How Charly’s Bakery Can Increase their Massive Business Potential.

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I’m really passionate of what I do. And as helping people is part of it, one  may ask the question:

What about signing new business?

Valid point. And as much as I LOVE signing new business (I just signed the Capital Hotel School and Training Center yesterday), a part of my marketing is giving free consultations. Or doing short pilot campaigns before signing huge deals.

To my case study.

I offered Charly’s Bakery some help but have yet to hear from them.


Amidst the controversy around  the Oscar Pretorius case, the big media’s interest into it, a Twitter  trend emerged that was tagged #OscarMedia. My mentor Gary VaynerChuck wrote this once all over the internet:

Ride the hashtag, don’ t create it.

My opinion is that someone created the hashtag, and so although I think much of what Gary says is profound, this one doesn’t make sense to me. But when it comes to riding the hashtag , let’s get to Charly ‘s Bakery.

imagesCharly’s Bakery is a cute little store near the Castle of Good Hope, in close proximity to Sea Point. Being from jet setting Cape Town, they are pretty clued up on social media. So this post is not about doing it, or doing it wrong  (well, not exactly), it’s more about doing better with what you have and maximizing your potential.

About the trend and their failure.

I mentioned the #OscarMedia trend yesterday and if you’ve been paying attention to Twitter the last couple days, you’re sure  to have noticed it. Being the analyst and  hacker that I am, I looked around. At the time I was looking, I caught a Tweet which Twitter highlighted and their social media fail.

And please understand me,  this is not a fail because I say so, it’s a fail be cause that’s how it was perceived by the SA  Twitter community. Their Tweet has since been deleted, so I can’t post the tweet, but below is the image and the below that the Tweet they sent out.

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Not sure if these are in good taste, but they sure taste good. Our #OscarMedia Meme cookies.

If you follow a text book, this is good. If you start considering things like context, timing and sensitivity, it becomes an issue. Such an issue that it is still spoken of long after it as first Tweeted and has the making of an international case study.

Here are some arguments for the Tweet:

  • It seems clever at first.
  • The memes already existed.
  • They created a piece of content to be relevant.

Charly’s Bakery did everything what a good social media campaign or  effort should be about, but it didn’t  work. It was poorly received and Charly’s Bakery obviously feels terrible about it. I think, and I’m sorry to say this Jacqui (owner), but I think you guys feel this way because the Tweet went pear shaped. Had it been well received, you would have  chalked this one up as a win for your company and it ‘s marketing.

Sadly it didn’t work out this way. The tweet failed miserably, not because of the tweet itself, but because of the content. Memes are usually intended to be malicious, and so perhaps using them wasn’t so clever.

What may have worked better.

The gesture and the tweet wasn’t the problem. The problem also wasn’t the cupcakes. The problem was the content. The memes they chose weren’t very tasteful. They were  actually tasteless (no pun intended). Perhaps what they could have  done is make their own memes. There are sites like MemeGenerator that could assist with the creation, but it could even be created inhouse taking Oscar images off the internet and using Phixr to do the wording.

Some post-mortem tweets.


Remorse aside, this ONE tweet damaged the reputation of Charly’s Bakery. They’re referring to the ‘good’ work they do, with for instance @TheStreetStore and others. I actually checked them out, and the concept is brilliant.

What is Charly’s Bakery to do?

Let’s look the Charly’s Bakery Facebook account. 2014-02-26 10-17-02 AMThey Facebook account is great in the following ways:

  • They post their creations in their timeline sharing what they do.
  • You can see their creations are brilliant and unique.
  • They post almost everyday.
  • They get lots of comments and likes.

Can’t give much critique except for marketing advise.

  • All due respect to the father of this nation, perhaps a new timeline is appropriate. Something like an image from their work with The Street Store. Social consciousness and responsibility is a big thing.
  • Make better use of your  tabs/apps, perhaps an email list, a webinar teaching how a great cake makes an impact on people’s special days. The importance and psychology of the wedding cake and how to choose the right design and supplier.
  • Respond and interact with your fans on the Oscar issue.  They’ re disappointed, talk to them about it. Don’t leave it.  you keep on tweeting and posting about how sorry you are and about ‘owning it’. Rather post an image of a cupcake you made with Reevas face on it and saying you’re sorry. Post an update  on what you’ve learned from the situation. Being sincere and naked will do you well, you’re fans will soon forgive you.
  • Place your website link in your About section, so you can  drive traffic to it. AFTER fixing your website (more on that later).

Let’s look at their Twitter account. 2014-02-26 10-44-56 AMSo, when I open the account, what social media is concerned and their great potential, let me speak about what I see.

