Mom’s Originals began to make a name for itself.
“I called places we knew we wanted to be, like Busch Stadium to get Mom’s Originals into the stadium suites,” says Hensley.
Despite her already broad base of marketing know-how, Hensley was always interested in learning the latest tactics. “A friend of ours mentioned we should use Twitter to market our business,” says Hensley. “I didn’t know about it or understand it. My first thought was that maybe I could get Mom’s Originals into the hands of celebs through Twitter.”
Once Mom’s Originals’ Twitter account was set up, Hensley worked to personalize it and created an original background. “I saw that I could create a face for Mom’s Originals to connect with consumers since it’s interactive,” she says.
From there, Hensley began to search on Twitter to see whom other St. Louis businesses were following. “I wanted to see if places I wanted to be associated with were on Twitter or other local businesses,” she says. “To learn, you have to get on and feel out the process.”
It took Hensley only a few weeks to see the value in Twitter. “I latched on once I saw results,” she says. In addition to connecting with local places, Hensley gained new clients as far away as Hawaii and New York through Twitter.
She learned that even searching for specific words – in her case, “pretzel” or “chocolate” – could lead to sales. “If you search ‘pretzels’ on Twitter, a list of tweets will come up that are involving pretzels,” she says. “If I find one saying, ‘I am craving a pretzel,’ then I would send the person an interactive sales pitch.”
Through connections made on Twitter, Mom’s Originals products are being carried in six states. The company’s sales have increased, and website statistics have spiked. “Our first year we were so local, we only had about 30 hits per day on our website,” says Hensley. “Now we have at least 600 new unique hits per day.”