Tapping into current social media trends is one of the key ways that fledgling start-ups can be creative when it comes to marketing on a tight, or non-existent, budget, delegates at MCA’s Marketing Conference were told yesterday (7 December).

Eve Bugler, founder and managing director at BabaBoom; Marko Husak, co-founder at Bundobust; and Chloe O’Hare-Carroll, marketing and communications manager at Yumchaa, shared the innovative methods they have used to achieve wide-ranging press coverage and increased footfall.

BabaBoom

When creating a story around your brand, “it’s ok to have a slightly different approach”, said Bugler. After attending a talk held by Rapha Cycling on the subject of brand creation, she realised that being honest about BabaBoom’s roots and its ethos was what made the business feel more authentic, and was actually a strong selling point.

Bugler said she believed its story of being “adventure-loving kebab makers” has helped open doors for them. “Something about playing on the unexpected has really worked for us,” she said.

BabaBoom uses social media to promote its business, but as well as the foodie community, Bugler said the business has tapped into the influencing power of non-foodie bloggers that have something in common with the business – in the case of BabaBoom, this has been fitness bloggers, who are interested in the brand’s mix of keeping fit and being active and its focus on healthy ingredients in its kebabs.

When it came to promotions, Bugler was aware that huge numbers of restaurants offer bottomless brunches, and while keen to tap into the trend, she wanted to do something a bit different. It resulted in the launch of its ‘power hour’, which sees customers offered the chance to work their way through unlimited frozen margaritas, as an alarm clock, placed on their table, ticks down the minutes. In addition to being a draw to the restaurant, customers are keen to post pictures of the clocks, thereby “doing some of the marketing activity for us”, she said.

The restaurant also launched ‘Medal Monday’ – if customers bring in a medal and share the story of how they got it then they get a free side.

Yumchaa:

Lacking the budget to pay big-name social media influencers to promote its products, café and tea shop Yumchaa looked instead to using micro-influencers.

O’Hare-Carroll also created her own video content, including a short clip demonstrating its Blue Voodoo tea, which changes colour to purple if you add lemon to it. She seeded the content online and it was picked up by Time Out, Culture Trip and AOL Foodie, achieving millions of views in a short space of time, and prompting more than £8,000 worth of orders for tea overnight.

The company drafts its own press releases and sends them out to the media using free online tools, and tries to tap into current trends and work them into the release in order to give it more traction, said O’Hare-Carroll.

Bundobust:

Indian street food and craft beer restaurant Bundobust is also keen to use social media to its advantage, and created its own promotion video for £600.

The company posted it on its social channels and asked people to tag friends who they thought might enjoy a meal there for the chance to gain special offers, which resulted in 1000s of views and significant engagement, said Husak.

“Bundobust had no budget for marketing when it first started so we did pop-ups at festivals and kitchen takeovers,” he explained. This help to get the brand’s name out there without any significant cost involved. It has also collaborated with local suppliers and restaurants, and created special products for beer launches, for example.

The company has invited people who are popular on Instagram to come and try their food, it offers secret menu items and even merchandise, which it created with the help of a local illustrator.

“It is also important that when we do get mentioned in the press, or win an award, that we shout about it on social media,” said Husak.

He added that Bundobust is also looking to employ a videographer for one day a week in order that it has plenty of new content to use online. “Social media works for us ­– that’s what we will be focusing on next year,” added Husak.