Thoughts, Insights and Inspiration

The Growth of Social Chefs

A pair of hands preparing cheese tacos, Buzzfeed’s first “Tasty” video helped ignite an unquenchable hunger for subbed “social chef’s.” From short, digestible videos to more sophisticated YouTube tutorials by food vloggers such as Deliciously Ella, there is an undeniable feeding frenzy for accessible, authentic food videos, that are watchable outside the usual Saturday morning television time-slot.

The trend of social chefs is categorically split into two broad categories; brands such as Buzzfeed who harness food content to increase social reach and expand market influence, and bloggers such as Deliciously Ella, who have grown out of just existing on the internet to become multinational authors.

You no longer have to be an established TV chef with ten years of live broadcasting under your belt to be prime influencers in the food industry, as Buzzfeed proves. Traditionally, Buzzfeed existed solely as a social news and entertainment company, growing in popularity amongst a predominantly young audience through a no-nonsense approach to reporting sincere events, whilst also becoming renowned for more comical and clear-cut quizzes.

Little to do with food, you may say, but when Buzzfeed curated food brand “Big Tasty” to increase Buzzfeed’s vertical expansion, the public responded in ways that made Tasty responsible for driving the company’s social video strategy. Perhaps owed to the simplicity of the videos that promote a very “DIY” approach to home-cooking, Tasty is on track to become Facebook’s biggest page, donning 85 million followers in the United States alone. The Tasty brand has gone on to spawn international editions from Mexico to Germany and has become about more than just food. Recognising the brand’s success as a template for virtual content, Tasty has gone on to collaborate with sub-brands to create spinoff video content, making these verticals the fastest-growing part of Buzzfeed’s online empire.

There have been a series of copy-cats to Big Tasty, as publishers recognise food videos to be the new “clickbait” of social media. Business Insider, an unlikely candidate for food videos, has also piggybacked on the trend, creating Insider Food – a Facebook page which has14 grown faster than the Insider itself, boasting 40,000 likes.

With Facebook and YouTube providing opportunity for brands to go viral and change the way we eat, it’s unsurprising that even the more dubious of businesses have jumped on board the food video bandwagon. A simple way to rack-up impressive view-count statistics to show investors, low-budget, 30-second recipe videos are a no-brainer for advertisers looking to secure quick-wins.

To succeed online, everyone has to start somewhere. Bloggers like Ella Woodward, known to the masses as Deliciously Ella, was not always a published author with 650,000 Instagram followers. To sceptics, Ella Woodward may seem another “wellness entrepreneur”, however to the adorning public, Deliciously Ella has become a brand in its own right, catapulting from a micro-influencer to a culinary expert, out-selling TV chefs Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver. 24-year-old Deliciously Ella is likely to be more relatable to the public than Jamie or Nigella, both of whom have extensive culinary training.

The bottom line is, people are changing the way they eat. Searching through traditional recipe books and magazines is a thing of the past, with more of the public picking up their devices to look at Facebook pages such as Delish or Get in My Belly. The most important requirements to succeed at social cookery are mostly simple, and considerably more cost-effective than reaching out to have your brand featured or mentioned on prime-time television.

  • Vanity is arguably the most important element. When you’re hungry, but all you have is your mobile phone screen in-front of you, you digest with your eyes. Visually appealing imagery and videos is what tempt the public into engaging and cooking.
  • Create an entire experience around your brand, using aspects such as influencer marketing to create aspirational content. Influencers’ voices are considerably more reliable and believable in the eyes of consumers, as they’re an independent and you’re a brand.          
  • Short and sweet content is easily digestible to the public. You don’t have to create content like you’re the next Heston Blumenthal. Some of Buzzfeed’s most interacted with content is a 30-second Vine-style video of a pair of hands melting marshmellows in the kitchen.                                                                                                                                           

Consumers are hungry for social chefs. When scrolling through their Instagram on their lunch break, or checking Facebook on the train home, people are going to be enticed by short cookery videos that emulate a “hey, you can do this too!” attitude. Low-cost and relatively simple to produce, cookery show shorts on social media are almost guaranteed to receive interaction, and this is probability only increased if you have a micro-influencer in tow.

Do you think social media cookery videos have the authority to out-perform traditional TV cookery shows? Where do you turn to find your recipes? Tweet us @mporiumgroup.

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