Social Media Marketing for Hekumu
Written by: Ella Muja and Emilia Parikka
Hekumu is a startup company that imports herbal tea and sells it to distributors in Finland. Their tea can mainly be purchased from K-markets, making it easy for consumers to gain access to the product. The Hekumu team consists of three women who all share a common interest in tea drinking and being entrepreneurs.
Their big ‘boom’ was after the Proakatemia sales days in the autumn of 2021. All of the team sold Hekumu to distributors around Finland and the Hekumu team even had to make a second shipment of 5000 packages. The team had their work cut out for them between sending bills and following up on shipping their product, so marketing wasn’t the number one focus anymore.
The Hekumu team allowed Emilia and I, who had minimal social media marketing experience, to start and maintain the upkeep of the social media platforms. The process requires a lot of planning in advance to ensure that the marketing will correctly reflect the brand’s values and goals.
Since the target audience for Hekumu are women between the ages of 25-35, promoting the product on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook is appropriate. One selling point of Hekumu is the fact that it’s caffeine-free, which makes it a great drink for evenings and families with children. This was something important to keep in mind when marketing the herbal tea infusion.
Before starting the creation of the social media profiles, the brand has to be solid. This means that the business should have clear values and a story for customers and followers to understand. A story can pull at a customer’s emotions and create a more genuine image for the brand as well (Angeline, Chandra, et al., 2019). In Hekumu’s case, the team has an appealing story of 3 students all passionate about entrepreneurship and herbal tea, with a mix of international perspectives as 2 members are from Asia and 1 from Europe. Since Hekumu is also a startup, they can easily connect with their followers in the comments of a post or through direct messages, this adds a sense of comfort and realness to their brand.
The next step of social media marketing is to have a campaign or two to get started. Diving right into social media works for some, but for a startup, it is wiser to have a little bit of a plan. Initially, the platform could have a goal of gaining as many followers as possible, and then working towards a more niche campaign. Emilia and I started by sharing posts about Hekumu. This included their mission, vision, what their product is, etc. Just to gain followers and promote their page. Then, we worked on a more specific campaign called the children’s drawing campaign. The goal of this was to engage Hekumu’s followers and increase sales.
Once a rough plan has been created, it is much easier to know what type of content is needed. An important aspect of social media is to have variety and surprises, otherwise, people will unfollow the page. There are five main types of content that, when used interchangeably, will keep followers engaged and interested in what the page has to offer (Cover, L. 2021). There’s video, images, text-based photos, stories, and live videos. According to Sprout Social, video and image content are nearly tied at 53% and 54%. Knowing this makes it easier to prepare different types of posts. Hekumu utilized a teammate to organize a photography session, where pictures of Hekumu (both the team and the product) were taken and edited.
PIC 1: (Cover, L., 2021)
Canva is a creation tool that can be used for multiple purposes, such as creating posts, presentations, documents, etc. We used Canva when creating the visuals for Hekumu’s social media. Canva has readymade templates that can be modified to fit your needs perfectly and the tool is smart in a way that it automatically suggests templates that might work best on your needs regarding the search you make. You can make your posts alive by uploading pictures of your own or using the elements that Canva has. Simply search with a keyword of the element you wish to find and Canva will suggest multiple options for you. Elements include things like, pictures, stickers, gifs, shapes, charts, frames, videos, and graphics. On top of these visual elements, you can also add text or audio as you wish. We highly recommend buying the Canvapro since it only costs 11,99€/month and gives you access to so much more elements and possibilities on Canva. With Canvapro you can create brand kits for yourself so that when you start creating posts, campaigns, etc. For your business, you’ll have all the logos, colors, and texts ready as a package. Here is a couple of example posts created with Canva:
Later is an application that can be used to automize your social media posts. We used Later to automize our Instagram posts. You create an account to Later and with the free version you can automate 30 posts per month for Instagram. To make the automated post, you upload pictures to the app, drag and drop them to the timeline on the date and time you wish it to be posted, and add captions and hashtags as wished. Remember to check that you have chosen the post to be published automatically. Below you can see a video on how to automate your posts on Later.
This application made it a lot easier to update the social media for Hekumu since it allowed us to work for posts without having to remember posting them on time. It freed us from having to be always available when the time for posting came and it also lightened the workload since you could work one week creating and automating posts for a month and then in peace plan the next month.
One bad thing about Later is that you can’t get it to publish your stories automatically, with a paid version you can upload your stories ready there and get a reminder when it’s time to publish them, but the app can’t do the actual publishing for you, so with this one, you must do it manually.
