Bakery in Age of Social Media

If you want to make it big in India’s bakery industry, having a social media marketing strategy is a must.

Ask yourself where you spend most of your leisure time. And the smartphone is likely to be the one-word answer for most people in an urban setting today. And how do they spend their time with their smartphone? While many people play games, or watch Netflix or use other streaming services on their smartphone, almost all of them also spend a lot of time on social media platforms – be it Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, Helo, ShareChat, WhatsApp or any other such platforms. Therefore, it is very important to have a robust social media strategy for any bakery – however small or big your outlet may be – in order to attract the attention of potential consumers.

In fact, a recent study by Microsoft-owned professional networking platform LinkedIn has found that 94 per cent of sales professionals use technology to close more deals in India. The survey also revealed that sales professionals who rely on sales technology also outperform their peers.

The report titled “State of Sales 2019 India” revealed that modern sales professionals are very active on social media. While 93 per cent of modern sales professionals said they are active on LinkedIn for business purposes, a vast majority of them also use YouTube (88 per cent), Twitter (80 per cent), and Instagram (79 per cent).

“India is historically a relationship-based sales environment where referral selling is key,” Edward Hunterof LinkedIn Sales Solutions, India, said in the report.

It is in this context that social media marketing gets prominence in India.

Social Media: Opportunities and Challenges

When it comes to food, people in India tend to rely a lot on recommendations f r o m their friends. And these recommendations need not always spread through word of mouth, thank to social media. Therefore social media offers an opportunity for small and medium bakery owners to reach their targeted customers. Social media platforms allow people to tag the bakery or restaurant when they post any image. So the things that they like become immediately popular among their friends. These platforms also allow to tag the locations of the outlets. But it is also important to mark your business on Google Maps. So having social media presence makes it much easier for them to tag your outlet which increases visibility.

So even if you do not post anything, your customers can post photographs of the items that you sell and make you popular. But it is important to become proactive on social media for various reasons. First, regular posts can help you connect with your loyal customers. These posts can also keep them updated about changes introduced in menu or other updates. In a way, social media offers you a democratic platform to reach out to your customers.

With the relatively newer social media platforms that have now become popular, especially among the youth, it is no longer necessary to write creative captions or stories. Especially, with the short video-sharing platform TikTok, anyone can create videos and post them. With the video-sharing platforms, language is no longer a barrier. Moreover, there are several social media platforms that allow users to interact in regional languages. Examples of such platforms are Helo and ShareChat.

But it is also not as easy to crack the social media marketing code as it seems. Many outlets have even started to have dedicated budget for social media marketing. These platforms often allow businesses to target their customers in a more systematic way than other marketing channels. Some outlets even make use of social media influencers to lure potential customers to their outlets. These social media influencers are people with large following. They can be celebrities, food bloggers or just any influencer. They often charge money to post pictures or videos of products on behalf of the producers of those products.

However, even those with very little social media marketing budget should not stay away f r o m these platforms as with some effort, it is possible to generate organic traffic to your account. One could also think other smart ways of making the products popular on social media. For example, one can offer some loyalty points to customers for social media posts of their products. It is also possible to organise contests for best alternative recipes of your popular products. The “Live” features that have become part of most social media platforms can also help broadcast such contests or showcase how chefs prepare their products at the kitchen to a wider audience.

Social media marketing is especially important for those who rely mostly on online orders for their sales.

Best Practices

So if you do not yet have a social media presence, first create an account with a powerful and yet clear profile, describing your uniqueness and strengths, along with the specialties. And as soon as you create the account, you should work towards achieving at least three goals – bringing in new customers, increasing customer loyalty and growing revenues. But you should also institute mechanism to measure how much your social media strategy help in achieving these specific goals.

Maintaining regularity in your posts is also important. It is important not to let your customers think that you have social media presence, but you are not active. Moreover, always make sure that the images you use for social media posts are of high quality.

Another key to a successful social media marketing is to engage with the audience. Your posts should be powerful enough to elicit responses f r o m the followers. It may also help to generate new baking ideas f r o m f r o m the audience in order to increase engagement levels.

Posting tutorial videos on baking can also help increase the engagement level. Showing them what “behind-the-scene” efforts need to be put in place in creating the tempting desserts may also encourage your followers to share or retweet the posts with their friends and with the world.

With social media, it is also possible to build up excitement for special days, such as the foundation day, Mother’s Day, etc., and attract the audience with special creations and offers for these days.

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