Social Engagement for the Small Business

When you combine artwork created by children with an organic bakery, you get an innovative campaign that generates 30,000 new Facebook likes and a handful of honorable awards. This original idea created for Rudi’s Organic + Gluten-Free Bakery by Vermilion Design + Interactive anticipated far less participation than it received with 18,000 submissions for the “Let’s Doodle Lunch,” where young artists would receive a free customized sandwich box with their design on the lid. A more humorous concurrently running campaign, the Toast-a-Gram promotion allows fans to create their own toasted masterpiece – usually their own photo uploaded to a custom Facebook app that makes it look like it’s been miraculously ‘burned’ onto a piece of toast. The resulting image can be posted, shared and emailed to friends, and has generated more than 20,000 likes and almost 6,000 coupon downloads to boast product trial.

Since that campaign, the quarterly social media efforts for both the organic products and especially the newly introduced gluten-free products have grown the size of the Rudi’s online community more than tenfold. And while it’s hard to tie revenues to specific Facebook campaigns, sales are expanding at a 20% annual clip, and Rudi’s continues to grow their Facebook and digital marketing efforts. Building, supporting and engaging a growing fan base through social media is working for this innovative bakery.

In order to achieve these strategies, marketers need to have a perspective on the potential strength of each idea, to evaluate its connection with consumers and to align its outcomes with business goals. By taking data-driven research, insights, and creativity, they can achieve their goals and get results. Some approaches to achieve these results include:

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About the Author

Bob Morehouse founded Vermilion in Boulder, Colorado in 1980. The Yale University graduate chose Boulder because of its outdoor lifestyle and the eclectic creative community that inhabited it. Morehouse has been very active in Boulder’s nonprofit community, serving on a number of boards and providing probono services to nonprofit organizations. In 2009, he was awarded Business Person of the Year by the Boulder Chamber of Commerce.

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