Half Baked Cafe’s Social Media Swirl

Social media gives your business a voice.  Here is Part 2 of a 2 Part Series on Social Media and Small Business.  Make sure to read part 1 of this series “Social Media is Haute Couture”.

Situation/Background:
In my last post, I discussed the importance of knowing your audience and where they habituate socially – online.  Plum Consignment uses multiple mediums to share the latest news, events and products with their social media following.  Half Baked Cafe, in Beverly Farms uses only one social media platform to engage with their audience.  Yet it has worked successfully for them.

Half Baked Cafe logoHalf Baked Cafe
1 West Street, Beverly Farms

Who they are:
Half Baked Cafe is a 100% nut free cafe and bakery owned by Kelly and Tim Mackin.  The cafe features breakfast & lunch by Chef Craig White and daily Artisan breads by John Thibodeau.  In addition, pastries & cupcakes are supplied by John’s wife Sarah and custom cakes are made by sister company Cakes by Erin (actual sister to owner Kelly).

Half Baked Cafe cakeWhen they opened:
February 28 2013 – Just over 1 month in business!

Website: www.halfbakedbeverly.com
1 page under construction

Social Media Account:
Facebook: 2,186 Friends
(Half Baked Cafe Facebook Page)

What makes them unique: Word of Mouth/Social Media Marketing
In a recent discussion with Kelly she shared that Half Baked Cafe has never purchased online advertising and focuses solely on word of mouth promotion.  It does help that Kelly has some experience in this field.  Kelly utilized her marketing background to help her sister Erin, promote Cakes by Erin, based out of Haverhill, MA.

Erin’s story is a little different, starting out decorating amazing cakes out of her home; she quickly grew her business and opened up shop.  When celebrities would come to town, Erin and Kelly would make a custom cake and deliver to events and radio stations.  Due to the quality of Erin’s cakes and their Boston media presence, eventually word spread and today their Facebook page has 16,600+ likes.  Of course it helps having a few stints on Phantom Gourmet and Food Network competitions too.  That’s right; Erin brought the business on the road and came home with an “Award Winning” ‘status’ (pun intended) from Food Network. (Cakes by Erin Facebook Page)

Recently, Kelly and Tim decided to spin off the business and open up Half Baked Cafe in Beverly Farms.  Once they found their location and the paperwork was signed, hype-building began on the Cakes by Erin Facebook page.  Little teasers building the intrigue of what to come were shared.  A few days later, the announcement was made.  Just to speak to the influential following that Cakes by Erin had, Half Baked Cafe created a Facebook page on January 25th and in 24 hours receive 1,010 likes.  Three weeks later on February 16th they were at 1,500 likes and were not even open. (Half Baked Cafe Facebook Page)

In my conversation with Kelly, I asked her how she grew her following so fast, before they were in business.  She stated that she looked to her own social media following as well as Cakes by Erin’s friends to get the word out there.  Kelly tapped into key brand influencers asking select friends to share the news of her new business.  It worked! Today, Half Baked Cafe is close to 2,800 likes and they have been in business for only one month.  Half Baked Cafe uses Facebook to entice customers to come into the shop, by posting the daily menu, photos of the latest daily items and pictures of the shop.

Half Baked Cafe

Evaluation: 
There are a few lessons to learn from this word of mouth/social media marketing approach.

  • First off, what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for all;  it is about knowing who your audience is, finding out where they are and reaching out to them.
  • The second lesson is: it is important to know who your key influencers are; they are your unofficial brand spokespeople.  They take pride in spreading the word and knowing they are helping you out.
  • The third lesson is: don’t overuse the influencer approach.  You don’t want to bombard your following with spreading the news.  So use this tactfully and in a way to spread only big news.  If you consistently interact with followers on social media accounts most likely they are going to ReTweet and share news that you have posted anyways.

Kudos to Half Baked Cafe on all their success and I thank Kelly for taking the time to chat with me.  Make sure you swing by for some goodies and mention this blog post to them!

File Under: Social Media Swirl

Sources:
Cakes by Erin Facebook Page
Conversation with Kelly Mackin, Shop Co-Owner, March 7, 2013
Half Baked Cafe Facebook Page
“Half Baked Café is fully baked and now OPEN!”, The Farms Flyer, Spring 2013
www.halfbakedbeverly.com

Image Source:
Half Baked Cafe Facebook Page

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