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For New Dessert, Social Media is Key

By Hayley Gold, Staff Writer

The small gourmet diet food store Get Healthy America started carrying Arctic Zero a few weeks ago, but the ice cream substitute has already made the tiny Plainview shop a destination site for people as far away as Manhattan. How could this previously unavailable, unadvertised, niche market item already command such a loyal following?

The product does have some pretty impressive stats: The high-protein frozen desert has 128 to 136 calories per pint depending on the flavor, and is all natural, kosher, diabetic-friendly, suitable for the lactose-intolerant, low-salt, low-carb and gluten-free. Storeowner Debbie Cohen's in-store samplings have won over many a customer, but it seems that social media is the culprit yet again. Setting the cybersphere abuzz before the ice cream-substitute even hit East Coast shelves, avid Facebook were long waiting in suspense for their beloved diet dessert to go local.  

  As the marketers of Arctic Zero well know, Facebook isn't just about stalking your high school classmates, spamming your friends with viral apps and finding out which one of the Beatles you were in a past life. Products can also join the site, lassoing in herds of web-fans.

Along with its Twitter updates, Arctic Zero has been able to use Facebook to keep its product's followers abreast on the latest updates in availability, so Long Islanders were privy to Get Healthy America's newest acquisition in record time.

Garrett Blood, Arctic Zero's co-founder and chief marketing officer, finds Facebook helpful on many levels. "You can read so much at a website, but with Facebook there's some real interaction," Blood said. "It's an easier way to talk to the masses — to communicate what's going on, on an almost weekly basis, in terms of store count, additional flavors, just news in general and at the same time it allows us to be more casual when we talk to people rather than seem corporate and stiff through e-mail."

 Blood also sees Facebook as advantageous because, in addition to aggregating fans, it allows for feedback, which the company then incorporates in their products.  

In this way, Blood finds Facebook much more useful than Twitter, which he views as only a "temporary social media avenue."  He also points out that "Facebook let's us know what percentage of our fans are male or female, are in a certain age demographic, where they're coming from, how often they post — Twitter, not so much."

Fans are pleased with the way Facebook humanizes the company. "The fact that they're using a medium such as Facebook to communicate directly with the customer is impressive, especially considering how quickly I imagine they're growing," said Kicker Kardozi, a fan from New Orleans.  "It'd be very easy for them to completely ignore me asking on Facebook when they're coming to New Orleans, but they don't ignore it and even if they're not coming to New Orleans at least they're developing a better relationship with me by saying that they're working on it."

And how did all these fans find the product on Facebook?  Another form of social media!  The Hungary Girl e-mail service/blog, which also has it's own Facebook page! Its daily updates on dieting news filled many a fan in on this literal "scoop."

Hence social media is responsible for fans packing away the pints at Get Healthy America, as fans that previously bought on Amazon, could forgo the shipping expenses  So if you're interested, drop by Get Healthy America sometime for a free tasting….You may decide to become Arctic Zero's newest Facebook fan.

Debbie Cohen, owner of Get Healthy America, holding ice cream (Haley Gold, The Chronicle)

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