If you’ve got a caking gig going on in your life, chances are some of your work is displayed on some form of social media.
Whilst Facebook was our first pick of the pack, gradually as the years flip by, we see its effectiveness as a free marketing stream waver as the algorithm (al-geh-rhythm: which can be loosely described as the automated “brain” behind any social media app that decides who sees and who doesn’t see your posts) continues to shake things up for cake businesses the world over.
Enter Instagram, arguably one of the largest (and growing) social platforms around. With around 1 billion active monthly users with no signs of slowing down, it’s visual nature, clean format and ever-evolving features make it the social marketing app of choice for cake makers the world over.
It’s no secret that I’m a mega fan of Instagram for being a platform that has enabled me to grow an award-winning boutique wedding business, evolve into an international cake instructor and build a global online cake school. Most of all, it’s connected me to a beautiful community of dream-chasing cakers who I get share this “cake-life” with.
In this blog, I’ll be sharing 3 top tips that have been key to growing my cake business into what it is today. I hope that it’ll help take the stress outta posting and help you use this platform to it’s fullest potential for your cakes & bakes.
#1 Plan your Feed
A lot of cake decorator’s I meet and speak to often feel the need to post up pictures of their work soon after they’ve finished a baking project. After all, the name of the app is INSTA-gram isn’t it? Doesn’t that mean we need to post things up instantly and soon after the fact? Not really.. Here’s what a lot of cakers of Instagram don’t realise. Successful influencers & businesses on Instagram don’t post on the fly and almost NEVER post in real time. Their posts and captions are planned ahead of time to enable them to curate a feed that is beautiful, on-brand and appealing to users. If you’re wondering why your IG feed looks cluttered whilst others look seamless and aesthetically pleasing, the main difference is in the planning. Planning your feed a couple of posts ahead of time is SO important and here’s why. It will enable you to build an attractive feed that will place your service/product in the most positive light, cause new users to follow your feed and serve as a truly effective free marketing channel to your business.
Planning your feed also takes the stress out of posting as you’ll always be a few steps ahead of the game when it comes time to post. If you’d like to learn how to start planning an Insta-worthy feed, download my free PDF guide ‘Instagram Tools for Cake Business’ which will point you towards some of the apps & websites that I use to plan & strategically curate my Instagram feed.
It’s really as simple as creating a “bank” folder of cake images that you can draw from for posting (and no, you do not have to post up a cake pic the week after you make it). I sometimes post things as late as a few months down the track and these images still do incredibly well on my Insta feed. Perhaps feature the type of images that your followers tend to respond stronger to. Type out your captions ahead of time to describe your cake image and desserts rather that a smattering of random words thought up in a hurry. Thoughtfully consider the type of Instagram feed you’d like to create and plan your posts accordingly.
#2 Value ENGAGEMENT over FOLLOWERS
Wanna know a secret? A large IG following does not automatically result in large cake business profits. Say wha..? It’s true. With the way the algorithm currently works, the most important currency for converting leads into sales via Instagram ain’t followers, but rather… engagement. So rather than fretting about your numbers, comparing your following with competitors and stressing over how to bump up those digits on your profile page, I’d like to encourage you to put your energy instead towards building the engagement of the community your ALREADY have.
See, when you start to invest for those people who are already following your feed (in the right way), this helps build up your ENGAGEMENT levels. This is something Instagram will certainly pick up on as the app tracks the duration of time your followers spend on your posts right down to the millisecond. So when your engagement starts to improve, what then happens is that Insta will start showing your posts to more of your followers and new potential followers via Explore pages and hashtags. When you make building ENGAGEMENT your priority on the app, what can then result is a gradual growth in followers, followers becoming loyal fans and an increased readiness to purchase your product offering.
In my ‘Instagram Tools for Cake Business’ guide I also share some apps that can help you create more engaging content posts. I also include tools that show you optimal times to post to help you maximise your engagement
If you struggle with this concept, ask yourself these simple questions: What are ways you can get your followers to spend more time on your posts & stories? How can you create interesting posts and captions that can captivate the attention and enrich the lives of your followers?
Which leads me to my last Insta tip..
#3 Provide value
Often times we see Instagram as a way for us to GAIN something for our cake work. We start a feed because we want to gain popularity, gain credibility, gain profits, gain opportunity, gain affirmation or connections.
Here’s the thing. Those who look at Insta this way often end up disappointed and frustrated after any given time.
Wanna know my lil’ tip? See how you can GIVE on Instagram. Give value, give entertainment, give beauty, give inspiration, give ideas, give options, give possibilities … Give, give, give to your followers and chances are all the things you were hoping to gain will travel your way. If you create something of value to offer new and existing followers, this will result in both increased loyalty and engagement.
Think about why it is that you follow and admire certain feeds on IG. Observe and think intuitively about this. Chances are you’ll notice that these accounts provide you with something that is of present/future use or value to you.
Rather than posting up a pic thinking “I hope this will get likes and sales from followers”… Might I suggest approaching posts creation this way… “What can I post to provide value, excitement and quality for my following? How can I offer a product or service that will make their lives better, happier and more lovely?”
I hope these tips have given you much to think about in your approach to harnessing the power of Instagram to grow your cake business. If this has helped you, I’d love to know how or if you struggle with utilising Instagram for your business, I invite you to share your struggles here too <3
I also welcome you to join Sugar Sugar Cake School’s Instagram community, I’d love to connect with you on the gram! xx