For some businesses run purely in the online sphere, Instagram can be a huge boon. Like local success story Kek & Co, for instance.
Owned and run by competitors-turned-friends Satira Diana Borhanuddin and Farah Melissa, the two started their cake business on Instagram in 2015 and now have over 112, 000 followers on the site.
The pair design beautiful custom cakes and are devout about keeping up with cake trends on Instagram, including monitoring other cake artists’ feeds as well as keeping track of which Instagram cake pictures generate the most likes.
“Some people who are not in the business find it shallow that we are always looking at beautiful Instagram pictures, but we are actually looking at trends of what people like to see visually,” says Satira, adding that they started making more pastel cakes after realising this was a trend.
The two post pictures daily but curate these images by discarding the ones they feel have no Instagram pull.
“We don’t post pictures that we feel will not get likes. Although we make so many cakes, we will only post what we feel will cater to the Instagram crowd,” offers Satira.
Because the duo understand how important visual allure is, they are fastidious about ensuring the quality and consistency of their posts.
“People are so visually-aware nowadays that if you don’t put any effort into your pictures, no one is going to bother looking at it. For Kek & Co, the focus is on the cakes but still, it has to be the right edit.
“We depend heavily on daylight when we’re taking our photos, so if we’re taking it after the sun goes down, we have to edit it to make sure the photo looks the same as the rest. From one photo to the next, it has to have the same flow and the same filter, so that our style is consistent,” says Satira.
Just a few weeks ago, Satira and Farah took their Instagram followers even more seriously, when they launched a new affordable cake brand @kuebykek based purely on demand they received on Instagram.
“At the beginning of the year, we did a poll on Instagram to find out what people want and a lot of the feedback was from people asking us, ‘Do you have cakes RM150 and below?’
“So we decided to do something about that,” says Satira, adding that all the cakes under @kuebykek are priced below RM100.
To market the brand, which makes gorgeous pre-designed cakes like mermaid and unicorn cakes, they use Instagram social media influencers, and in just three weeks of launching, have already amassed over 4,000 followers.
Ultimately, Satira and Farah say that Instagram has helped them understand their core customer base better, while tapping into trends that appeal to a wider mass market.
Eventually, they hope this will help when they launch their retail outlet in the future.
“It’s prepping us for our store, because we want to understand what customers want, so this is our market research,” says Satira.