  • The Twitter background looks great. Not much to say there. It ties in with their theme and corporate colors, which is embedded in everything they do: from their displays, their store facade etc.
  • Their tagline: ‘Mucking Afazing Cakes’. This is just me, but this could be better. But it’s also embedded in their marketing and materials that it cannot really be changed. If I was them, I would make a move to, in the next few months, phase this out and get something more appropriate in. Once again, my personal opinion.
  • You may notice in the bio that they post their images on Flickr.  Guys, get off right now. Flickr is no longer a relevant image platform.  Migrate all your content over to Pinterest, create boards specific to different products: Cupakes, cakes, store, specials etc. Then create a community board where your fans can also create/bake and post their stuff on. Give them a weekly task and you may even host competitions. You may even find some new talent this way. Also, get on Instagram. Because you can’t backdate your images, start posting  your new creations, like you do on Facebook, and then some vintage ones, from your Flickr account. Use hashtags, build your following and interact.

Besides all of the above, and the blunder they made yesterday, their account and activity is pretty solid. Just some small tweaks I would do:

  • From what I can tell, since yesterday they have been responding. What I would like to see more, is digging into their 19.1+k followers and building relationships with them.
  • Make interest Twitter lists and monitor and read them.
  • See who’s making cakes themselves and compliment them (if  it’s worthy), you could maybe make someone’s day.
  • See who is having their birthday soon. Bake them a mini cake AFTER doing research and see who/what they like and craft a creation after that. Send i t for free. This is one of the greatest marketing things you can do and  you can work it into your marketing cost or budget.
  • With regards to damage control, follow the courtcase (be there on ground zero if you can) and tweet commentary that’s sensitive, showing that you’re not insensitive and that you’re human, and that your ‘mistake’ was truly a mistake.
  • Don’t disappear after this blunder. Pick yourself up and go again. The #OscarMedia hashtag is still going, so still stay involved. You rode the hashtag, ride it ’till it dies out on the beach.

But with 19 thousand followers, I can only add to their apparent success so far.

Let’s look at their website:

2014-02-26 11-13-45 AM

This is a WordPress website, so it has tons of potential, so I’m just going to highlight some thoughts  regarding website  design and marketing tools.

  • Spruce up your design. With your amazing product and your great local  brand, there’s a lot you can do.
  • Add sliders showcasing the different products you have.
  • Install a proper blog and make it part of your home page presentation.
  • Write and post proper blog posts, as often as you can.
  • Have a call- to-action on the home page, for instance, a place where people can order.
  • Give away a free report and build leads.
  • Fuse your social media into your website, encouraging activity and interaction – not drawing traffic away from your website.
  • Re -purpose your testimonial page and install such a widget in your  sidebar or even footer.
  • The site isn’t up to their social media standard, so having such an awesome Twitter account, I wouldn’t put my website link there until it’s fixed.

Those are just ‘some’ of the thought I have regarding their website. But, like doing the right things in social media and STILL  failing, you can also build a website the right way and still be wrong.

Some final tips.

I had some more thoughts regarding their online marketing while I was writing this post. They didn’t fit in anywhere, so I thought of writing this separate section to address or add them:

  • A part of their marketing strategy, once again correct, is using images. I would, instead of posting product images, rather post images of birthday boys/girls and their expressions when they see the amazing cakes Charly’s bake first. I would then create a split image with the respondents face on the one side, and the cake image on the other side. This would be great marketing. And then monitor your social  media responses (which they’re not doing effectively), because a lot of it could mean business.
  •  Bake an ‘apology’ cake. I’d do it today. The topic is still pretty hot and still fresh, so turn this into a positive as soon as you can.

The following may be a little more about offline marketing.

  • When it comes to The Street Store, place bins inside the store, place them also in stores of supportive industries and market yourselves like this.
  • Promote your social media accounts in store with banners, especially your new Instagram, and Pinterest accounts. Drive promos and comps through them. Remember to give lots of value first.
  • Balance your marketing, among the hastags with other events: Bake ‘I Love You Mom’ cupcakes for Mothers day.  Better yet, sell packages with ingredients and a basic recipe where children can bake them WITH their moms.  This will be much more valuable.  Bake ‘love muffins’ for Valentines Day. Bake cupcakes for breast cancer month and perhaps put them in ‘bra’s’ with a clever message?
  • With all the great content and marketing, there are no clear call to actions (if any), if someone wants to order something. Doing so much work on social media and the opportunity to turn this ‘blunder’ around, I can’t imagine any business is coming from it all, being a brick and mortar business and they’re ‘reaching’ the whole country.

Finally, some commentary on the Twitter debacle:






In hindsight.

This post was simply to give Charly’s Bakery some advise and guidance on their campaign. But I do commend them on working  it, being active, relevant, and like  the tweet states below: ‘Taking chances as a small brand’

If someone who knows Jacqui, or people involved with their marketing want me to help and craft their campaigns, or even manage them, they can call me at 084 8644 618.

Your Turn.

What is your thoughts of Charly’s Bakery’s #OscarMedia tweet and the response to it? What do you think of the critique and ideas I shared with them? Weigh in below.

Credits: for the image of Charly’s Bakery.

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How Social Media Influences Customer Service.

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The methods for reaching your audience or target market has changed drastically over the last decade. Any company that is NOT using social media to reach and communicate with their customers are omitting one of the most powerful tools that exist today.

