Last week I was invited to give a talk about the way I use social media for my career in food at the new Discovery Space at the Three Mobile store in Islington (think of it like going to an Apple store to learn basics on how to use your phone) and it actually got me thinking about the way I use twitter, Instagram and all the socials. It’s not as if I actually have a social media plan, I don't really schedule posts, I don't use diagnostics or check my engagement but in some ways I think that is to my benefit.
My biggest tip is that social media is supposed to be fun and it ever feels like a job you're taking it too seriously (of course thats different if you are using it for a company).
After thinking about it for a while I did realise that I have some habits that have become useful, the first and most important tip would be authenticity. I follow accounts that have a point, I love a pastry chef that is showing off his work, a travel writer that shows me places I will never get to visit and cute sausage dogs just being cute (I wont apologise for my love of cute dogs!). Whilst different the one thing these accounts have in common is consistency, they post what they're known for and this feels like an authentic voice, if it was random pictures with no cohesive feel it doesn't grab peoples attention, maybe unless you are Kim Kardashian. Along with that another tip I have learnt is regular posting, if you leave long gaps between posting content the lower your engagement gets, for Instagram I would say once a day is what I personally aim for but I don’t push it, if I don’t have a good picture I would rather not post.
I also use different social media for different things. Instagram (my favourite) is my creative area, I don't post random pictures but normally it is shots I have spent some time on, almost as a portfolio for my work. Twitter is obviously for chatting and I use that on a real mixed level, some work, some personal, lots of whatever. Snapchat, my latest obsession, is where I don’t follow any rules, it’s the younger sibling of the social media world and it’s simply for fun, yes I put work stuff on it, but its almost a behind the curtain look plus a whole host of random things I see/do during my day, its the social media where I let loose (follow me, like everywhere else, @theboywhobakes)
At the class I also gave a quick guide to the way I take pictures for Instagram and while this is easier to do in person these were a few tips I gave.
1. Natural light - unless you are adept at using studio lights with a delicate hand, food generally looks awful with flash, especially when that flash comes from your phone or your compact camera - turn it off.
2. Follow some of your favourite accounts and learn what you like and dislike from their style and let it influence your own style, dont just steal other peoples ideas but by learning what you like and dislike you will start to develop your own style.
3. Edit with a delicate hand. Most filters are too strong straight out of the box, turn them down before posting, it looks more natural and it just looks better.
4. Edit outside of Instagram. The app has come a long way in its editing abilities but I still prefer to use a more pro app and my favourite is VSCO Cam, its just the best.
5. Variety. Don't always post pictures that look exactly the same. I follow accounts that use the same set up and over time, whilst they are pretty images, they look too similar and it gets stale.
That is barely touching the surfaces of how you can use social media but I thought a few tips could help. If you want to learn more about how to use your mobile devices check out the listing at the Discovery Spaces from Three and follow me @theboywhobakes everywhere for any upcoming classes I’m running.