Social Media Case Study: Beauty Cakes Cupcakes

Excerpt from 'The Social Media Business Equation™' by Eve Mayer Orsburn. Don't miss the chance for special promotional offers when you buy the book on Amazon.com on September 29, 2011 during the 2-day book release, which will be a series of live and virtual events you won't want to miss out on.  Get book release details HERE.

Organization

Beauty Cakes Cupcakes (http://www.beautycakes.fr)

beautycakes twitter screenshot

Background

Established in 2008, Beauty Cakes is an independently owned, made-to-order cupcakery for parties, weddings, baby showers, art openings, and events in Paris, France.

Business Need

To expand a burgeoning cupcake-delivery business into a full-service boutique and tea salon in Paris. Other goals included educating the local market about cupcakes, raising awareness, showcasing the bakery’s expertise, and generating enough buzz to be able to run a viable business in a market where cupcakes are generally either unknown or misunderstood. Social Media Solution

Use Twitter and Facebook to assemble a vibrant online community of cupcake fans to discuss all things cupcake, while simultaneously gaining exposure for and interest around Beauty Cakes cupcakes.

Business Result

Solid business growth led to the opening of Beauty Cakes Boutique and Tea Salon in Paris’ trendy 17th arrondissement in December, 2010. More than just cupcakes, the boutique is also serves lunch and brunch on the weekends.

What Actually Happened

Once upon a time, having just left the world of show business in Paris, Ruthy Avayou was ready for a new kind of adventure. Avayou discovered cupcakes years ago while living abroad in the U.S., and began baking them in her spare time. She started sharing her treats with friends and family, who were unfamiliar with them. Whilst les brownies and les cookies had begun to appear in French pastry shops in recent years and were enjoying mild success, American-style desserts were generally thought to be too sweet for the local palate. What’s more, cupcakes were assumed to be filled with preservatives and artificial ingredients and topped with creme au beurre (buttercream), which the French typically dislike.

In addition to the challenges of educating people about cupcakes, Avayou faced tough competition in the form of the popular traditional national dessert, the macaron, not to mention countless other mainstays such as the fruit tarts, cakes, Madeleines, and financiers sold on just about every street corner in the French capital.

Avayou’s recipes were developed for the French palate, using only fresh and natural ingredients, and no buttercream. She loved the reactions of surprise and delight when people tasted her beautiful, delicious cupcakes. Before long, she was making cupcakes regularly under the name Beauty Cakes. They became a huge hit at birthdays, weddings, fashion shows, baby showers, housewarmings, art openings, and galas around Paris. She wanted to continue to build on her success and dreamed of opening a boutique.

Avayou began working with Social Media Delivered in early 2010 to help her get closer to her goals. Two new pages, http://www.twitter.com/beautycakesfr and http://www.facebook.com/beautycakes were established, and the Social Media Business Equation, discussed later in this book, was put into action immediately. Avayou was able to attract many followers, build relationships with community members, and establish her credibility by sharing valuable content and discussing innovative cupcake recipes, baking tips, and events, such as Paris’ first Cupcake Camp, which took place in July, 2010. She also successfully gained business by inviting prospects to take advantage of Twitter-only and Facebook-exclusive discounts on cupcakes, provide feedback on products, and give referrals.

On Twitter, @BeautyCakesFR has gained a prominent following. Via these relationships, has solicited ideas and names for new cupcake flavors, and invited fans to attend exclusive events like the boutique opening. Additionally, Avayou has connected with wedding planners and event planners via social media to create partnerships and provide cupcake wedding cakes and other special orders, an unexpected additional revenue stream.

The explosive growth of Beauty Cakes in 2010 led to the opening of The Beauty Cakes Boutique and Tea Salon in Paris’ trendy 17th district. Cupcakes are becoming more understood, and have actually become quite fashionable in the French capital. The boutique continues to grow and is now offering weekly lunches and brunch on Sundays. Next time you are in Paris, be sure to stop into the boutique for a cupcake (or two!).