Children’s Drawing Campaign
Hekumu team had an idea about having a campaign to collect drawings from children. One of their own daughters’ drawings was already in Hekumu packaging, so they thought of getting some new ones for future products. The idea behind this was that the campaign would also engage followers more and make Hekumu more visible to consumers.
What we did was sit down and have a meeting about how we should organize this campaign. We decided to post 2 times a week about the campaign and create stories a couple of times a week as well. Ella took charge of the stories and Emilia had the responsibility of creating the posts and overall visuals for the campaign.
Creating campaign visuals did take some time but was easy with Canva. After finding a template suitable for our needs, we just modified it to look like Hekumu. The brand kit in Canva was super helpful since it already had all the brand ingredients in it. After creating the visuals for Instagram posts, we created a couple of posters for Facebook and LinkedIn use. Once all the posts for the campaign were ready, we downloaded them to Later to have them published automatically.
Learnings from this campaign were that it was the first-time planning and doing visuals for a campaign and the realization that it’s super fun and once you get that image in your head it’s all about executing it. There were people participating in the campaign, but now after thinking about it, we wonder if Facebook would have been a better target platform for the campaign instead of Instagram. This is because there seemed to be more participants through Facebook and the target group of moms might be using Facebook more.
Here are some pictures of the campaign:
Tips for Social Media Marketing
Good planning is the key to making it work. This means you have to write down in whatever platform feels most comfortable to you: Word, Excel, or Mural, what your plan is. It needs to have the date, topics, picture, or idea of a picture, caption and hashtags included. Like this:
The second tip is to utilize the tools that will make your work easier, such as Later and Canva. It really saves so much of your time, not to publish posts manually every time. Using Canva allows you to see options you might not have even thought about and it’s much quicker to get posts done when you have all that material at your fingertips. If you find some other tools that could be useful, be brave and just try them out.
The third tip is clear communication because it’s easy to get information lost when multiple people are working together. Not everyone has to know everything, but you need to clearly state that “this is what I need you to do, and this is where I need you to let me do what I know best”. This helps not to have multiple people doing the same work for no reason. Another way to utilize clear communication is when you are going on a Holiday. You are on a Holiday, but the whole company is not. If there are things you can do in advance that is great and you should do so, but the things you can’t do in advance need to be done by someone else. That someone else will need clear instructions on what is expected, what they need to do, how they need to do it, when they need to do it and where can they find necessary materials. Here is an example of that:
The fourth tip is to use the money for marketing and be smart about it. Don’t just advertise all your posts but choose the ones that make the most sense to be spread out with the power of money. Posts like this should be interesting, appealing, and most importantly relevant to the person seeing them. You also need to select your target group carefully, so your money on the advertisement won’t go to waste.
The fifth tip is to create more content and less marketing on Instagram. If we think about Hekumu for example, the product is tea which means the people drinking Hekumu are most likely tea lovers or tea enthusiastic. From this perspective, it would make sense to create content about tea, not just about Hekumu, but everything tea-related. For example, to share about different tea traditions, health benefits of drinking tea, beautiful team products or best tea shops in the world, etc. This would create a tea lovers’ community that would attract more followers and customers. The reason behind this is that people on Instagram don’t want to see advertisements. What they are looking for is content that is useful and engaging. Some of the content should include giveaways, questionnaires, and surveys that let the followers participate on your page. Some of these can also include this or that type of story or allowing followers to ask questions from you.
The sixth and final tip, for now, is to consider the benefits of using influencers in marketing. Influencers have many followers and with micro-influencers, their followers usually tend to trust their reviews better than with bigger ones. We did not test this out ourselves, but we believe it would be a great way to help build that community and get the word out of your product.
One mistake made during the beginning of Hekumu’s social media was having the content already given without a clear plan of what was to be posted. It limited the types of posts we could create, and many times the images appeared repetitive on the Instagram feed, resulting in a monotonous social media platform where the follower count plateaued. We found it more beneficial to have a plan for the posts, and then gather content.
Another mistake made within the team was the meetings. We had two meetings in the autumn, one at the end of October, and one at the beginning of December. The meeting in October was rushed due to the impending deadline of sales days starting and left pressure on us to post at least nine times in a week. Although we had volunteered to run Hekumu’s social media, the initial posts felt poorly prepared. The second meeting was kept over a month after sales days, and at that point, the initial pictures taken for Hekumu had run out, which left us scrambling for posts. During the second meeting, it became clear that no other content was organized for us to use, so we ended up using graphics, text, and images off of other websites, which wasn’t as genuine anymore, and created a big divide between the posts at the beginning and the posts for the drawing campaign.
