Web Marketing Case Study: Social Media

Since opening in New York City’s East Village in November 2008, Butter Lane Cupcakes has expanded from selling cupcakes to selling cake balls and Blue Bell ice cream, as well as teaching cupcake baking classes. Just a few months after opening, it added an online ordering service and opened a second store in Brooklyn. It attracts customers to its stores and website through social media.
“There is a very broad target market for cupcakes,” laughs co-owner Maria Bao, who owns Butter Lane with Pam Nelson and Linda Lea. “We sell to foodies, kids, single women in their twenties who come in groups, gay tastemakers, soccer moms, seniors, middle-aged, young adults, and just about everyone else.”
Butter Lane invests a lot of time, energy, and money in Facebook, Foursquare, Groupon, Twitter, and Yelp, as well as its Constant Contact email newsletters, Google SEO, Google PPC, Tumblr, and more. With all of these channels, social media management has become critical, so the company signed up for Postling.com in August 2009.
Baugh quickly set up a Postling account herself to keep track of what’s being said on Facebook, Twitter and Yelp. Postling sends an automatic update when anyone mentions Butter Lane online and a daily summary of all mentions; She can respond to the signal with a single click.
While their company’s social media presence certainly helps attract people to their website, Baugh cites several other advantages: having the name Butter Lane relatively inexpensively; build customer loyalty; Dealing with clients in real time; And customer service management quickly and easily.
“It’s very easy to use social media to really engage our customers and fans,” Baugh says, noting that she can add or edit specials, promotions or contests anytime, anywhere. “To change something on our website, I have to email our website admin, get several emails back and forth, and then do a few rounds of edits and tests.
Then the live broadcast can finally start. I can post a contest to our Facebook page in about 30 seconds with the potential to reach thousands.”
Baugh was spending 20 hours a week or more on social media until she was appointed as a Community Manager in the spring of 2011. Sharing responsibility allowed the company to significantly expand its efforts and presence. “We saw a massive increase in all of our analyses.
It’s an investment I wish we had made a lot earlier. . . , even when I thought we didn’t have the budget to do it,” Poe says wistfully. “It’s hard to imagine spending money on something like that—it’s not part of the beauty of social media, is it ‘free?’ But in the long run, it’s worth it. “.
Butter Lane uses Google Analytics, SEOmoz, and sometimes Alexa to track its marketing results. Facebook is the number one referral site, followed by Mobile Meteor, Yelp, Groupon, and Twitter. Improved conversion rates are very important to Baugh, but she also likes raw numbers (performance metrics), such as Facebook likes, Twitter followers, and Foursquare logins. “Basically, I’m willing to try anything to get the name Butter Lane.”
“We engage with food bloggers. We are looking for other unique and cost-effective ways to advertise, for example by sponsoring an RSS feed on the Swiss Miss blog, targeting specific groups on Meetup or LinkedIn . . . and creating videos for a channel on YouTube”.
Butter Lane is also planning to try Roost, a platform that automates posting to Facebook and Twitter and helps create content. Baugh is also interested in augmented reality (computer plus real images) and the new Square card device, which allows people to pay with their smartphone. “I read Mashable.com constantly, and I’m looking for the next thing Butter Lynn tries.”
To drive people to their social network, Butter Lane uses more than just a little sauce and share buttons. “We have an iPad installed in the store and give you a free photo to decorate if you like it or follow us while you’re there.
We sometimes send blasts to our email list and encourage people to like or follow us. We also use PlacePunch, a digital loyalty program that automatically tracks check-ins in store, on Foursquare, Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, and other sites.”
Baugh delivers nothing but enthusiasm for social media. “Do it! Use anything and everything you can. Stay prepared. Social media changes by the hour, and there are plenty of opportunities. Whatever you do, read Mashable.com and e-marketing for dummies, of course!”