As I read about all the different types of social media platforms in the appendix in likeable social media, I instantly felt guilty because I use so few of them. I can’t help it. The one I am on most frequently is YouTube. I can’t keep myself from dog videos, James Corden Carpool Karaoke segments, and the golden buzzer moments on America’s Got Talent.
I know I should start spending more time on social media. Some of the apps are already on my phone. Right now, I might spend ten minutes a day at most, unless I am kidnapped by those videos which pop up one after another. Maybe it’s like an exercise program and I must work up to thirty minutes a day. But thirty minutes a day on social media!! Are you kidding me? I could walk my dog two miles, do an exercise tape, read a book, write a letter that is overdue, return a call, bake some cookies, fill the car with gas, iron my work clothes or grade some papers. Who has time to be on social media for thirty minutes a day? I know, millions of people do. So why have I been hesitant to use it and become more social, building my networks through these applications? Time is one of the reasons, but another reason is the idea of putting something out into space. Yes, I know it’s called the internet, but for me I visualize it as comments, pictures and videos floating out into space. I would be lying if I said I was not concerned about the reaction to what one of my posts might be. Likes are great, but being dressed down in a public forum is not my idea of a good time.
The reality is, it may not be exciting to me to be on social media and share my private life. When it comes to business this will have to change. As an aspiring entrepreneur, it would be a mistake not to take the impact of social media on the world and in the business of food seriously. Dominique Crenn, a two-star Michelin chef of Atelier Crenn in San Francisco says, “Instagram came to give a voice to chefs and to the food they serve.” Not only can they give a voice, they can also help drive reservations and create word of mouth marketing. (Andrade) In a 2016 survey done in the United Kingdom, over 200 chefs were surveyed for their social media use and 98% saw the value of it. (Robinson) They use it to increase sales, find new vendors and create positive reviews. Robinson states there are 250,000 chefs in the United Kingdom and they are on their social media accounts seven times a day.
In likeable social media, Kerpen gave us a refresher on social networks he believes are the most important. I will touch on a few of them below and explain how I could incorporate them into a marketing strategy for my future cookie business.
Facebook-the king of the castle for social media.
This is a must have and opening a Facebook business account will be integral to the opening of any business. Facebook’s group and community pages can help create buzz. Aside from the basic contact information, my site can be used to market new products, run specials, advertise a pop up event and stream baking videos.
I can use Twitter to communicate daily with my customers. I envision putting out a request for people to sample new products in exchange for feedback. It could be used for posting about specials, links to other baking related businesses, food and non-food related events going on in the city, and photos.
This might be the easiest one for me to start using for my business since starting the ME program. I believe this could be a great way to introduce myself to the baking world through videos I post about home baking. A blend of baking information around those recipes which are passed on from one generation to another. It would not have to be cookies that I demonstrate. In fact, I would stay away from cookies and try to build interest in baking other items. I could also envision setting up a public pop up sampling event, videotaping, and posting the entire experience. Perhaps I would include a fun fact cookie question before someone could taste a sample. Think “Cece on the Streets with Treats.” Now try to say that 10 times quickly.
As noted above, this would be an ideal application to gain customers by showing the world my products. As I have often heard throughout my pastry career “people eat with their eyes first.”
I must say, this is another application which will be easier for me to use given the blogging I have done as part of the ME program. Blogging would give me an opportunity to take a deeper dive into my business from a more personal and historical perspective: posting pictures of family, sharing other recipes which have been passed to me and the stories behind them, sharing other families’ recipes and stories, linking YouTube videos for baking instructions, and posting about community events which involve baking.
There are many social media platforms available for an entrepreneur to choose. I chose these five because my research has shown many chefs and food related businesses are using them with great success. I believe they lend themselves to working well with my idea of a cookie business and setting me up for a good start in the world of social media. As you look at your business and how to position it in the marketplace, think carefully about which social media platforms are chosen. Each platform is set up to reach people in a different way. Is this platform the best for you and your customers? As the entrepreneur it will be necessary to find out.
Andrade, Miguel. “How Instagram Is Transforming Professional Cooking.” Wired. Conde Nast, 06 June 2015. Web. 09 July 2017. <https://www.wired.com/2015/06/instagram-transforming-professional-cooking/>.
Kerpen, Dave. Likeable Social Media: How to Delight Your Customers, Create an Irresistible Brand, and be Generally Amazing on Facebook (& and other Social Networks). New York: McGraw-Hill, 2011. Print.
Robinson, Nicholas. “Revealed: Chefs’ Social Media Habits.” MorningAdvertiser.co.uk. William Reed Business Media, 08 June 2016. Web. 09 July 2017. <http://www.morningadvertiser.co.uk/Pub-Food/News/How-chefs-use-social-media>.