I don’t want  to draw your attention to the potential  or use of social media, as the host of this blog, Ivin Viljoen can best teach you about that. The value I want to bring with this post is about the importance of delivering impeccable customer service and using social media to do so.

One of the major reasons why social media is becoming more than just a tool to share pictures or status updates amongst friends is that the accessibility of all the information you share is literally at hand through our mobile devices and smart phones.

What does the numbers say?

Research has shown that 80% of businesses believe they deliver “superior” customer service. In reality, only 8% of customers have experienced superior service from those same companies.

  • 24% of those who lost their temper about a product/service turned to social media to talk about their experience with that company.
  • 40% of consumers using social sites value access to customer service.
  • 70% of airlines surveyed will use social media to promote their brand and offer reservations, customer relationship management and check-in via social media platforms.
  • 80 percent of consumers heard back from brands they contacted through social media within 12 hours.
  • 59% of organisations take more than one working day to respond to email complaints, the average response time on Twitter was 5.1 hours, with 10 percent of companies answering within one hour.

The power of social media.

If you go back a few years where word of mouth was the only social channel, a bad customer service experience got shared on average with another 12 individuals. This is 4 times higher compared to the passing on of a good customer service experience.

When we consider social media, specifically Twitter, a tweet can be seen by hundreds if not thousands of your customers in a matter of hours or even minutes. You cannot ignore social media when it comes to providing effective customer service . A customer’s negative reaction can go viral overnight if it’s not handled quickly and professionally.

For companies planning to have a major social media presence you need to be prepared by not only having social media marketers, but measures of monitoring in place to catch and resolve issues as they arise. A great customer experience of a happy social media user can not be overstated.

Companies are looking to be quicker with content, provide faster approval and be able to capitalize on the conversation and content of the moment. ~ Jeff Barrett (@barrettall)

My own personal experience.

Not that long ago I had a very rude check out lady in a large supermarket. When I came home, I tweeted about my experience and within the hour I was speaking to someone at head office who wanted to know all the details of the terrible service I received.

Although I was feeling really frustrated about how I got treated hours before and now I felt gratitude that someone was listening to my complaints. I took to Twitter again to give that amazing update to soften to overall impact of the previous one. Now just imagine I did not receive that service…. Oh and I do need to mention that this all happened on a Sunday morning…


Proving that old dogs can, indeed, learn new tricks, 50-year-old travel company Eurail has transformed itself from a trusted brick and mortar train travel business into an entity on the cutting edge of social media.

Taking the time to interact with customers on a one-on-one basis every day, Eurail utilizes Facebook and Twitter in its efforts to connect with travelers, whether they have per-sales questions or a problem during a per-planned trip.

With tens of thousands of fans and followers within its social media network, Eurail has created a dedicated team of travel professionals to handle the Facebook and Twitter accounts, allowing them to provide fantastically timely responses to every query.

Known today as one of the most social media-friendly and technologically savvy travel companies in the world, there can be no doubt that Eurail’s willingness to dive into the latest social trends has helped to propel them forward.

 Important Social Media Customer Service rules.

To be honest, there is not much of a difference between the “Old school customer service” and the service you provide on Social Media, but as mentioned in the beginning of the blog only 8% of customers felt like they had a good experience.

Because customer service is universal, here are 10 hard and fast rules you can apply  anywhere in  your business.

  • Don’t be arrogant.
  • Proofread and spell check all content before it’s posted.
  • Always keep to the facts. Customer service is not fiction.
  • If you messed up, apologize for it.
  • Never shift the blame to someone else.
  • Never blame your customer.
  • Don’t try to hide mistakes but instead keep them online and acknowledge them.
  • Customer Service is the front-line of your company. You need to have motivated and knowledgeable people.
  • Always respond to complaints and respond to them as soon as possible.
  • Respond to any queries within 24 hours

Write those rules down and make sure that each employee that communicates with your customers via social media is aware of these golden rules. In fact, it is my belief that these rules should be part of your company policy.

You will have noticed that this article is focused on the use of Twitter. Don’t be fool ed though, there is no difference in the communication with your customers and the messages you send across, no matter what platform you use.

Your Turn.

Do you have any customer service stories where social media was involved? Do you know of  any stories where you heard of great customer service through social  media or even a horror story of customer service fails? Share them below.

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My Interview with Sandy Geyer at #INDJHB

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I know it’s a bit late, but I went to the International Networking Day Johannesburg event (#INDJHB) July 4th. The speakers were really inspirational and every talk was surprisingly complementary of each other. While I would have LOVED to get an interview with each speaker, Sandy was the only one that I could tie down on this day.

My notes from her talk (That I asked her about) – Feel free to Retweet.




The I asked her what the single most important business tip she can give to entrepreneurs was. Watch her powerful responses in the video below.

Get Sandy’s book today!

Your Turn.

Have you heard her talk? What did you think of the QnA? What questions would you like to ask her? Perhaps I can lock her down in an audio interview. Post them below.

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