From our News Partners at WCBD-TV:
BERKELEY COUNTY, SC - We begin this week's Lowcountry Proud series with a look at a brand new high-tech company located right here in Berkeley County.
GWIG officially launched this past weekend at the Charleston Battery soccer game.
Charlie Turner is the founder and CEO of GWIG. So what is GWIG? "GWIG is the first of its kind social media application that has digitized word-of-mouth referrals."
You are still wondering what GWIG is, right? Well, Go Where I Go, or "GWIG," is a website and app that allows you to refer your friends to your favorite businesses.
Turner says most businesses have their contact information in Google Places. His company uses that information to make referring your friends to those businesses easier. "With three or four swipes of the phone, you can actually pass information from the businesses you love to your trusted friend network."
Word of mouth has long been one of, if not the best form of advertising in any business. GWIG aims to allow more word of mouth referrals. GWIG does not cost the referrer anything. "Both the friend and the referrer are free. The person being referred the business does not have to have the application. We're using email. So when I refer business that I like to my friend, we're using email to do that, so both of the people do not have to have the app."
Turner is not a typical tech company owner. "I'm actually not a big Tech user. My generation uses Tech, I'm not somebody who uses Tech... Actually I had one to two apps on my phone when I came to SPARC. I'm a small business owner, and I realized after owning my own small business for nine years, word-of-mouth referrals was the best way my business grew."
He is an optometrist with a practice on Daniel Island. "Last year I was looking for a digital tool just to help the customers that love our business to refer us. Last year we found that it didn't exist. I just decided to go ahead and build it."
He found investors willing to pay $600,000 to build the business. "Our idea was conceived locally. You know I live in Charleston, my business is on Daniel Island, SPARC is here on Clements ferry Road on Daniel Island. So I brought my idea to SPARC to help me go from an idea to a business."
SPARC is also a local Berkeley County business. They help create digital products for the government, as well as private companies like GWIG.
Tim Limbert is a project manager with SPARC. "We love to work with local businesses and folks here who have great ideas. Charlie Turner came to us as a small business owner with a great idea, back in summer time, back in June 2013, about a referral that's based on information he had learned while running his own small business."
So how does GWIG make money? The company will offer a $49 per month digital dashboard to businesses, allowing them to automate and track their word of mouth referrals.
Turner says, "They can track and have a digital record, first ever digital record, of a word-of-mouth referral, as well as track any and all referrals they receive. Also they can track any and all marketing activities that they do."
Photo Credit: Kentoh Shutterstock