Since Lindsay is opening Fait ici (it’s an urban take on the general store) I’ve been thinking a lot about food.
I’ve also been doing more of the cooking than usual, as she is going through the craziness and whirlwind that is startup entrepreneurship.
It’s occurred to me that cooking and social media are similar on some levels.
More specifically, the prescriptions and lessons that emerge from one realm translate well into the other.
Let me unpack this a bit:
First, in both realms, books are great guides but true learning comes through doing.
I’ve got a number of great cookbooks that I use regularly. The Larousse Gastronomique is probably my fave.
If you’re a neophyte cook or a verteran trying to make something new you’re well served to consult a cookbook. You are not cooking though, until you get your hands dirty and start making the food. During the doing you develop insights that WERE NOT written down in the recipe book
This goes for social media too. There are a tonne of great social media “cookbooks” out there that you can refer to when you are getting started or learning to use new tools.
However, as with preparing food, in social media you learn things that were not written in the book when you stop reading and start acting.
Second, true greatness usually comes when you diverge from the recipe and introduce your own twist.
Follow someone else’s recipe to a T every time you’re in the kitchen and you’ll create what they did. Take their idea, spin it a bit, add some of your own spice and presto, you’ve made it yours.
Same goes for social media. If you try to copy others’ recipes every time you end up a laggard. If you can look at others, see what they’re doing and add your own imprint then you’ll win.
I got into an argument with John Wall and Chris Penn about this last week. They made some great points.
I stand by the argument that we SHOULD look at others’ recipes for social media success, but with the understanding that without incorporating our own twists we’ll fail.
Third, you must know the tastes of those you serve.
Cook a spicy curry for someone who’s only eaten club sandwiches their whole life and you’re liable to send them running for blander culinary pastures. You need to know who you’re cooking food for and tailor the food to their palette. That said, if and when you can introduce new elements into peoples’ diets you’re liable to please them.
Content creation for use in social channels requires the same sensibility to taste. For example, you don’t want to throw naked chicks on church’s blog.
Less obviously, you need to develop a sensibility about what a community likes in a given space.
The kind of content your customer base enjoys seeing in a TV commercial is not necessarily the same as what it likes on your blog or Youtube channel.
In a food a context, though I love lobster for dinner, I have yet to test it out circa 7 am for breakfast.
Very few meals work well for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Similarly, very few pieces of content are going to be well received across all channels. Bear this in mind when you are busy creating!
What do you think about the similarities between social media and cooking?