Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tip #148: Give Back

The spirit of giving is almost upon us as the holidays near. And with that we would be remiss not to include a tip on the importance of giving back. While helping with fundraisers by providing candy bars is a way of giving, we’re talking about giving when you get nothing else in return but knowing that you have helped someone in need.

Every community has non-profit organizations serving the needs of a variety of charitable causes. Take a moment to find out what’s available in your community and then figure out how you can best help them. You never know what unique need they may have that you can help to meet!

A number of ways exist to give back to your community:
  • Financially – Just like your own business, organizations need money in order to operate and keep the lights on. Consider financial contributions as a means of giving back.
  • Time – Volunteer time is a great way to help your local community. Perhaps you could deliver meals to shut-ins, spend time with children who need a friend, do handiwork or even sort files. The key is to be willing to do whatever is needed.
  • Resources – Do you have materials that you are throwing away that may be of use to someone else? Maybe you have extra pallets that a food bank could use, or retail displays that a non-profit owned thrift store could use. You never know until you ask!
  • Product – Your product could be a great way to thank the hard workers at some of your local non-profit organizations. Oftentimes, they are working for little pay because of their passion for the cause so a few amazing truffles could bring an extra smile to their day!
Give back, starting now and keep up with the spirit of giving year-round. As Winston Churchill wisely said, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tip #147: Embrace Social Media Conversations

If you’re on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media platform, this week’s tip is to embrace the conversations that arise out of those avenues.

Did someone comment on your photo? Did they share a post or Tweet on your wall? Take a moment to respond to all posts that are directed at your business and do your best to do so in a timely fashion. Your customers are paying close attention to your response time and if you are responding at all. Many users view your response (or lack of) as representative of your care for them as a customer so it’s imperative that they know you appreciate their business. One study found that 42% of consumers expect a social media response within 60 minutes, while 25% were satisfied if it was more than one hour but later the same day.

Of course we understand that most candy makers aren’t able to have a staff member dedicated only to social media. Therefore, we suggest you take advantage of the alerts within the social media platforms. For example, you can receive an email alert any time you are tagged or mentioned on Facebook, Twitter, etc. so that you don’t miss out on the conversation. If a quick response means gained customer satisfaction, then those extra emails will be worth it!

P.S. Don’t forget to make a plan to promote your business on Small Business Saturday next month! Check out last year’s blog post of ideas to help with your planning.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tip #146: Gingerbread House Kits

Gingerbread house kit shown during RCI's 2013 Annual Convention at Marie's Candies. 

It’s hard to believe Christmas is just over two months away! The closeness of Christmas is why this week’s tip is a holiday idea that’s fun for kids of all ages. Host a gingerbread house making party!

Create the individual kits ahead of time with graham crackers, icing and the colorful candies to decorate the houses. Then, charge a set fee and invite families and children to come make their own gingerbread house. Be sure to have plates available for them to take their creation home. One of our members does this during their annual holiday open house and it is a big hit. You also could make it a weekly Saturday activity leading up to Christmas. The possibilities and ideas for this activity are endless!

Not up to hosting a party at your store yet, or don’t have the space? You can still create kits that customers can purchase and take “to go”. Then, ask them to share photos of the finished products on your Facebook page. It’s a great way to stay connected to your customers!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Tip #145: Celebrate National Caramel Month

Sea salt caramels have become one of the most popular confections around. The sweet and salt combo is hard to beat. This month, in celebration of National Caramel Month, consider introducing a few new twists on caramels for your customers. We’ve scoured the internet to find you some unique flavor combos to consider:

Do you have a unique caramel flavor that your customers love? Share it in the comments below!