By: Courtney Fogle (@courtnxyfogle)
This episode of PR Hangover features Linda Skwarkan from Veni’s Sweet Shop in Niles, Michigan. Linda discusses the process of using Facebook to promote new products and connect with customers, which has greatly increased sales at Veni’s. She also talks about promotions, customer service, and more!
Making the Most of Facebook Live
For the Christmas season in 2017, Linda and Chocolatier, Sandy Bennett, used Facebook Live to show off the process of candy cane making. The impact was HUGE and reached people across the U.S. with one video receiving 22,000 views!
This social media coverage gained attention from local news stations, which did features of the candy cane process and brought even more customers to Veni’s Sweet Shop.
Happy, Peppy, Friendly
“We have to be on our best game all the time. You can’t be cranky in a chocolate shop,” Linda says about the importance of customer service. Catering to each individual customer makes them feel special, especially when they’re purchasing a gift. Linda selects specialty gift wrapping for each holiday. Customers love the creativity that comes from Veni’s Sweet Shop. Between various seasonal items, such as Easter Bunny Apples or the beautiful holiday window displays, the effort that Linda and Sandy put into the shop is apparent.
Guess What We’re Making!
The first people to guess what product the shop is making on Facebook win that product in a fun contest called “Guess What We’re Making.” Linda will post pictures and videos and reach thousands of people online. Pictured below is a recent example of a new product, called “Smores.” This is an easy way to promote a new product and allow customers to feel included in the process, driving many to visit the shop and get some for themselves.
Giving Back to Dedicated Customers
It’s important to Linda that customers feel special and appreciated. Along with the Facebook contests, Veni’s is featured in various coupon books so that customers can receive discounts and free items. There’s also an “oops” tray in the shop that holds samples of damaged, mystery, or mistake chocolates. Linda recently started a punch card that rewards customers with $10 off after ten $10 worth of purchases. Maintaining positive relationships with customers has helped the small town shop grow into a destination location for people from all over the country.
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Courtney Fogle is a junior studying Advertising and Public Relations. She is currently the Podcast Director for PRSSA and an account associate at GrandPR. Courtney is a singer-songwriter, with hopes to combine her love of music and PR so that she can work in the music industry managing artists and their brands. In her free time, you can find her listening to music or taking pictures of her cat, Oliver.