coffee and pastry Technomic's "Bakery Café Consumer Trend Report" has some good news for those in the bakery-cafe ownership. According to the survey and an article from Nation's Restaurant News, 43% more respondents had been to a bakery than when they last surveyed in 2008. 72% of those people said that they visit bakeries at least once a month. According to the article, "the most common reasons given by consumers who do not visit bakery-cafés have to do with location and unfamiliarity."

How to familiarize? We know that one! Bakers know that revenues rise and fall throughout the year as a result of people buying more expensive items for special occasions such as weddings or the holidays. In fact, this bakery restaurant marketing strategy encouraged customers to buy gifts for each other on a "karma board" during the holidays.

However, bakers working closely with their customers and future customers through social networks like Facebook have learned how to really encourage people to order and browse their products on a regular basis through this online medium.

How can your restaurant marketing strategy be more effective? Well, if you're on social media networks -- such as Facebook -- we've got some tips for you based on what we've seen work. 

Bakery Marketing via Facebook Tip #1: Start Posting Videos

Blue Door Bakery Facebook Page Forget the fancy equipment and the video budget, because most of us have a decent HD video camera on our cellphones. And if you don't, you probably still have one on your digital camera. No matter how you choose to shoot your videos, they will show customers the integrity of your work and will also give you an opportunity to inject some personality. Blue Door Bakery has a custom tab on Facebook showcasing the how-to videos they post, like How To Pipe Two Tone Cupcake Icing and How to Make an Edible Bow for Cupcakes.

Bakery Marketing via Facebook Tip #2: Post Photos on a Regular Basis

Deweys Bakery Facebook Page Just as bakeries put out fresh goods every day, the same rule needs to be followed for pictures on Facebook. In addition, the quality of the photos will reflect the quality of the goods to the online customer, so make sure the photos are top-notch. Posting photos on a regular basis will remind readers to order that special cake or to check out a new cupcake flavor, and will get them through the door. Many bakeries find that taking a photo of the best creation of the day is an effective habit that will increase sales, but don't forget to show the great variety that your bakery is producing as well. Something tells me that Dewey's Bakery won't have trouble selling Thanksgiving cupcakes:

The 'photo strip' is a new addition to Facebook for the Fall of 2011. When an album is created, more than just one picture will show up on a wall. Instead, a group of different sizes will show up in a post. To take full advantage of this new feature, decide on five images that work well in any order. The images should be about 97 by 68 pixels for best appearance and should be stored seperately from other images.

An example of a bakery that does an outstanding job with this is Deising's Bakeries and Restaurant.

Bakery Marketing via Facebook Tip #3: Choose a Great Profile Image

The profile image for your business should be one that sticks in the memory of the reader, and selected with as much thought as that goes into the 'prof pic' of a personal Facebook account. In some cases, it will be a very professional, straight-forward photo of the front of the bakery such as this example from Louie’s Bakery. For others, it may mean a photo of a great product they have created such as this example from Zen Bakeries.

For others it may mean a logo that is used with other marketing material such as this great example from Munch Bakery.

Whatever image profile is chosen, it should be memorable in the mind of your customers browsing on Facebook and it should reflect your business in a positive light.

Bakery Marketing via Facebook Tip #4: Network with Your Competition

A little healthy competition goes a long way. Using networking side by side with owners of competing bakeries keeps the creative juices flowing. It is also a great opportunity to explore what is working and has worked well for others. One of the most active groups on Facebook for bakeries is the North Texas Professional Bakers Guild. This group use Facebook to encourage each other to attend special trainings so that they all get better at their skills.

Bakery Marketing via Facebook Tip #5: Use Contests to Provoke Your Sweet Tooth Fans

More Cupcakes of Chicago, IL loves to play games with its customers. They often feature a fun, dessert-themed contest on their Facebook page and encourage participation from their fans with, of course, a sweet incentive for the winner. A past game challenged fans to name 30 songs with the word ‘vanilla’ in it. The first 30 correct answers were eligible to go to the shop and receive a free cupcake. Not only does this strategy make the customer feel included and connected with the company, it also encourages participation and eventually purchasing. More has no trouble getting hundreds of people to participate in their contests.

Bakery Marketing via Facebook Tip #5: Host and Post Events

Mikes Cupcakes Social Media Strategy Hosting events and classes at your bakery will show off your expertise and also give you face-to-face opportunities to turn fans into customers. Mike's Amazing Cakes offers weekly classes on cake decorating and doesn't hesitate to use Facebook's "Events" tab to post them for everyone to see and RSVP.

Customers often need a gentle nudge to order a cake for that upcoming special event which is why this is one of many reasons why bakeries should be on Facebook. Facebook is a restaurant marketing strategy that increases awareness of any businesses and is perfect for reminding people that it's time to order that special pie just in time for that big event. Try any one of these habits and see for yourself!

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