During a session at the International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE) called “The Art of the $7 Cupcake,” Janelle Copeland, a former winner of Food Network’s Cake Wars and Cupcake Wars, spoke about a subject that had less to do with cupcakes and more to do with how to make products that customers can’t help but share on social media.

The owner of The Cake Mamas, a standout bakery in Glendora, California with nearly 60,000 Instagram followers, shared her expertise on how to grow a following. It all starts with a bakery’s brand, which speaks to customers before products actually can. It’s important to understand that brand, define the competitive distinctiveness that makes it stand out from other businesses, and then relate that to customers through social media.

To create a “$7 cupcake,” Copeland advised, bakeries need to grow their relevancy through five areas: access, price, product, service, and experience.

Access – Many of your bakery’s potential customers are on Instagram and Pinterest. Focus on those when posting your products on social media. Make your products more accessible to customers, and they’ll find you more easily.

Price – Pricing is a marketing tool, not just a way to make money. By creating a “status hierarchy” with your prices, you create social prestige. Copeland gave an example of Carl's Jr.'s Six Dollar Burger, a signature product that was worth six bucks, the company advertised.

Product – Shareability is the currency of social media, so bakery owners should ask themselves, “Why would people share our products on social media?” This could be for a variety of reasons, including if the product is cute or trendy, it's a conversation starter, for nostalgia, it's a limited offer, it elevates their status, or to take part in a celebration.

Service – This speaks for itself. Amazing customer service attracts customers.

Experience – This goes hand-in-hand with service. Your bakery is not just marketing its products, it's marketing itself.

A key aspect of growing relevancy is by reaching the right client. Bakeries need to know who they need to target, based on many factors: who’s in your area (income, profession, etc.), type of buying patterns they might share, what their personalities are like, things that are important to them, when they use social media, topics they’re discussing, what captures their attention, and what is visually appealing to them.

The final step in creating a shareworthy product is to create a runway, Copeland said. Holidays and micro holidays are an excellent way to ignite sales, so know the dates for those. Plan ahead, so that you have plenty of time to hype them up and sell your own “$7 cupcakes” when the time comes.