When your bakery is active on social media, you're staying top of mind among your current customers, increasing awareness of your business with new consumers, providing better customer service, and even increasing sales.
Nearly half of U.S. consumers have tried a foodservice establishment because of a social media post the business published, according to a survey by marketing agency MGH. In addition, among consumers who actively follow and engage with food businesses on social media, 74% say they’re more likely to patronize those businesses.
Not only do people leverage social platforms to discover new food options, search locally, read reviews and learn more about businesses they want to visit; social media is fueling consumers’ desire to make food and eating occasions a memorable experience and part of their identity. They’re using social media channels—especially visual-centric ones like Facebook and Instagram—to share these experiences with others, signaling their lifestyle traits, preferences and beliefs to their followers through their food and dining choices.
And now more than ever, given the global cultural shift amid the COVID-19 pandemic, social media is vital for maintaining connections with customers, providing informative, helpful service, and marketing your bakery.
Get Your Bakery Started on Instagram
Once your page is up and running, you can start advertising. Many bakeries benefit from the low cost of advertising on Facebook compared to more traditional channels. In addition, the platform’s capabilities are fairly robust, yet easy to navigate, helping you better promote your bakery to the most relevant consumers for your business.
Instagram differs slightly from Facebook in that its sole focus is photos and videos, not text-based content.
Among Instagram’s 1 billion users, 90% follow a business on the platform, according to Sprout Social. And many food trends, including mashup adventure, extreme milkshakes, gourmet donuts, and most recently, the resurgence of bread baking as people stayed at home amid COVID-19, have Instagram to thank for going mainstream.
A great benefit to Instagram for bakeries is that it’s owned by Facebook, so a lot of the features are similar.
Step 1: Create an Instagram Account
If your business doesn’t already have an Instagram account, creating one is simple. Either go to www.instagram.com or download the app on your smartphone. We recommend using the app since it’s easier to navigate.
Click Sign Up. You have the option to log in with Facebook or sign up with your email address or phone number. We suggest logging in with your email or phone number and linking to Facebook later. For Full Name, add your business name. For Username, make sure it’s something identifiable about your business, preferably your business name if it’s available. Once you create a password and sign up, you’ll be prompted to add in additional information in order to get your account set up properly.
Step 2: Convert to a Professional Account
Once you’re done with the initial set up, it’s time to switch to a professional account. In the Instagram app, tap the three-line icon in the top left corner. Select Settings. In the Settings menu, select Account. At the bottom, select Switch to Professional Account.
By converting your business’s Instagram to a professional account, you get access to special tools and insights, such as:
- Learn about your followers, including who is discovering and interacting with your profile and posts.
- Build your business by connecting with current and potential customers through engagement and by creating promotions.
- Add more contact options to your profile, like an email address and phone number, so it’s easier for users to get in touch with your business.
Step 3: Select the Appropriate Account Type and Category
You’ll be asked whether you’re a business or creator. Select business, which is best for bakeries of all types.
You’ll then be prompted to select a category. Like Facebook, this is the type of business you are. Instagram allows you to only pick one category from a wide variety of options, so choose something that best describes all of what your bakery business does.
Step 4: Select the Appropriate Account Type and Category
Update your contact information. This includes your business’s preferred email address, phone number and business location. Just like with Facebook, keeping this information updated and accurate amid situations like COVID-19 is critical.
Step 5: Build Your Community
Now it’s time to invite your family, friends and customers to follow your account.
This is also a good time to connect to your Facebook business page. By linking your Instagram account with your Facebook page, managing your business’s social media becomes seamless and cohesive. Certain elements of your Instagram account can be managed by the same people who have access to your bakery’s Facebook profile.
Posting on Instagram
Delicious donuts, intricately designed cakes and flakey pastries—Instagram was practically made for bakeries to showcase their creations.
When posting photos to your feed, think about your bakery’s overall aesthetic and try to keep a consistent style that speaks to your brand, whether that’s bold or muted colors, playful or more sophisticated dessert designs, natural lighting, unique angles, a saturated photography style, or something else.
With that in mind, there’s a range of static and video content to capture in your bakery, such as seasonal flavors or ingredients, all-time best-sellers, holiday offers, fresh daily specials, and promotions or discounts.
You can also capture and share authentic moments in your bakery: candid smiles of your team members, donuts getting removed from the fryer, a decorator putting the finishing touches on a wedding cake, and more.
Along with images and video, post captions that are short and simple, and that include a call to action for customers. For example, ask them whether they’ve tried the dessert you’re posting about, or invite them in for a free sample. Use hashtags to increase your posts’ searchability.
To learn about posting best practices for Instagram, visit these resources:
Advertising on Instagram
The main way to advertise on Instagram is by promoting posts. Just like with Facebook, to promote a photo or video, you’ll have to spend money. The good news is that you can choose how little or how much you’d like to spend.
Step 1: Choose Your Main Goal
This means choosing what action you’d like people to take when they see your ad in their Instagram feed. You can send them to your Instagram profile, direct them to your bakery’s website or encourage them send you a direct message on Instagram.
Step 2: Select an Audience
The audience options aren’t as robust as Facebook, but you can choose between:
- An automatic audience: Instagram will target people similar to the followers you already have based on users’ location, demographics and more.
- A manual audience: You can create your own audience by selecting its members’ location, gender, age and interests.
After your audience is set, it’s time to set a budget and duration of how long you want to promote your post. Start small to best identify and refine your audiences. Continue testing and learning from your promotions; some things may perform better than others and you won’t know until you try and compare results.
Increase Bakery Loyalty Through Social Media Engagement
Setting up your social media accounts and advertising are great first steps. It’s important to remember both Facebook and Instagram require ongoing maintenance, tweaking, experimenting and, perhaps most importantly, engaging.
Engagement means continuing to post consistently and often, but also communicating and responding to the people who are interacting with your account and posts and directly messaging you. That can be as simple as liking a flattering comment on your bakery’s photo or as complex as addressing a negative review.
In addition, both Facebook and Instagram offer customers the ability to message businesses privately, and it’s important to respond to those communications quickly.
Whoever is in charge of responding to customers on your social media accounts should have a strong understanding of the bakery’s brand and approach to customer service. After all, social media is a direct extension of both of these things.
Track Your Bakery's Social Media Success and Evolve Your Strategy
Once you’ve established your profiles on Facebook and Instagram, and begun posting, engaging with followers, and advertising regularly, it’s important to set aside time to review performance and make changes where needed. Learn more about key performance indicators to track: How to Measure Your Bakery's Success on Social Media.
In addition, you may find it helpful to automate posting and gain more in-depth analysis of your social media performance. Learn about free and low-cost social media scheduling tools for bakeries: Social Media Made Easy.
Being Mindful on Social Media in Times of Uncertainty
As we’re witnessing with COVID-19, the power and reach of social media is unmatched. Like never before, businesses have leveraged social mediato connect and engage with their customers while physically apart—and provide them something to smile about.
But whether you’re keeping your audience preoccupied with dessert decorating kits as they’re staying at home during COVID-19, updating customers on closures due to inclement weather, or simply helping customers indulge in an everyday treat, it’s important to be sensitive and mindful of how your bakery’s social media posts may coincide with what is happening in the greater world.