Social Marketing with a Cookie and a Smile – SEM Synergy Extras

I had lunch today at Corner Bakery and while I paid for my scrumptious meal, I feel I walked away richer thanks to a cookie and a smile.

I was noshing on some soup and sourdough and reading the Times when my attention was captured by a curly-haired woman with a perky set of pearly whites suddenly standing in front of me. I’d seen her earlier, waltzing around the room, chatting up other smiling folk.

“Hi,” she beamed. “I wanted to let you know about the Corner Bakery e-mail newsletter. If you sign up to receive it your very first e-mail from us will be a voucher for a free cookie, and after that we’ll send you news and cool offers and coupons for more free stuff. Wanna sign up?”

pandas eating nom nom nom

A free cookie, eh? We all know what happened next.

Driving back to the office later it hit me. This woman had convinced me to hand over my personal info — my actual personal e-mail account, not just the one I keep for spam — using two simple tools: a cookie and a smile. And while we can’t all compete with the likes of a snickerdoodle, we can all keep a cookie and a smile in our marketing arsenal.

On today’s episode of SEM Synergy, Bruce Clay’s weekly podcast on, I spoke to Tamar Weinberg.

Along with being an Internet marketing blogger and consultant, Tamar is the author of The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web. From strategy development to tactics for individual platforms, the book teaches readers about the nascent need for businesses to engage in conversation marketing on the increasingly social Web.

Prior to its release last year, Tamar introduced the book on her blog, From her post:

“There are two things that act as an extension to social media: #1: great customer service, especially since everything is now public, and #2: great content, so that you can do something that is clearly remarkable that people would want to talk about.”

There you have it! Content and customer service, also known as a cookie and a smile. This simple duo wins me over every time.

Your cookie is the value you can add to a consumer’s life. It’s the piece of the marketing equation customers can see and feel and share. In the online world, the cookie is the content that a reader sees as valuable. It’s what the reader can walk away with that they didn’t have before they came, like a piece of info they didn’t know before or a really funny joke. It doesn’t have to be an expensive cookie. It just has to be delicious or nutritious.

Your smile is the way you treat your customers. Whether you’re approaching them with an offer or they’re coming to you with a complaint, maintaining a positive vibe is key to maintaining a positive online reputation for your businesses. Everyone has a megaphone on the Internet and stories of extremes, such as horror and, elation have a way of spreading fast. By always communicating with customers with an attitude of helpfulness and respect, the stories echoing around your brand will be good ones.

People online are hungry for some happy. So… are you smiling? And what’s your cookie?

Virginia Nussey is the director of content marketing at MobileMonkey. Prior to joining this startup in 2018, Virginia was the operations and content manager at Bruce Clay Inc., having joined the company in 2008 as a writer and blogger.

See Virginia's author page for links to connect on social media.

Comments (1)
Filed under: Social Media Marketing
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One Reply to “Social Marketing with a Cookie and a Smile – SEM Synergy Extras”

Thinking of major companies using the “cookie and smile” method is kind of creeping me out. I can’t help but picture a Tyrannosaurus Rex saying “nom nom nom nom”, while munching on a helpless native, then smiling after a huge burp. Well anyway, it is good to offer something simple and genuine to entice consumers. The simpler it is, the more it is accepted by many.


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