Historically, marketing ourselves has not been our strong point and we knew it. So we decided to set ourselves a challenge and run a campaign, of sorts, on Facebook for the best part of a month.
As we said in our announcement post, we’d been running one unofficially for a few years. We’d just pick up as many pies from as many different shops as we could, and then decide which was our favourite. For December 2021, we decided we’d write it down and share our findings with our Facebook followers. We thought it might be a bit more interesting than the development stuff we often write about (let’s be honest, no one really cares about coding). It’s just a bit of fun, and we like mince pies, so how hard could it be?
Goodness gracious, how we underestimated the amount of work it was!!
We were prepared enough to realise we’d have to start taste-testing pretty early, so come October 2021 the first mince pies arrived with our weekly shop.
And so the mince pie championship began.
We ate 88 pies in our search for the best shop-bought one. EIGHTY-EIGHT. Actually, we haven’t quite managed all 88 as there’s still 4 left in the mince pie tub in the kitchen. Funnily enough, we’re not particularly motivated to eat them right now!
Each pie was scored out of a total of twenty, which was split into four different categories; pastry, filling, pastry to filling ratio, and packaging & presentation. Every pie also had comments about it – small remarks we made about what we did (or didn’t) like.
As a result, pretty much every working day, there were two posts a day. That’s two posts with pictures, each one needing to be put together in advance. Each time a new pie was sampled, the mince pie championship leaderboard needed updating (queue us squinting at our mince pie spreadsheet for half an hour, trying to make sure we got the order right). And each time a new review went live, the website needed updating too.
On the plus side, the Facebook posts could be scheduled in advance – this meant the head-bashing, mince-pie-wrangling-confusion could be contained in a couple of hour’s work every few days. But the website could only be updated on the day, so each time a review was done, we’d set a reminder in our calendars to post the results on the website on the right day too. Not to mention all of the ridiculous photoshop pie posts we put together, such as the mince pie jockeys. Each of those took a couple of hours!
So what have we learnt?
Well, firstly, posting regularly (unsurprisingly) does wonders for your reach. So it’s worth it to help get your name out there.
Secondly, it really is important to plan in advance. We cannot understate this. Near the end, we started running a bit behind with our pie championship, because client work took priority and the COVID boosters knocked us for six. This led to a couple of panic days of quick-eat-a-pie-and-review-it-as-fast-as-you-can. Definitely could have lived without the added stress of doing those last few posts at the last minute!
When we planned in advance and had all of our posts scheduled, it was a lot more fun. We could sit back and enjoy the championship as it ran, giving us more time to engage with people and also continue the day-to-day work which needs to be done.
It’s important to set aside the time to plan your content and put it together. Don’t YOLO it, and don’t leave it until the last minute – the quality will suffer, as will your sanity.
Running the mince pie championship also really drove home how important it is to post different things across different platforms. Don’t copy and paste your content across every platform you’re on (something we’ve definitely been guilty of in the past!). If you’re posting the same thing everywhere, why should anyone view you on different platforms? They can see everything on just one!
As for 2022, we’re planning on being more active and adding a bit more variety into the mix. Rather than just posting our technical/professional blog articles every week, we’ll be aiming to sprinkle some less serious stuff in there too. We’ll also be trying to mix the content between our Facebook and LinkedIn pages which we hope will help with engagement across both platforms. Nothing ventured, nothing gained!