Serving up cupcakes with soft-sell social media

October 31, 2011

Foiled Cupcakes has found a loyal following for its gourmet treats, all without a storefront or traditional marketing.

Instead, owner Mari Luangrath built her growing customer base almost entirely with social media, engaging 18 to 40-year-old women on some of their favorite topics: designer accessories and chocolate.

“What do we have in common? We all like shoes and handbags,” said Luangrath, 32, who founded the Chicago-based cupcake delivery business in 2009. Last year Foiled Cupcakes reached $350,000 in sales.
“We started a Twitter search for people who were tweeting about shoes in Chicago,” she said. “And we starting replying to them.”

Before long, the fledgling company established one-on-one dialogues with a host of potential customers. Some of the adherents followed up with inquires wondering about Foiled Cupcakes, whose treats are available in 18 varieties, including Citrus Charm, Pumpkin Patch, Minted and Southern Belle. They cost $38 per dozen.

“Yes, it labor intensive, but that we were able to curate a very loyal following,” Luangrath said. “We have a strategy to try not to collect mass followers just for the sake of it.”

She complemented virtual introductions with opportunities for face-to-face interaction, running casual events based on followers’ common interests, including meet-ups at sushi bars. The cupcakes were on hand to sample but were never the center of attention.

“I don’t like to be sold to,” said Luangrath, whose sweet spot is the corporate gift market. “People would show up and take them back to their office.”

The cupcakes, available in the Windy City and some surrounding suburbs at www.foiledcupcakes.com, will be offered nationwide by the end of next year, she said.

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We are a UK based cupcake company serving corporate cupcakes. We’ve been running for about the same time and have only ever used online marketing to promote our business. We don’t own a shop and we are online only orders which means we have to work a lot harder to get people to know about us! That said we’ve been very successful in generating a lot of business through online marketing, particular social media!

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