Once reluctant to post photos of food on their Facebook page, at the urging of their customers, Oodies Café finds Social Media Success.
Interview by Katrina Carey
Owners: Suzy Evans
Years Opem: June 2014 to present
Facebook Page: 2,003 likes and counting
Oodies Café began as a vision for a café where people could come and “get out of their lives.” Suzy Evans and her sister Jen opened Oodies Cafe after many years of running other people’s businesses.
Their location in the north part of town was a big reason why they decided to be the coffee shop that people would really go out of their way to get to, not just chance upon. “I think that’s the overwhelming part for us, that people actually have to choose to get in their car and drive across the bridge and specifically come to us,” Suzy shares.
“We really wanted to just create an environment that people could love and get to know,” Suzy explains. “I always had a vision in my head of it being very eclectic and very recycled because that’s ultimately what I love. I love finding bits and pieces and shoving it together, and I think it adds to the atmosphere, and we wanted people to be attached to it.”
By June 2014, Oodies Cafe began running and was quickly flocked by customers who were curious of the interesting new coffee place with eye-catching grafitti on its outside wall. But as fast as the customers came, their “Do you have a Facebook page?” question followed right after.
At that time, they did not. “My friend Cass is a professional photographer. She came and took some photos. She put them all into a collage and then asked if we could put it on her business page, which we were okay with.
“As a result of her putting it on her Facebook, it kind of just went nuts. And hundreds and hundreds of likes later, all these people started getting excited about Oodies, which made us a little nervous because we hadn’t open our doors yet,” recalls Suzy.
“It did bring us months of new faces every day coming into the cafe,” Suzy adds. “Without it, I don’t know if we would have been as busy as we were in the first couple of months.”
“It’s just the craziest thing I’ve ever seen. People respond to pictures of food.”
”About three or four months in, we got [the Ooodies] page up and running,” Suzy says. “It’s interesting because it’s the older generations that ask for the business card and the younger generations that ask for the Facebook page, so you still have to have both.”
Suzy explains that while they are still fairly new to using Facebook as their main marketing tool—they don’t do traditional promotions and they don’t have an official website—Social Media, despite a few initial setbacks, is ultimately great for businesses.
Here are some of Suzy’s insights about Facebook and Social Media in general:
I love that it’s instant. I love that people can connect with it straight away.
It has been able to connect us more so with our customers and a different generation of customers.
I love that as soon as something motivates me, I can pass that on and motivate other people straight away through Facebook.
Social Media can reach a lot of people all at once. With Facebook, you’re connecting with a lot of people very quickly.
What I don’t like about Social Media is that it’s a bit of a double-edged sword. It cuts out that face-to-face communication.
I think with Social Media, you take the good with the bad. At the end of the day, I’ll look at it and go, “Well, probably 98 percent of anything that’s happened on Social Media, as far as Oodies is concerned, has been extremely positive.” And that’s pretty cool.
If we’ve had a lot of exciting things happen all at once, I post three times a week.
Our confidence has grown through Facebook because things that we swore we would not do, we’ve started doing. And because we’ve been getting a great response, it’s then egged us on to do it even more.
Where we are in our business, [Facebook] suits what we’re doing right now. Maybe in 12 months’ time, that might be different.
And when YOU get your business on Facebook…
- Stop thinking about it and just do it – “Don’t let your own frame of reference get in the way because even if you don’t think it’s going to work, you may be wrong. You need to look at the bigger picture. That’s been our biggest learning lesson in this business,” Shares Suzy.
- Keep it interesting – “Don’t be afraid of it. We were a little bit. Be true to what it is you’re trying to put out there. We wanted people to know the real us and that we’re not perfect and that we are learning.” says Suzy.
- Be personal. “That’s been a learning lesson for us in Facebook. I’ve found that people respond really well when you get personal with your customers, when you tell them a story or when you share. It’s about sharing a story with them. They like to hear a story.
- Post pictures of food! “We were both very skeptical about putting pictures of food on Facebook. We had spent a week making this cheesecake. We were so proud of this cheesecake. I got so excited. I said to Jenny, “I have to put this on Facebook. These people need to understand how much effort we’ve done to make this cheesecake.” And it was an amazing cheesecake. And the first time I put it on Facebook, the amount of people that responded to it was out of this world. It was ridiculous. People respond to pictures of food.”
Starting on Instagram
Oodies Cafe has now begun dabbling in Instagram. “Facebook was our first platform,” Suzy says. “But all of these guys have been on our back about Instagram. I mean a lot of our staff are of the younger generation and use Instagram.”
Their business name had already been used as a hastag by customers even before they even started using Instagram. “Somebody said to us, ‘Oh, just go and type in #Oodies,’ and a hundred and something photos of all these random customers that had taken photos of Oodies appeared,” Suzy shares. “And we finally did start an Instagram account. So I think that will be our next stage of development.”
Oodies Cafe, visit Instagram to see some great images of their unique` café.
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