Last night Mary and I saw the movie Chef at the Grand Cinema starring Jon Favreau and a very good supporting cast. It’s a fun, comfortable comedy with humor throughout.
But I was struck by its accurate depiction of social media. Here are six lessons about social media you might find if you watch Chef.
1) It has never been easier or cheaper to reach potential customers
The son of the Jon Favreau character uses Twitter, Vine, Facebook, and more to get the word out about the #ElJefeFoodTruck as it goes from city to city across the U.S. It’s the exact right use of social media (and one that is actually fairly common–in many cities, people use social media to know when their favorite mobile food truck is in their neighborhood).
2) Photos and videos make for a great way to tell your story.
The photos and videos of the truck, its staff, and the food they cook are way more powerful than just written updates. Take pictures! It will help you connect really well.
3) Having something beautiful to take a picture of is a good start
A good social media strategy is about more than just taking your own photos. It’s about creating the opportunity for your fans to take great photos. In Chef, the business benefits from the distinctive paint job on the food truck that makes so many of the photos stand out. In Tacoma, I am reminded of the current Museum of Glass letter displays, Smoke + Cedar’s three white elk heads, or Shake Shake Shake’s giant EAT sign. Having something that people want to take a picture of will get your closest fans to help spread the word about you to their friends and family.
4) The best posts are ones that tell interesting stories. Like a food truck driving across the country.
Tell stories. Tell stories about your staff, your closest patrons or volunteers. Tell people’s stories, and how your or your business has been important to them. The more interesting the better. Maybe you don’t have a story about a disgraced chef looking to redeem him self on a cross-country road trip in a food truck. But you have stories worth telling. And people want to hear them.
5) Everything is public. Things can go bad FAST.
Despite all these good things about social media, early in the movie, Jon Favreau’s character discovers the worst sides of it. His ignorance of how Twitter works means that his angry tweet is seen by millions. Cell phone videos post his angry rant to YouTube and his career and life spin out of his control. In short: social media means you have to be more and more diligent about customer service and how you present yourself. Because even if you aren’t on social media, everyone else is. It’s not enough to wash your hands of social media—everyone else on Twitter or Facebook is saying things about you whether you are there or not. If you are there, you can at least try to respond when the criticism is negative.
6) Social media should connect people together.
At its best, social media is about connecting people closer together, often in the real world. People used social media to find the El Jefe food truck and connect with a chef/owner in a personal way (taking photos, eating his food, etc).
A good social media strategy for an individual or a business should be about fostering that connection. It’s not just about broadcasting out your message, it’s about listening and interacting. Use it to build a better business, use it to connect more closely with you fans, patrons, or customers.
If you want a fun summer comedy with some helpful social media tips (and some beautiful footage of food), definitely go see Chef.