Tag Archive - Marketing

Breadmaking and Social Marketing

Breadmaking can teach us a lot about social media and marketing.

I bake bread, and I’m a wheat snob. We have a tabletop wheat grinder, and I buy my wheat in bulk, from Montana, in 50 pound buckets. Wheat isn’t ground until just before I make bread, to ensure the highest nutrition content and best flavor.

My personal favorite bread is a mix of freshly ground Prairie Gold and Bronze Chief wheats, with olive oil and local honey.  Sometimes, my recipe varies. Occasionally, I mix the good wheat with processed white flour, vegetable oil, and white sugar. When I have plenty of time, I’ll add in sourdough for an extra zing.

When I make my bread, I use my Kitchenaid to mix it, making enough for 3 loaves at a time. (Teen-aged sons have huge appetites.) I don’t follow an exact recipe. Humidity impacts whether I use more or less flour, and I pour it in by the 1/3 cup and finally tablespoon at the end until it looks right. Pizza dough and dinner rolls have their own variations as well. When the dough “looks right” and bounces back, I often dust it with flour for a final knead by hand.

Lots of lessons apply to social media and marketing:

  • Know your audience. Choose the ingredient mix your audience likes best.
  • Select your end product before you begin. My dinner rolls use milk and butter. My bread uses water. My pizza dough has a mix of bread, all-purpose, and fresh wheat flours. Knowing what you want to make helps you efficiently gather your materials with the least waste.
  • Technology helps. I used to knead all bread by hand. My Kitchenaid helps me multitask and uniformly blends the yeast into the dough. High-tech tools can save you time with social media for a better end product.
  • The personal touch still matters. I tweak each batch’s ingredients according to climate, and I always knead by hand at the end. Social media still requires a human personal touch. Your gut instinct on what feels right and works well improves with time and experience.
  • Blend old school and new school according to needs. If it were up to me, I would be a purist with fresh, local ingredients. There is still a place for the white flour and white sugar, used in the right amounts at the right times in the right products. With social media, don’t throw out all old school marketing tools and techniques; they can still fill a role when used well.
  • Rising takes time. Don’t rush your bread. My dough rises once on its own and a second time once I put it into pans. The sourdough that can take twice as long to rise will give a zing that can’t be matched. The same holds true of some marketing campaigns.
  • Keep watch and baby it while it bakes. If you want an extra shine, brush an egg, milk, or butter wash on your bread just before baking or brush a butter wash on it just after baking. That sourdough crust might have a better texture if you put a pan of water in the oven while it bakes. All marketing requires that same watchful eye for adjustments and tweaking.
  • Timing while baking matters. Don’t bake it enough, and it’s gooey in the middle. Bake it too long, and it’s burned. Remove it from the pan after it’s done to cool, or the sides get too soft.  Make sure you end your marketing campaign at the right time.
  • Leave them wanting more. Don’t oversaturate your market but always give them just enough to fill the appetite but want more next time.

Businesses that master the perfect mix of old school, new technology, a personal touch, and timing by way of social media will enjoy the same sweet success I savor when a great loaf of bread comes out of my oven.

Great Pictures Matter More Than Ever

Graphic example by Mystfren Designs

Add an image to your social media event or product, and you’ll double your clicks. Remember that double number is an average.

How do we calculate an average for double clicks? Not all pictures are created equally.

  • Some are downright awful.
  • Most are boring.
  • few are extraordinary. 

So the extraordinary pictures will generate the most additional clicks. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then a little investment in a great picture could be worth several thousand more clicks. That translates into dollars which become profits.

What makes an image great on social media?

  • Remarkability. Does the image grab attention such that people look at it twice and click on the content to see a larger version of it? The more time they spend with the picture, the more likely they are to read about your event or special offer.
  • Scalability. Does the image look as good small as it does large?
  • Visibility. Less is more, and a simple design with bright colors will stand out better. A true artist can take a simple palette of primary colors and create a striking image.
  • Memorability. Your image brands you. Make sure that image reflects the essence of who and what you are.
  • Technique. Resolution, file size, and image size make a difference in your web graphic too.

My opinion on web graphics is biased; my husband owns the Copper Lion, a digital illustration and retouching business (one of his pieces is in the most recent edition of Communication Arts), and my daughter is making her own mark in a smaller scale digital graphics business, Mystfren Designs. I see on a daily basis what a difference a great graphic makes in a promotion.

There is a demand and a need for “good enough” graphics just to attach a picture with a product.

Some companies produce extraordinary products and use graphic images to distinguish themselves from the “good enough” pack of their competitors.

4 Steps to Listening Your Way to Teaching & Social Media Success

“Don’t teach. Facilitate,” I explained to skeptical instructors in a train the trainer program 15 years ago. The points of our program were:

  1. Look at your audience. They are unique. Know who they are and reach them there.
  2. Ask your audience questions. Assume nothing – start with basics. If they can answer the basics, they will gain confidence to master the tougher stuff.
  3. Answer your audience’s questions. Keep control of the conversation, but make a list of questions to get back to, if needed afterwards.
  4. Engage your audience. Find novel ways for them to participate. The more they participate, the more likely they are to incorporate it into their lives. See what works and what doesn’t, tweak it, and try again.

Look + Ask + Answer + Engage = Listen.

At first, I didn’t believe facilitation worked. I lacked the time to “Facilitate” when I was supposed to “Teach.” Teaching meant going through my list of exactly what was to be learned, opening the heads of my students, and dumping it there.

A brain dump ends up with a toxic brainfill with so much stuff nothing is absorbed, and the good stuff runs off first time it rains.  If an adult was subjected to a bad teacher who pushed, pushed, pushed, odds are students tuned out the teacher. So when instructors of adults push too hard, adult students respond by tuning them out.

Tune out = nothing accomplished. Listen so they tune in = students find new ways to apply what they learn and keep using it.

Facilitation can work. In order to work, the “facilitator” has to pan for gold – sift the rocks in the lecture and keep the best nuggets.  Listen to the audience but make sure the nuggets and important information is covered.

In the social media age, I see the same transition happening in marketing and advertising. Generations of salespeople were taught to PUSH their message, PUSH their product, and PUSH to get sales.

Problem is PUSH is now as attractive and current as that avocado green toilet was when we bought our house.

After a lifetime of PUSH, consumers now tune out the moment the PUSH pitch begins.

Marketers wishing to survive in the 21st century had better learn to PULL, to listen, and to facilitate to survive. Follow those same steps we gave teachers:

Look, Ask, Answer, and Engage.