Our resident baker/cook Arooj (Rooji the foodie) shares her story on how she turned her passion for food into a small business by sharing her recipes on social media. By day Arooj is an expert Learning Technology Adviser specialising in Digital Training Solutions, by night she’s the baking queen.
Read on to find out how Arooj built a social media presence to kickstart her baking business;
I started my food page on Instagram around 3 years ago with the intention that it would create a centralised hub for all my recipes, which anybody could access. I never intended to sell my bakes and my first sale came about when a colleague was struggling to find a baker to make a cake for his wife’s 30th birthday, he requested my help and before I knew it I had my very first customer!
The fact that I officially sold a bake caught the attention of my followers and I soon started receiving lots of requests. As my following grew I began offering other bakes such as brownies, blondies, cookies and many more! Fast forward 3 years, I now regularly sell a variety of bakes to order which I ship out across the country.
The journey from recipe page to small business was a natural one for me, I was quite lucky in that I had built up a strong organic following early on. I did this by interacting with my followers and showing them “behind the scenes” of the baking process, which gave them a feel for the time and effort that goes in to each bake. This is genuinely appreciated by most as they realise that overheads/costs are much higher (per item) for home bakers.
I don’t think there’s a secret formula for all businesses as each one is unique. I do however think there are things small businesses can do on social media that can help them boost their business;
I keep active by posting my recipes, sharing new cake designs and running Q&A sessions on my Instagram story. My followers have become accustomed to my regular updates which has helped to create interaction & build brand awareness.
Responding to messages, answering questions, providing price lists/costs in a timely manner makes all the difference, people want to feel like they are doing business with people. Turn every transaction in to an interaction.
A lot of social media sites allow you to purchase followers or likes on your posts, which doesn’t necessarily convert in to actual customers. In my case my following has increased significantly in the last 12 months through word of mouth, reposts, tags, giveaways and generally providing great service which also results in repeat business.
Whether you’re expanding your menu, introducing new foods or simply just educating your followers, doing some out of the box posts helps keep things exciting and can get you new followers too. During the month of April I’m sharing a “Tip of the day” with my followers, this includes baking and cooking tips that I’ve learnt over the years. By doing so, I’ve already grown my following, customers and gained brand awareness.
When I started my Instagram journey over 7,000 followers ago, I had no major goals, I just wanted to share my love of food with other like minded individuals. Now I am itching to publish a recipe book and inspire others to fall in love with cooking and baking. In the short-term I’m going to continue to feed the masses and maybe even expand my offering world-wide!
To find out more about how Virtual College can support your food business’s growth, contact us to speak to one of our Learning Technology Consultants or find out more about our subscription training packages to boost your team’s training and development here.