How Facebook marketing turned one company into a worldwide phenomenon

The social media network sought to attract paying customers, Flash Pack founders discovered

Thursday 08 November 2018 13:28 GMT
Flash Pack co-founders Radha Vyas & Lee Thompson
Flash Pack co-founders Radha Vyas & Lee Thompson

Founded in 2014 by Radha Vyas and Lee Thompson, Flash Pack is a successful adventure lifestyle company that connects like-minded solo professionals in their thirties and forties who are looking for stylish, authentic and dynamic travel. The company builds tailored itineraries for its travellers, offering global trips that are meticulously targeted at their client base.

Vyas and Thompson recognised the power of social media right from the early days of the business. “We started with £15,000, just enough to build a website, and the first six months of business were extremely painful with a very steep learning curve,” Thompson recalls.

“One day we were reading an article about workmen fixing the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, which had been struck by lightning,” he continues. “We realised that it was possible to climb up inside the statue, and I flew out to Rio to persuade the Brazil tourist board to give us access. Remarkably, they agreed, and I took a picture of myself at the top. We released the picture to the media two weeks before the football World Cup began in Rio and it went viral. We decided to hold back video footage to encourage people to visit our site — and managed to get 1.4 million hits in two days.”

The experience taught Vyas and Thompson a valuable lesson and the business began to invest in Facebook marketing as it sought to attract paying customers. “Our business achieved 300 to 400 per cent year-on-year growth from that point and Facebook and Instagram still play a huge part in our marketing today,” Thompson adds. “The platform has enabled us to directly target a niche but huge and rapidly growing audience all across the world.”

Flash Pack’s revenues have also risen quickly as a result and the company has already managed to break into profit. The successful business is now valued at £10m.

Today, content marketing represents an increasingly crucial tool for Flash Pack. “We use Facebook and Instagram as our main content distribution channel,” Thompson says. “Our social channels are growing at a rapid rate. We’re adding around 4,000 fans each week.”

It’s not all been plain sailing, however. The company came close to running out of money in its early days and its bold Rio de Janeiro marketing idea was almost a final throw of the dice.

But Thompson is adamant that this experience was formative for a business that has managed to become a global brand. “Understand your market thoroughly, know what makes customers tick, what drives them and what their motivations and fears are — and then build products around these needs,” he advises other entrepreneurs. “Be passionate about what you create.

“If you love and believe in your business it will get you through the tough times.”

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