It seems every time we turn around there’s a new social media platform we’re told we must be active on. Facebook. Twitter. Linkedin. Instagram. Tumblr. For many of us, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything. After all, we’re working chefs. Time is not on our side, especially if we also have a family or just want to have a life. So, it’s important to be strategic about where you spend your time and energy.
Recently, a discussion began on one of our forums about Pinterest. How does it work? Should I be on it? How will it help me? So, we thought it would be a good idea to offer some pointers so that if you decide you want to take it up, you can get started fairly painlessly.
Pinterest launched back in 2011 as a platform where users could upload, save, organize, and share images (and now other media, like videos and gifs) to unique pinboards (think of them as pages). These pinboards could be uniquely named by users to reflect a theme (great kitchen utensils, gluten-free food, cool teapots). The images can come from other users that you follow (you would repin them to a your own pinboard), from photos you upload from your computer or device, or websites you enjoy or manage yourself. Once they’re uploaded onto a pin, they’re shared with the rest of the Pinterest community, and in particular, people who follow your pins. In turn, you’ll see the images of those you follow.
Initially, this was thought of as a great way to organize personal projects. You want to renovate your kitchen? Then you could grab ideas for new lighting or counter tops, fabrics or dishware and have them in one place to get inspiration. People you knew or respected would pin something cool and you’d get great ideas that you might not otherwise have come across. The same applies to great vacation ideas, clothing and accessories, pets. You name it. But, as with everything these days, it’s also morphed into a way to promote brands.
So that’s where you can come in. As a personal chef you have a brand that you want to promote. Like Facebook and Twitter and other social media, this shouldn’t be all about you. But, along with creating boards that reflect your interests, you can also create boards that reflect your personal chef business. Are you a terrific food photographer? You can create a pinboard that features your food photography. Do you have a food blog? You can pin photos of your dishes that link back to the recipe on your blog (and generate more traffic). Do you cater parties? Take pictures and pin them to your catering pinboard.
You can also use Pinterest as a place to collect interesting recipes you want to try. Follow people/pinboards that reflect your interests and create a pinboard for repinning them. Perhaps a pinboard you call Paleo Treats. Or Everything About Grains. It’s limited only by your imagination.
Our social media colleague Caron Golden has a blog called San Diego Foodstuff. So, of course, she has a pinboard called San Diego Foodstuff Recipes. Every week that she posts a new recipe she links it to that Pinterest board. How does she do it? Pinterest offers a “pin-it” button you can put on your browser.
When you’re on a page that has an image you want to pin (including a photo of your recipe), simply click on the button and it will load a page with all the images on that page. Click on the image you want to pin. Then a new little window will open from Pinterest. You’ll select the pinboard you want to pin the image to from the pinboards you’ve created and then add a description. The link will already be included. That’s it. And, if you want, you can automatically connect that to Twitter so that your new pin appears on your Twitter feed.
Caron also has boards that reflect the variety of her food writing interests: SD Chefs and Their Dishes, San Diego Food Vendors, What I Want–And Can–Eat, Edible Reading, Curious and Compelling Food. And some non-food pinboards, like I Have a Purse Problem and Books to Curl Up With.
Don’t want everything to be public? Perhaps you have a project you’re working on that’s not for public consumption. No problem. You can choose to keep your board private.
You can also share pinboards on Facebook or Twitter or with individuals. You can like pins you find by clicking on the heart. You can repin images you like to your own boards by clicking on the red Pin It button that pops up when you hover your cursor over the image.
How will people find you? When you sign up, Pinterest can draw from your Facebook connections and enable you to connect with people who already know you. As you get more active, your pins will be repinned and others will see them. There can be a viral effect that’s very cool. You’ll also be informed via email of new people following you and have the opportunity to reciprocate.
Pinterest is evolving, but fortunately they do have tutorials you can click on that are helpful. Just click on your username on the upper right part of your homepage on Pinterest and then click on Visit Help Center. And, if you have any questions, you can post them here or on our forums.
If you’re watching Food Network Star, you know we’re rooting for our own Nicole Gaffney. And, she cruised through again! Well, perhaps cruising isn’t the best word. In this special Cut Throat Kitchen challenge, she and her fellow contestants were directed to make spaghetti and meatballs. Unfortunately, Nicole completely spaced on picking up a package of spaghetti during the shelf raiding, but she cleverly made up for that by making pan-fried breadcrumb gnocchi. Along the way, she got nabbed by fellow contestants who made her grind her meat with a spice grinder and then had her stomp grapes (don’t ask). But she did it and the judges passed her through to next week.
Speaking of next week, we’ll have a profile of Nicole in this space. Stay tuned!
Are you on Pinterest? If not, what’s keeping you from joining?
Not an APPCA member? Now’s the perfect time to join! Go to personalchef.com to learn about all the benefits that come with membership.
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