Content Strategy / Events / Social Media

Social Media Week 2012 notes: Nosh – The Social Business of Food

Elena Plaiter
I love food. I love buying it. I love cooking it. I love eating it. I love eating at home or eating out: street food, cafes, pub grub and Michelin starred fancy pants restaurants. I love eating with people. And I love talking about food. Because food is inherently social. 

So I was very excited to go to Nosh: The Social Business of Food for Social Media Week 2012.

Food and my professional life have rarely crossed paths, save for a brief chat with a TV food channel, launching a heart healthy recipe finder app for the British Heart Foundation and getting thousands of recipes migrated into new templates for the launch of Heart Matters online. Oh and the work i’ll be doing soon for

I mainly wanted to see if food content was different to any other kind of content. Do you need to treat it differently in order to make it successful? In short, no. Content gets likes, shares etc, because it’s relevant to the audience.

The below is based on my notes from the events. These were not taken verbatim:

Great British Chefs: Creating content that gets likes, shares etc

@gbchefs brand is all about food content: take some chefs, add digital media, stir in some recipes, apps, how-to vids, content, sponsorship opportunities and marketing campaigns, fold in brand messages at the heart of it all and voila! They’re competing, in social media terms, with Masterchef, BBC, Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson, Delicious magazine and Channel 4 food. And they post to Facebook three times a day, because there’s an appetite among their community for this.

The presentation was about how Great British Chefs follow the golden rules of content: what we knew in 2011, and what we know now.

Rule #1: Make it look good >>> Create it with love

And don’t forget to be consistent and remember your content lives beyond your ‘walls’.

Rule #2: Make it worthy of sharing >>> Make it interesting, and mix it up

  • Don’t have narrow conversation topics, and make sure conversations aren’t ‘dead ended’.
  • Bring bloggers to life: give them a personality, and a picture (they’re more than a name), value them, and give them free rein.
  • Be involved in the wider conversation around your content area (they tweet during BBC Great British Bake Off to be in the conversation, rather than standing back as it’s the ‘competition’).

Rule #3: Make it open conversations >>> listen to your community and follow them

  • Get out there and innovate (Great British Chefs have more Google +’s than Facebook has)
  • Have a play (Great British Chefs hold Google hangouts with Chefs cooking live for community to cook along at home. Content can also go on Youtube. Model = GB Chefs bring the content, Google delivers it, Ocado bring the food, and the ad spend).
  • Get on new platforms early and see what can be done (e.g. Pinterest)

Most interestingly, although the content lives on the website, the conversation and engagement is on social media. Their blog gets no comments – but Facebook comments do well.

Moolis: Social media strategy

Moolis is a Indian street food restaurant in Soho, London. Here’s an insight into their social media strategy:

  • Scheduled, but not scheduled to within an inch of it’s life
  • Real time, timely and relevant
  • Helpful
  • Responsive
  • Rewards
  • Whole team
  • Les than 45 mins per day to manage

Know your audience and what they want

Customers include locals, students, corporates, tourists (London guide websites are their biggest referrer), and foodies. Here’s what they want to see online:

  • Info: news, menus, events, specials
  • Assurance: info on awards, reviews
  • Promotions: free drinks, £5 brekkie
  • Dialogue: always respond
  • Acknowledgement: always reward
  • Surprise & delight: keep it fresh


Tap into seasonal events, but not in a corporate way. Take a seasonal/topical event, relate it to a brand value and turn it into something you can engage with:

  • Valentines = love so nominate love songs on FB to be played in store and write on the love board in store
  • Jubilee = Britishness, Britishness = Brit pop so adapt store music policy and brand visual creative
  • London 2012 = games, so adapt other well known games slogan to ‘eat ahead of the games’ to highlight brand feature: we do deliveries

What is Whisk?

The final presentation was about Whisk, an app, browser plugin or publisher integrated button to help people cook and make food based recommendations to them. Basically:

  1. go to any website with a recipe
  2. add a recipe to a virtual basket
  3. that basket connects with an online supermarket of your choice
  4. it suggests, for example, the type of sausages you might want based on your demographics (and food brands place products)
  5. you buy the food


  • Number of recipes
  • Number of ingredients
  • Number of food related store items
  • Bad search returns (lemons = lemon washing liquid)


It integrates NLP, machine learning and personalisation to become relevant to the user, and enables and incentivises sharing.

*The presentation wound up with a debate on analytics and ROI which i’ll write up in another post. 

What are your thoughts on the social business of food? Who’s doing it well? Who isn’t what else can we do?



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