WEEK 5: A Conversation with Guest Speaker Babette Pepaj by Susan Papa

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By UCLA X469.21 Student Susan Papa

Susan Papa

Susan Papa

Babette Pepaj is a busy woman. Yet she successfully manages her role as founder and driving force behind BakeSpace.com, the site she launched in 2006 as the “Facebook for foodies and home cooks.” Her bright idea has, according to LA Tech Digest, grown from “a recipe-swapping site to a full-fledged multi-platform food empire, complete with a cookbook publishing tool and marketplace, a massive social following (including over a million followers on Google+), and a touring conference that hits a half dozen cities every year.”

Babette Pepaj

Babette Pepaj

We found out a little about what makes her so successful when she guest lectured Monday November 7th on topics ranging from real-time marketing to working with influencers. The discussion included a dose of the humor and energy that makes her the sweetest CEO we know.

Here are my Top Takeaways:

Go Where Your Customers Are – Look for ways to create “experiences” for your target audience on platforms that will drive them to find you. Utilize the power of various social networks like Instagram and Twitter to design native “moments” that users will want to talk about and promote in their own social streams and feeds. Babette provided the example of a TECHmunch Conference activation for the animated film “Inside Out.” A team from Disney displayed large, mouth-watering donuts decorated as characters from the film (each evoking a different human emotion), and attendees at the conference were asked to choose a donut that best matched their current emotion. Pairing the donuts with the “how do you feel” prompt created a fun photo-op for Instagram-worthy posts.

Eat your Sadness 😢 🍩 😜 @pixarinsideout #insideout #TECHmunch

A photo posted by Sanam (@sanamamid) on

screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-2-00-17-pmBeing Nice Can Be Overrated? – Contrary to how we want people to act in public, it’s sometimes best to avoid being “too nice” when it comes to customer service. In fact, a “too nice” attitude can be interpreted as condescending. A firm yet polite posture will keep you focused on finding a win-win solution and maintaining brand integrity. Her key tips: Read critical comments in their entirety, make a sincere public apology (when appropriate), do not delete original negative posts and shift the conversation offline as soon as possible.

Utilize Current Popular Platforms and Native Features – Seek opportunities to create experiences that are relevant and capitalize on the native features of the platforms used by your key demographics. The in class examples focused on Snapchat’s Geo Filters and Instagram Stories, which are powerful tools to help brand your business events in real time.

Smile, You’re On Camera – There’s no debate — video is one of the most powerful marketing tools any brand can leverage. Decide how you want to utilize video and make it part of your brand marketing plan. From Influencer Interviews to How-To segments, video can also add great value to your SEO efforts. The in class examples focused on YouTube, Facebook Live, Google Hangouts and Periscope.

Represent What’s Happening Now – How do you find today’s (or tomorrow’s) influencers? With good research! This requires investigative skills, networking acumen, patience and persistence. The in class examples involved Google Keyword and Twitter Hashtag searches, Instagram and Pinterest top posters tracking, in person (offline) events, professional organizations, learning from others in your field of interest through YouTube videos, etc.

If you want to read more about Babette’s journey with BakeSpace.com, check out the LATech Digest article here.

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