A Subiaco cafe has found marketing through social media good for business. Emily Morgan reports.
TWITTER, Facebook, blogs and checking in through foursquare may primarily be viewed as ‘recreational’ activities, but social media has become the cornerstone of a solid marketing strategy at Mooba in Subiaco.
It all started fairly innocently, with Mooba manager Hannah Cameron unaware of how quickly her ‘hot out of the oven’ tweets would take off.
But before long the messages that updated customers on the range of freshly baked tantalisers – such as warm brownies and lemon cake – on offer led to a swift upswing of Twitter followers.
“I was pretty much just tweeting really little silly things like what was coming out of the oven ... to my surprise, people started responding, so I started posting photos; people started responding even more, and it just became a thing I did all the time,” Ms Cameron says.
“It served a purpose as well because we started a delivery service. I would tweet that I had just made a couple of trays of brownies, and people would reply saying, ‘can you save me one’.
“So many people were asking if I could save them one that I started offering to deliver to businesses within a five-minute walk of Mooba.”
Two years later, the Subi cafe has more than 1,000 Twitter users tuned into its announcements and, more to the point, coming in to buy goodies; Ms Cameron estimates Mooba’s baked goods sales have doubled.
As the Twitter conversations blossomed and the cakes kept baking, the followers wanted to meet, so Mooba started hosting ‘Tweetups’.
An obvious rapport has been established between Mooba and what Ms Cameron says is a customer base built on loyalty and return clientele.
“As a consumer, I know that people hate feeling advertised to. They hate feeling marketed to, the last thing I wanted with Mooba Twitter was to have ... begging advertising tweets,” she says.
“You can’t beg people to come to a cafe. You have got to engage with them. I suppose that’s essentially what we did, then they met me, the owner Mark, baristas, and they put faces to our brand.”
Ms Cameron runs the Twitter account by a code of conduct and says she constantly reminds herself that Mooba is being represented internationally in this regard.
“Just because social media seems like a casual environment, it doesn’t mean you can say what you want,” she told Gusto.
“It is about being careful, having your guard up the whole time. You look at other people’s Twitters and you see how quickly things change. When it is on the internet it is never forgotten.”
To that end, Ms Cameron says Twitter has been a good way of resolving issues with customers. The odd tweet from an unhappy customer is dealt with in the most public of forums, where Mooba can show its strong focus on customer service.
The cafe has been at the technology forefront, with owner Mark Dillon establishing a text-order service when he opened the first Mooba, in Wembley, four years ago.
With 300 text orders a day, Mr Dillon has been focused on keeping up with technology and recently made a capital investment into the development of a smart phone application that is free for customers, who use it to place orders at either the newer Subi cafe or the original in Wembley.
Mr Dillon says the app has been developed during the past six months and went live a month ago.
“It is probably going to take six months until it is utilised to full capacity,” he says.
“Now we have an iPad in each store, by using that iPad we have turned a lot of our paper work online. Little things like cashing off the till every day goes into the iPad, which goes directly to me, it has actually made all our systems more effective.”
“I think you have to keep thinking outside the square when it comes to these things – there are some things that may not work, but you have to give them a try.”
The application development and introduction of the latest tech toys goes hand in hand with Mooba’s ‘loyalty’ system, which uses global geographical ‘check in’ system foursquare.
Likened to a game, foursquare is used by smart phone users and lets people virtually ‘check in’ to a venue when they are there; Mooba, like many cafes around the world but few in Perth, has adopted this as its loyalty card.
Gone are the stamps and the shuffling through wallets to find a crinkled card; users who ‘check in’ to Mooba 10 times get a free coffee.
“It’s just a game but it can have real benefits,” Ms Cameron says.
“Perth’s been pretty slow to take up on foursquare, so I think it has been good for us to pick up these things.
“Subiaco is quite a technical area, we have iiNet right next door ... they are really on the ball with any social media, so it is our obligation to do the next new thing.”