The Shake Shed, though only two years old, has marketed its business on social media, relying on apps like Instagram, Facebook and now TikTok.
Located on the north side of Fredericton, it is one of the businesses that flourished during the pandemic, gaining thousands of followers, likes and views throughout its social media platforms.
Julia Gilliard, owner of the Shake Shed, said she knew that she wanted to have her own business and after realizing the lack of extravagant shake shops in New Brunswick decided to start her own.
“We don’t have anything like that here, so why don’t I just do it?” said Gilliard.
The Shake Shed stayed in contact with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business throughout the pandemic. The organization helped Gilliard’s business with all the changes caused by COVID-19.
“We have been going with the flow, doing the best that we can,” said Gilliard.
Other methods the Shake Shed team established to follow COVID-19 protocols was closing the dine-in area of the shop, making it takeout only. Though Gilliard said that social media isn’t what kept the business running during the pandemic but rather the drive-thru and takeout services, it has proven to be “the best marketing tool for business.”
“With new businesses, I think social media is very important in getting your name out there,” said Gilliard.
The Shake Shed has more than 12,000 likes on Facebook, more than 11,000 followers on Instagram and with its recent success on TikTok, more than 5,600 followers.
Gilliard said the creation of its TikTok account was her idea, but one of her employees runs the account and comes up with ideas, too. All of the staff members also have access to the social media platforms.
Suddenly, the Shake Shed’s TikTok blew up with hundreds of views coming after every video.
Olivia Parker, a St. Thomas University communications professor who specializes in integrating analog media with digital technologies, said social media is an important tool for businesses.
“While many businesses recognize it is a public platform, they also know not being present on social media paints them in a certain light in the public perception and can sometimes inhibit their ability to reach and engage with their audience,” said Parker via email.
Parker said some important factors that impact the social media market includes understanding the target audience, understanding what each social media platform can and cannot do and which content resonates with the target audience.
Parker and Gilliard said social media marketing helps attract customers to the business. Still, they said it is up to the brand’s strength and knowledge about their target audience that helps the business reach its goals and objectives.
“It seems really difficult, especially when you notice that you have to close during red phase. But if you can, keep trucking on,” said Gillard. “I know it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel but it’s definitely there.”