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Industry now has a link to Facebook

By Liz Keener

Divas SnowGear joins Facebook council

When a representative from a large company like Facebook calls looking for help, it’s hard to turn them down. So Wendy Gavinski, founder and president of Divas SnowGear, was all ears when she received such a phone call about a year ago.

Facebook was looking to share successes stories of some of its business users, and the company was impressed with how Divas had increased its Facebook audience so quickly.

“They just saw the growth of our page, and that it was growing at a certain rate, so they kind of had an eye on us,” Gavinski said.

Facebook initially called because it wanted to use Divas SnowGear as an example of a small, niche company that had figured out how to use Facebook to grow not only its page likes, but its business. With Gavinski’s permission, Facebook began sharing Divas’ story, and Divas was soon featured in articles such as one in the Financial Times in November.

Then earlier this year, the head of Facebook’s SMB (Small to Medium Business) team called. The company was creating a small to medium-sized business advisory council and wanted to know if Divas was interested. Divas was among about 100 businesses that were being considered for 12 spots, but Gavinski made it on to the council with ease, as the small business department unanimously voted her in. The SMB Council represents the 29 million small and medium-sized businesses that use Facebook.

“Divas is proud to be a voice for the powersports industry and looks forward to being able to help their distributor and dealer partners in taking their social media efforts to the next level,” said Travis Mayne, sales manager for Divas SnowGear.

Divas’ story

What drew Facebook to Divas was the company’s quick rise on the social network. Divas launched its first casual line for female snowmobilers in September 2010 before developing outerwear for the 2011 season. By April 2011, the Wisconsin-based company had joined Facebook to spread the message about its new brand and products.

Through organic likes and tens of thousands of dollars in Facebook ads, Divas has grown its fan base to more than 42,000. In that same time, its business has grown 500 percent.

“It’s a great way for us to keep our customers interested in our business and eager to see what we have coming out. It’s huge for us, and the sales, too; they really do directly reflect Facebook. That is a huge source of sales of us, and I shouldn’t just say for us, but for our dealers as well,” Gavinski said.

Facebook has been Divas’ primary marketing source because it has been the easiest way to reach female snowmobilers, as many of them don’t seek the same media channels as their male peers. Facebook advertising allows Divas to specifically target women who have expressed interest in snowmobiling.

“Facebook is huge to us and our growth is just enormous because we’ve been able to use Facebook to literally reach out and touch our end consumer directly,” Gavinski said.

Divas shares a variety of posts on its page, from details on the latest snowmobile models to photos of rides, and of course, details on its latest products. Frequent giveaways also draw plenty of likes, comments and shares.

“We’ve really done our research and can get around [Facebook] really, really well,” Gavinski said.

Facebook SMB Council

Because Divas has had such success, the small business department at Facebook wanted to learn more about what facets help small businesses and lean on any suggestions Divas had for improvement.

Wendy and Travis Gavinski of Divas SnowGear were flown out to Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., to be part of the social network’s small to medium business council.

Wendy and Travis Gavinski of Divas SnowGear were flown out to Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., to be part of the social network’s small to medium business council.

Wendy and her husband Travis Gavinksi were flown to Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., in early March. Their first night with Facebook included a reception and dinner followed the next day by a full schedule of meetings.

“Basically they wanted feedback on what has made us successful, and the other businesses there have had similar types of success,” Wendy Gavinski said.

Each of the 12 businesses from a variety of industries across the U.S. shared their ideas for how Facebook could help their companies grow, and suggestions for change. Facebook wanted this input, Gavinski said, so it can better help its small and medium-sized business partners succeed.
“They’re constantly changing, and they’re open to change, so they were very receptive to everything that we had to say, and they just really want to keep the lines of communication open,” she explained.

Though the council’s first face-to-face meeting has already come to a close, the lines of communication have been left open, so Divas can share any ideas that come to mind throughout the year. It’s an opportunity the company is fortunate to have.

“It’s amazing. It’s such an honor to be chosen for something like that, being a woman-owned business, being one that just a few years ago, I had no idea where this business would be going or if it would even work. It was just kind of a shock of where this has ended up,” Gavinski said. “It was just an honor to be a part of this [council], and for our opinion to be respected by such a huge company, it’s just really amazing.”


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