Building a social media brand as a chef or bartender

Updated: Jan 18


Your brand is what people say about you when you're not in the room and is the combination of your unique personality, experiences, and specific skills. When done effectively, you differentiate yourself from your competition in the industry and build trust with your desired audience. Not to mention open up doors to new possibilities you haven't thought of before.


Like many professionals in the food and beverage industry, many experts are taking their expertise to the social media world these days because it tends to bring a lot of benefits. From making a name for yourself to attracting restaurateurs to gaining customers' interest in trying specific dishes or cocktails. The sky is the limit in what you can use it for. Whether you are a prep cook or a barback just starting, social media presents the opportunity to show your passion and share your knowledge with foodies and bibulous people.



Table of contents:


  1. Why you need an online brand

  2. How to get started

  3. Choosing your social media platform

  4. Chefs on Instagram

  5. Bartenders on Instagram




Five reasons to create an online brand:


Make a name for yourself

In today's competitive job seeker market, gaining recruiters and business owners, their attention has become tougher than ever before. However, social media makes it possible to get one step closer to achieving that. By building a large online following, you will start to see people reaching out to you with opportunities, whether it's to do a Chef pop up or full-time employment. Smart managers and business owners see the value of a Chef or Bartender who has a following that supports them.


Get paid!

It's no secret that influencers can make a killer living by producing great content. As you begin to increase your presence on social media and your following has become substantial, you can expect to engage in collaboration with companies and other influencers. Usually, if you work with companies, there is always some monetary value for the influencer. So keep this thought in the back of your mind as you work towards becoming the next Gordon Ramsey.


Increase the popularity of your restaurant

The landscape of restaurant competition on social media has grown significantly over the past few years. These days restaurants have to be very creative to come up with new tactics to turn viewers into customers. There are a few ways this can be achieved. One way is by having a Bartender or Chef in-house that has a large loyal social media following that can bring guests in the door. Consider it as being the brand ambassador for the restaurant.


Research in the creation of a new dish or drink

Today is the day you have been asked to create a new drink or dish, but you aren't sure what yet. You have sorted out most of everything but struggle with finding a popular pairing for those foodies out there. Don't panic. Social media can give you great insight into what people like. For example, on Instagram, you are able to hold a poll, questions, and other ways to gain some data on what their taste buds desire and what not, providing you with a path to make smarter decisions in the creation of drinks and food.


Become an industry leader

Social media has made it easier for people to position themselves as a leader within their field of work. While you grow your audience, you have to remember people are doing so based on your personality, skills, and content you produce. Be prepared that people will reach out for tips and inspiration.




Seven steps to follow before you get started!


Identify your area of expertise and passion.

What do you want people to know you for? Are you mixologists that craft their own syrups and infuse Tequila with specific fruits and so, or are you the kind that likes to keep it classic and nothing too crazy? The same can be applied if you are a pastry chef. Are you the kind of pastry chef that loves to push the limits of pastries like Jordi Roca @jordirocasan? Or are you the kind that loves to keep it traditional and simple? Identifying this is crucial before you start so you know what you are working towards. As a plus side, you really get to understand what your passion is and build upon it!


Make your profile picture the same across all social channels.

Start by choosing a high-quality profile picture and use it across all social media platforms. The reason for this is because your followers will look for you across multiple social media channels. The more consistent the look and the fewer variations, the easier it is to create yourself memorable.


Come up with a catchy, unique headline.

Let people know what you are all about from the start! For example: "I am the bread master" or "follow my journey of changing the game of traditional Italian cooking."





Learn and apply from other influencers.

There is no shame in the observance of influencers to learn and apply what makes them so great at what they do. However, if you copy and paste their practices, that is something you should be ashamed of. Instead, learn some tricks and tips but put your own twist to it. If you copy another influencer and expect the same results, you are mistaken. People follow influencers because they do something unique and that makes them an expert or entertaining to follow. Perhaps in your case, it could be pushing the limit of what you can do with cocktails, and infusions are your thing.


Share content on a regular basis.

