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Rich Myers describes himself as the “Pablo Escobar of confectionery.”
Myers’ high profile “criminal career” began in October 2021 when his Leeds-based bakery Get Baked was reported to a local Trading Standards agency for their use of contraband.
The contraband in question? Illegal sprinkles containing E217, a food colouring substance banned in the UK.
Instead of shying away from the crisis, Myers took to the brand’s Facebook profile to report on what happened in his own unfiltered way. Customers, new fans and even former Great British Bake Off contestants were quick to offer their support. Naturally, it wasn’t long before #Sprinklegate became a viral sensation.
After 24 hours, Get Baked’s Instagram following ballooned from 4,000 to 68,000 followers. Myers became an overnight sensation and a champion of the people—racking in fans worldwide.
Leeds bakery bins best-seller biscuit over illegal sprinkles https://t.co/0EDZwFttMT
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) October 13, 2021
Soon, media outlets picked up the story as the unruly baker’s star continued to rise. The BBC’s #Sprinklegate coverage was the broadcasting company’s top-viewed article of 2021.
Here are five tips Myers shared to help marketers (and fellow notorious lawbreakers) sprinkle ingenuity into their social media strategy.
1. Find unique and memorable ways to connect with your audience
Myers’ primary way of connecting with his audience is by creating shared rivals to forge camaraderie. As the old saying goes, an enemy of my enemy is my friend.
Myers and Get Baked fans agree enemy #1 is Trading Standards. He also created a slew of other anonymous enemies, like Dan and Danielle, using the same technique. And it works—drawing in ample followers, likes, comments and shares.
His tongue-in-cheek campaigns against his foes are playful ways to ensure his fans remain firmly on his side.
The philosophy behind his strategy makes sense, even if his tactics seem unconventional. You should identify which shared enemies—or experiences—you have with your community. And if you can’t think of any, take a cue from Myers and make one up.
2. Brand your business
From the beginning, the Get Baked brand was unforgettable. It grabs your attention and doesn’t let go. That’s all part of the plan. Myers had a clear vision of what he wanted to create and went all-in.
Even as the bakery morphed into what Myers describes as “a social media company” that sells baked goods, the brand’s voice never wavered. It’s just as dry, genuine, unapologetic and self-deprecating as its early days.
The Get Baked attitude carries over into Myers’ new business ventures too. For example, his new sprinkles company, aptly named Expensive Sprinkles, might be the world’s first luxury sprinkles brand. Myers also has a Get Baked cookbook underway, which we speculate could contain the most foul language of any cookbook ever published.
Get Baked is marketing magic: a one of a kind, instantly recognizable brand.
When establishing your brand’s presence on social, find a voice that you can own and stay true to it in everything you post.
3. Be authentic
Myers disagreed, and saw his boldness and authenticity as the best way to react.
And that’s why his fans love him. His response wasn’t media-trained and polished—it was how a real person would react to a ridiculous sprinkle debacle.
His rawness continues to endear the Get Baked community. Each new post is as genuine as the last.
As Myers explained, “I don’t sit there trying to construct posts for half an hour. I don’t think, ‘Is it the right time of day to post it?’ I don’t really do any of that. I just write a post very quickly…the way I say it. I’m able to write in a very relatable way for our audience.”
Social media users are increasingly sophisticated and can smell inauthenticity a kilometre away. Follow Myers’ lead and talk like a human, especially in the face of a crisis.
4. Be transparent
An important Get Baked lesson: Be honest with your community. It’s okay to admit when you’re scared or when you screw up.
Myers was never afraid to admit how terrified he was when Trading Standards began their investigation. He was transparent and straightforward about what was going on and how he was feeling.
And he doesn’t hold back from sharing the growing pains caused by Get Baked’s rapid growth either.
Own up to the challenges you’re facing. It shows your community they can trust you, and they’ll be more likely to offer you grace.
5. Make the most of the moment
When your cultural moment comes, seize it. That’s what Myers did.
Here’s the advice he shared with us:
“If [you’re] going through a similar situation where…[you] end up with a global audience, absolutely forget everything apart from that. You only get one chance to maximize it. And if you don’t do it while it’s happening, you will never catch it…it’s gone.”
Bake individuality into your DNA
There’s only one small baked goods business that’s a household name in the UK. Why? Because Get Baked is impossible to replicate.
Myers is unapologetically himself on social media. Which makes his brand stand out while many others are starting to sound the same.
There’s no way to hold people’s attention if you’re doing the same thing as everyone else. And you want people to notice your brand.
As Myers puts it, “We’re in a world where…if it hasn’t gone viral online, it hasn’t happened.”
Looking for more words of wisdom? Listen to Myers’ entire interview on the Social Creatures podcast by Sprout Social.
Social media target audience: How to find and engage yoursPublished on December 7, 2023 Reading time 7 minutes