Expansion beyond the shores of Cebu to other Visayan Islands and Mindanao for a local cosmetics maker could not have been as fast this year without a boost from social media particularly bloggers based in Cebu, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, and Iloilo Cities.
This developed after the Cebu-based GT Cosmetics began expanding its market for products like its carrot and whitening soaps this year with a series of media launches in key urban centers in the Visayas and Mindanao. GT Cosmetics products are now displayed in practically all major malls in the Visayas and Mindanao and convenience stores like Watsons.
“Aside from members from the local media like print, radio and television, we also extended invitations to bloggers. Not only was I surprised by the interest of the blogging community, the impact of write-ups in blogs continues to astound me,” said Engineer Leonora Salvane, owner of GT Cosmetics.
She noted that even after the initial excitement weeks after each launch, the articles posted in the online versions of local media outlets and the blogs continues to stimulate interest and interaction online.
“The articles even got posted and commented in a Las Vegas online paper and product review websites,” an excited Salvane said. Because of this, the company now intends to develop this presence in social media especially with its goal of expanding its present foothold in Metro Manila.
For GT Cosmetics, this foray into social media has a lot of promise considering that the Philippines, which has a population of some 99 million Filipinos, already has 29.7 million Internet users.
Internet World Stats recorded that the number of Internet users in the Philippines has grown tremendously from a mere 2.6 percent of the population in 2000 or a growth of 27.1 percent in ten years.
Doris Mongaya, PRworks Inc. managing director, noted that in 2009, Filipino Internet users numbered 24 million. This means there was tremendous growth of some 5.7 million Filipino users by July 2010.
Growing communities of bloggers, people who put up and regularly write in web logs popularly called blogs, are making their presence felt online and offline.
Concentrated in Visayas and Mindanao urban centers, many bloggers are attending and writing about community developments including their experiences with GT Cosmetics products, said Mongaya.
PRworks, which has been helping GT Cosmetics in its ambitious expansion plans, is now laying down plans for broadening the online presence of the cosmetics maker especially in popular social media platforms such as Facebook.
“We, however, recognize that building successful online communities for GT Cosmetics is earned and a result of hard work. The recognition and support online are a result of experiences with quality products. It is largely free but must be won through word-of-mouth online,” said Mongaya whose agency has also made its mark online.
The PRworks Online blog (prworks.wordpress.com), which now has over 12,000 unique views, has earned for the agency choice clients like NEO Laptops and a cell phone manufacturer.
“We believe our experiences with marketing online will further boost GT Cosmetics as its looks forward to markets beyond Visayas and Mindanao,” Mongaya said.