Set a content calendar that you can keep up with. Social media channels love consistency, so keeps that in mind when you finally commit to the influencer's life. For example, as a bartender, your content schedule could like this:

  • Monday - post a tip. Let's say prep work.

  • Tuesday - you share career advice on what you find important.

  • Wednesday - you share a review of specific whiskey.

  • Thursday – you post a tutorial video of how to make a proper "Old Fashioned"

  • Friday – you share something special. It could be a special drink you are making at your cocktail bar.


Create and curate engaging content.

Before you start creating, take some time to sit down and think hard about what type of content you will be creating. What's your theme? What are your topics, depending on the day? These are all factors to consider before creating. Remember to also engage with your followers and non-followers.


Keep your brand voice and image consistent.

What's your tone of communication? Are you going for more on the casual/ playful side or very serious and get to the point? This is very important because people want to know what they can expect every time you release a new post/ piece of content. Be consistent with your visuals too. Meaning if you post high-quality pictures, then keep positing high quality. It creates a wonderful canvas that’s eye capturing for your viewers and shows that you get the social media game.







Social media channels and what they are good for


Instagram

The social media app that allows user to share photos and videos with captions.

The platform is very lifestyle-driven, but overall can be used for anything. Such as cooking or mixology tutorials or simply share the end result of a dish or cocktail. Your creativity determines the limits of the type of content you will be able to produce on the platform.


For the best tips on Instagram influencer marketing visit Later.



YouTube

A social media platform that can be described as a new way of watching tv. YouTube is specifically designed for videos and popular for vlogging. Just like Instagram, users look for all sorts of content, such as "What's the proper way of sharpening my kitchen knife?" to "How to make a classic Martini?" However, before you start considering the platform, there are—some factors to consider.


We suggest you review these 8 key points before publishing your first Youtube video.



TikTok

With over 800 million users and still growing, it's the newest and most popular platform out there. As the new video-sharing social network that first found mass appeal with GenZ users. It is best known as the home of viral dance trends, challenges, and lip-sync videos. However, due to the growth, all kinds of content have surfaced on the platform to useful tips and tutorials. So, don't be shy from carving out your own unique content on TikTok.


For a guide on TikTok visit Later



Pinterest

Pinterest might be one of the few platforms that can drive significant traffic to your website or other social media channels. With over 200 million users worldwide, all seeking and sharing helpful, inspiring ideas on the platform. It might be the perfect channel for a Chef or Bartender to share ideas, tutorials, and more.


For tips on how to get set up an eye-catching profile visit Later.



Medium/ Blogging

Another way of creating an audience is blogging, it might not be the most appealing to some people out there, but a lot of people seek out blogs when it comes to recipes. One way is to mix your social media channels into your blog. For example, you can write a recipe on your blog and attach your YouTube video of you making it. This way, you are offering the best of both worlds and letting users know about your online presence.



Now that you have some key points to get started and build your online brand. Keep in mind that it will not be easy to manage more than one platform, but by implementing a content calendar, you can follow a path that is manageable and enjoyable. If you are trying to be the next Julia Child or Bob Peters on social media, make sure you have fun doing so. You won't be able to execute and maintain it successfully if you don't love the content you are putting out. So, whether it's educating people on best and new culinary or mixology practices, do it in a way you enjoy.


For some inspiration, view some industry influencers below.


Chefs

Jenner Tomaska @jennertomaska


Timothy Hollingsworth @cheftimhollingsworth


Dominique Crenn @dominiquecrenn


Elisabeth Prueitt @lizprueitt_tartine


Iliana Regan @elizabethrestaurant_and_co


Rene Redzepi @reneredzepinoma


Suzanne Goin @suzannegoin


Joanne Chang @joannebchang


Dan Barber @chefdanbarber


Mathew Rice @mathewsweet



Bartenders

Bartender Yang @Bartenderyang


Steve the Bartender @stevethebartender


Raul Guzman @Raulbartender


Melisa Lapido @melis_boozy_cure


Matt Hollidge @theamateurmixologist


Daniel Keaveney @lasvegas.bartender


Bob Peters @bobpeters


Weekend Mixologist @theweekendmixologist


Elana @stirandstrain


Modern Bartender @modernbartender


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