Bakeries Owe Their Success to Social Media – OnlineBusinessDegree.org
Who doesn’t want to share the sweet, warm goodness of a freshly-baked cookie or an icing-topped cupcake after a long class day at Walden University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Norwich University, Ashford University, Kaplan University or anywhere? A poster child for potential marketability, many bakeries around the country are getting in on the game to build a loyal following.
These days, word-of-mouth reputations aren’t generated on the street — it’s a comment on Facebook, a picture posted on Twitter or a video from a blog that eventually gets the neighbor from around the corner in the front door. Reaching a large audience has never been as cheap or easy as creating a profile, and starting the conversation. These hot bakeries are just a few who’ve helped spread the word about their addicting treats with creative social marketing techniques.
Bacon-laced, Bacon Maple Bars and fruit-loop topped pastries are some of the G-rated versions of this off-beat bakeries delights. Just shy of the 10 year anniversary Voodoo Doughnuts in Portland, Ore., boasts a national reputation, and a cult following.
All that, and owners Richard “Tres” Shannon and Kenneth “Cat Daddy” Pogso say they’ve spent less than $5,000 on advertising since day one, according to an interview with AOL Business. With its bright pink boxes and their slogan, “The magic is in the hole,” this bakery has a brand and a philosophy designed to turn heads. With hours catering to the late-night bar crowd, Voodoo discovered early on that its non-traditional take on doughnuts was fun for customers to share with friends through sites such as Facebook, and Twitter and it serves as a prime advertising campaign — word-of-mouth credibility without Voodoo spending a dime.
Over 10,000 followers on Twitter and 45,000 likes on Facebook establish Voodoo well in the world of social media. Fans regularly take photos, and videos of their outrageous concoctions or post a status when they make the stop at a Portland store.
The waves of social media make Voodoo viral when big publicity, like a Voodoo parody on an episode of the Simpsons, hits the air. Voodoo feeds the fanfare by reposting and publishing links like this youtube video to promote its brand and unique culture among its fans, and their followers.
Spot Dessert Bar
Through some innovative social media campaigns the Spot Dessert Bar in New York city has made its mark, and a tidy profit. Beginning in 2011 the classy bakery embarked on a media blitz, and has since seen a 15 to 20% increase in sales and attention from coast-to-coast, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The shop turned to social media when its public-relations campaign saw a small flurry of local media attention before fizzling out. Branding its social media followers as “dessert ambassadors” general manager Rex Rhee says that social media is premium advertising because not only does it reach customers, but it also reaches their friends and their networks.
Through coupons offered on their social media pages, calls for customer input on menu items and Facebook photo contests featuring bakery creations, Spot Dessert hopes to brand a personality and a personal connection to its followers.
“We didn’t want [our social-media effort] to be seen as an advertising platform,” Mr. Rhee says in the WSJ interview. “We wanted to kind of create a personality around our brand.”
Crumbs Bake Shop
With cupcakes scattered from coast-to-coast Crumbs Bake Shop has earned staying-power with its gorgeous treats, and a well-branded product.
For company co-founder, Jason Bauer, establishing a strong presence across social media is a marketing priority. Location-based platforms, such as Foursquare help drive business to Crumbs as fans “check-in” using the GPS embedded in their device — fun for the customer to share with friends, and great for Crumbs to spread its name and presence.
“Since 2010, Foursquare has also served as a successful platform to drive customer loyalty by offering enticing weekly specials to Crumbs fans,” said Bauer in an interview with Modern Baking. Specials created especially for Foursquare users, like a free coffee for Friday check-ins, and a free cupcake for anyone with a “mayor” status, have helped Bauer cultivate his loyal following.
Bauer and the Crumbs clan took their brand to the next level when they became the first national bakery to have its own iPhone app, according to Modern Baking. With built-in sharing tools, cupcake devotees can send their favorite varieties, order cupcakes, upload photos and even send sweet-themed greeting cards and gift certificates without stepping foot in the shop.
Bauer is careful, however, not to overload the social media lines with his content. Customers may get annoyed if a business is constantly sending out photos, videos or messages. The right balance will keep customers engaged without feeling overwhelmed.
As a small business owner, establishing a social media presence is an easy way to reach a large audience. With hardly any investment in time or resources elevating the brand and spreading the word is simply a few clicks of the mouse away.