It's overwhelming, isn't it? Blogging, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Flikr … I can't keep track of them all. But social media are here to stay, so you'd better jump on the bandwagon before you get left behind. To me, at least, it seems as though social media entered the world of communications and marketing at lightning speed.
“Social media is essentially an extended conversation with your customers — past, present AND future,” says Rebecca Appleton, operations director at search engine optimization agency AppleJupp. Before you start using social media for your bakery, you need to assess your goals and ask yourself several questions. Why would you use it in the first place? How can social media increase your brand identity? How can you find out what consumers are saying about your product? How can you keep consumers informed about what's going on in your business, or inform them about product-related news?
In addition, you'll need to figure out how you can turn your goals into reality by learning the types of social media tools available, and which of those sites consumers are most likely to use. I realize, with commercial bakers, we're talking business-to-business sales. But ultimately, you need to reach the consumer if you're interested in driving traffic to your brand. Here's how one commercial baker is using social media.
King's Hawaiian Bakery, Torrance, Calif., has a link on its website entitled “offers.” Under this link, consumers can sign up to be a member of the King's Hawaiian Club, where they will receive exclusive offers and be among the first to be notified about special contests and sweepstakes. At the bottom of the page, consumers can click on the Twitter icon, where they can follow the company and hear its latest news. Or, visitors to the website can click on the Facebook icon, where they can become a fan.
It's all well and good. And while I think it's great that businesses have a means of reaching out and having a one-on-one conversation with their customers and consumers, I'm still a bit stumped on the “hows” of it all.
I attended the American Pie Council seminar recently, where I listened to Chris Lau of Chisano Marketing Group give a fascinating talk about social networking. I thought the person sitting next to me was going to have apoplexy when someone in the crowd asked Lau if he felt companies needed to create a position dedicated to social media networking and he said “yes.” Appleton seemingly agrees with his assessment.
It's all a bit overwhelming, isn't it?