Soda Social

Some people jump into Social Media and make up the rules as they go along, some people fall in and flub the rules as they go, others are lucky enough to have someone to guide (read: drag) them in and teach them the ropes. At different times I have filled all these roles: Jumper, Flailer, Dragee and Guide. That’s the thing about social networks, we all have to start somewhere and the more the merrier. I’d been pushing my friend to be more active on Twitter and a weekend trip to Seattle seemed  the perfect time to give her a gentle shove.

She’d recently discovered Instagram and with her visual arts and design background it was a more comfortable fit than just simple text-based Twitter. One night, while enjoying a delicious dinner at Lark in Capitol Hill neighbourhood, we were really impressed by the flavour of the cucumber soda from a local company called Dry Soda:

We were so taken with the one Dry Soda we’d tried that we tracked down a sampling of their other flavours and hauled them back to our hotel room. After polishing off the Wild Lime, I arranged the bottles on the window ledge, my friend shot and shared through Instagram and the image above went out on Twitter:

A couple of days later it was retweeted by @drysoda:

After getting her permission, they then shared the image on their website. This is something they do regularly and is a great way to encourage and connect with fans of their product.

I retweeted the image with my food blog Twitter account, which was then re-re-tweeted by Sharelle Klaus the CEO of Dry Soda on her Twitter account, @CEOdry:

I just think this is a really fun example of how brands can interact and build relationships with fans and customers on Social Media.

Have you had any interesting online run-ins with businesses or brands on Twitter or Instagram?

Social Media Takes the Cake

Can Social Media take the cupcake to another level? Cupcakes have been a food trend ever since the Magnolia Bakery in New York was featured on Sex and the City and this hilarious SNL video. Since then cupcake specific bakeries have been popping up all over the world. Some have disappeared and others have managed to outlast the fad. I have tried to sample as many as the cupcake offerings in British Columbia as possible, it’s only fair to the cupcakes. While all were very attractive, there is only one bakery that has cupcakes so good that I think about them daily and will pay a bridge toll just to taste them again: Frostings Cupcakery in Langley. Part of the reasonI think about them every day, besides their sumptuous cupcakes, is their presence on social media.

I shared the photo below on Twitter and Facebook through Instagram last week and it was retweeted by @frostingcupcake with the comment “Hey, we recognize those :-)”. While I did pay for the regular size ones, the little mini red velvet cupcake at the bottom was a freebie I earned by checking in at their store using FourSquare. They have three specials set up through FourSquare, including 10% off for the mayor (it pays to be important). On Frostings’ Facebook Page they share their daily line up of flavours, so because I’ve “liked” their page, it pops up in my home feed tempting me every day.

Using Social Media to engage, reward and remind their customers, Frostings has created a loyal following. Let’s compare the stats for Frostings to another more established cupcake bakery in Vancouver: Original Cupcakes on Denman.

Frostings Cupcakery Vs. Original Cupcakes

2009 – year established – 2002

1449 – Facebook Page Likes – 527

98 – people talking about them on Facebook – 21

2736 – number of Tweets – 602

1355 – Twitter Followers – 3702

618 – Following on Twitter – 46

233 – FourSquare Checkins – 338

40 – Klout Score – 37

Though Original Cupcakes has been around seven years longer and has more than double the amount of Twitter followers than Frostings Cupcakery, Frostings’ followers and fans are much more engaged with their more active and interactive Social Media presence. If you think that’s impressive, wait until you taste their cupcakes!

Update: June 13, 2012

When I tweeted this post I included Frostings’ Twitter handle @frostingcupake and got the nicest reply:

Reflected Glory

Helping my husband realize his dream of opening his own restaurant was one of the most gratifying achievements of my life. For years we talked, imagined and sketched out what our restaurant would be like. The food, the room, the staff, the menus, we discussed and detailed every little item. Eating at restaurants became an exercise in what we would and wouldn’t do. But once the restaurant was a reality, it was his day-to-day place of employment and I was still at my credit union job. I realized that I didn’t want to work in a restaurant, I just wanted to create them and make them successful.

I found my new role was helping him imagine new restaurant concepts and turning those into bricks and mortar. As I took Communications and Public Relations courses through BCIT’s Marketing Management program, I discovered another way that I could support him and his ventures. Rather than spending money on traditional restaurant advertising, my husband and his business partner invested in a Public Relations Manager. She brought food writers into the restaurants and found opportunities for editorial promotions. I pushed the restaurants into the world of social media by setting up Facebook pages and helping the managers to generate content.

One of the most exciting challenges I set up for myself was a confectionary tasting for Vancouver’s premiere food bloggers. I invited, organized, hosted and live Tweeted the event and met some fascinating food lovers in the process. I created the website, set up and ran the Facebook and Twitter pages and did all the photography for the company. Unfortunately, the pastry chef moved back to his home province and the confections are no more.

But what I took away from these experiences was the understanding that I am not really meant to be the star in the spotlight, I’ll be the one directing the spotlight on the deserving talent and enjoy the occasional flash of their reflected glory.