NORWICH – Today’s the day ... the much-anticipated launch of Swelby, a new social network designed to bring consumers and businesses together downtown and online.
“We’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response from both businesses and users,” said Swelby’s vice president of operations, Joe Root, in advance of today’s official start. “The feedback from everyone so far has been very supportive.”
Swelby is a new promotional tool that’s the brainchild of a group of entrepreneurs who are actually neighbors to The Evening Sun and its sister publication, The Pennysaver. Jeanne Brightman owns Swelby and its progenitor, New Media Retailer. Its two vice presidents, Root and Craig Ballinger (Research and Development), conceived and built the digital network from the ground up, complete with an expansive website and mobile app for smart phones – which went live at 6 this morning for the first time.
About 100 local businesses are on board for Swelby’s inauguration (a list appears in an advertisement on today’s Page 8), each hoping to engage new and existing consumers with this ground-breaking online marketing solution. “We’ve got everything from restaurants to car dealerships, retail shops to farm equipment,” Root said, with more stores and organizations joining the network every day.
Prior to its official launch, Swelby’s already made a splash on Facebook, garnering more than 600 “likes” and introducing a series of “SwelbyPops,” gift certificate giveaways from local merchants drumming up interest in the new network. In addition, several hundred potential users signed up on swelby.com to receive official notice of today’s launch.
Even if you haven’t already registered, all you have to do is visit swelby.com and create a free account – or sign in through your existing Facebook account. In just a few clicks, you’ll be able to start exploring all that Swelby has to offer local shoppers.
“The first thing I’d suggest doing is start perusing the local businesses and ‘liking’ your favorites,” Root said. “That’s a shortcut to hearing about their specials, deals and events directly. Then you can start checking out all the coupons and discounts that are being offered, claim the ones you’re interested in, and start saving money by shopping locally.”
Speaking of money, did we mention Swelby is free? While businesses and organizations pay to present their content on Swelby, for the user there’s no charge at all. If you have a smart phone, you can download the free mobile Swelby apps, or you can use Swelby directly from its website, which offers even more robust features.
While there’s much excitement built around today’s launch, the Swelby team – which also includes Mike Kelly, Nate Foote and Kassie Golden – is already looking toward the future. Root said the company will continue to recruit more local businesses and users, and eventually hope to bring the Swelby concept to other nearby markets. Next up? Oneonta. “We’re also working on expanding Swelby’s features,” Root said, teasing plans for a Swelby Q&A forum and expanded job search resource.
“We truly hope that this is going to be a valuable resource for the community, and that people will have fun and save money using it,” Root said.