Social Media Lessons From Bad Boy Food Critic, Anthony Bourdain
“Social Media Lessons From Bad Boy Food Critic, Anthony Bourdain” by Melissa Myers was first seen on the Conduit blog.
Monday night was the season premiere of Travel Channel’s “No Reservations,” starring Anthony Bourdain. To put this in perspective for all you non-fans, this is equivalent to the return of “Mad Men,” “CSI,” or your favorite sport team starting up again. We foodies have been starving for the show’s return – that is, unless you’re one of those people who thinks Bourdain is an a**hole. In this case, you are most likely dreading Tuesday mornings, when you are forced to listen to your foodie friends/co-workers gawk over Bourdain for yet another season. (But I prefer not to associate myself with anyone who holds this sentiment.)
A few weeks ago at SXSW, the foodie in me geeked out when I was passing through the Austin Convention Center and noticed that in just a few hours, a panel called “Digital Debauchery with Anthony Bourdain” would take place. I returned for this session only to discover that there were several hundred others who were just as excited to attend as I was. I had a moment of panic that I wouldn’t make the cut, but alas, I made it into the room where the digital debauchery began…
The conference room was filled with hundreds of other Bourdain fans who drooled over the “No Reservations” team as they told the audience about their day-to-day “job” managing the “No Reservations” social channels and jumping from country to country to film new episodes.
Everyone was infatuated with their open and honest discussion, which led to several important social media lessons. Here are the top 5:
1. Take control of your own social channels. The “No Reservations” team decided to take full control of their social channels in order to ensure success – or as better said by the man himself, “We didn’t want them to suck. The ‘No Res’ Twitter account is actually me.” Sound like a no brainer? It’s not. How often do you hear that celebrities and CEOs don’t actually run their own accounts? The answer is: too often. The best way to attract users and generate engagement is to share authentic content. This may mean that for the busy professional, less content will be put out. But in the end, people will be attracted to the fact that it’s REAL.
2. Push the boundaries. Not everyone loves Anthony Bourdain. I don’t understand these people, but apparently they do exist. Yet Bourdain doesn’t care what others think; his show is a direct reflection of his opinions and tastes. This genuine behavior serves as an example that if you stay true to what you like, an audience will follow.
3. Don’t be fooled by one-time fans. Although Bourdain does what he wants despite what others think, he still cares about pleasing his true fans. “I don’t personally give a f*&! how many people sit down at 10 p.m. on Monday and watch [the show],” Bourdain said at the panel. “I care about how many people watch it at the end of two years.” This is an important takeaway that can easily apply to social media. You may have received 100 re-tweets today, but what is most important is your overall relationship and engagement with your everyday fans and followers.
4. Utilize your audience. Anthony Bourdain has a massive following. Millions of people watch his show, follow him on Facebook, and enjoy live-tweeting during the episodes. Bourdain and his team take advantage of this impressive following by constantly taking the time to listen and even reach out to their audience. If, for example, Bourdain has a trip planned to Austin, Texas, he will reach out to local bloggers and fans of his show for recommendations on where to go.
A fan from Finland once created a Facebook group to get the “No Reservations” team to visit the country, and guess what? The team paid a visit to Finland! Now that’s called listening to your audience.
5. Be a cool kid. To proceed with this shameless adoration for Anthony Bourdain, let’s face it – there is no denying that the man is cool. The “No Reservations” team has followed the coolest trends by staying up to date with the latest technologies and startups. They have a Tumblr where Bourdain shares what’s on his mind, participated in a Q&A on Reddit, and recently did a live DJ set on turntable.fm.
I realize it’s not easy for every marketer to disregard the norm and push boundaries quite like Anthony Bourdain does; we have to be mindful of our company’s image and message. However, if we make an effort to incorporate more genuine thoughts/opinions and less of what is to be expected into our social channels, the result will be a more human experience.