A miscommunication during the entire process was the concept of Facebook. Initially, there was a third person involved, meant to run Facebook and focus specifically on that. However, schedule mix-ups and misunderstandings of the role of Hekumu’s Facebook resulted in the Facebook profile just being reposts of what was on Instagram. According to the target customer group of women aged 25-40, the largest following should have been on Facebook. With a lack of focus and priority on Facebook, it became auxiliary and inactive.
One thing learned during the process of running Hekumu’s social media was the amount of time that it requires. Social media is running 24/7 and customers can access it at all times of the day, meaning the people behind the platforms also have to be available at almost any time. The initial planning, as stated earlier, is crucial. Without a well-thought-out plan, the amount of work can easily double or triple during the posting times. Even the small things like writing captions in both Finnish and English, researching appropriate hashtags for each post, and editing pictures so they match the theme of the feed add up to multiple hours of work. Social media marketing is a tedious job that requires attention to detail.
Another aspect of the social media marketing that can assist with saving time is the utilization of various tools and applications. Social media is a popular and modern way of marketing a brand’s image and products, which means there are also lots of apps that when used with Instagram or Facebook, can make the process of running the platforms much easier. After looking into automatic posting apps, we were able to find one that was ideal for the project, however, we noticed that to benefit the most from the application, money would need to be invested. This also applied to Canva, a great tool for creating posting templates and posts with text or graphics.
Without investing even 20-50€ a month into social media, the possibilities for larger growth and better posts are limited. As mentioned earlier, Emilia used Canva and Later to simplify our jobs and assist us in the posting process. At some point, Emilia had decided to start paying for Canva Pro, which opened the doors to creating a customized brand book and even having access to all graphics. This simple decision already improved the posts, because they no longer looked as repetitive. The other app we used was Later, and in the free version, it only allows users to automate posts. Whereas paid subscriptions offer services such as automated story reminders and posting various content (Reels, IGTV videos, etc).
In addition, investing even a little bit of money into a brand’s socials will drastically improve post views and profile visits (Fountain, T., 2021). This can be done through Instagram’s service of boosting a post, and the amount of money invested can be chosen. Another option is partnering with a smaller influencer who can promote a product or service. This gives a brand a larger audience and can gradually increase the follower count because the influencer’s followers see interest in a product and will often go check it out, sometimes even increasing sales of the product as well.
The trend of utilizing influencers is similar to the timeless suggestion of networking and using all contacts when starting a company. Not everyone knows an influencer or large social media presence but knowing other entrepreneurs who have used a specific influencer can make it one step easier to attain that contact. Many companies struggle financially at the beginning, but using contacts like photographers, accountants, or other entrepreneurs can make the process less intimidating.
With this project, we had limited knowledge on how deep the so-called “algorithm” is. The International Journal of Innovative Science and Research Technology described the Instagram algorithm as “a logical and systematic arrangement of data with the aim to answer user needs.” This essentially means that every hashtag, like, comment, and profile visit determines specific posts and profile’s visibility. The algorithm is a confusing web of numbers, patterns, and predictions that controls how Instagram runs. Lots of influencers and brands have nailed it down to a science and track all post data to optimize a future post’s exposure. This also requires the person behind the profile to understand the current market and know which types of posts or content will receive the most attention. The entire concept of an algorithm is frightening, but even having a little bit of an understanding can improve a brand’s social media presence.
Agung, N. F. A., & Darma, G. S. 2019. Opportunities and Challenges of Instagram Algorithm in Improving Competitive Advantage. International Journal of Innovative Science and Research Technology, 4(1), 743-747.
Angeline, M., Chandra, S., Kinanti, F., Singgih, Y., & Safitri, Y. August 2019. Digitalize Your Brand: Case Study on How Brands Utilize Social Media Platforms to Achieve Branding and Marketing Goals. In 2019 International Conference on Information Management and Technology (ICIMTech). Vol. 1, pp. 278-283
Cover, L. July 2021. 5 Types of Social Media Content That Accelerate Business Success. Retrieved from https://sproutsocial.com/insights/types-of-social-media-content/
Fountain, T. January 2021. Why Small Businesses and Startups Should Invest In Social Media Marketing. Forbes Business Council. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2021/01/25/why-small-businesses-and-startups-should-invest-in-social-media-marketing/?sh=53a824d9563e