The Los Angeles Food Scene Part 2 – Social Media

So let me lay the land for you a little bit, set the landscape of what it was like in Los Angeles 10 years ago. 2008 was quite the transitional time where the Information Age was really just beginning to be for everyone. The first iPhone was released a year before, cell phones started becoming more than just devices to call people with, and cell phone data plans were starting to become part of the norm. Friendster and Myspace were the talk of the town and Facebook was coming onto the scene as the next big thing.
Ninong’s in 2008
When Ninong’s first opened its doors in 2008 we didn’t know how much social media would effect our culture. Short version of the story – it did, big time. Back then when we talked about our marketing plan (which was very little) we always talked about “traditional” forms of advertising like print ads and word of mouth. Print advertising costed a fortune and word of mouth was working but not fast enough. We opened in a very scary time in our economy, we didn’t realize it at the time. We were panicking, running out of operating funds, and didn’t know what to do.
Out of sheer panic I decided to put Ninong’s online. We had a website, but we needed more. I put us on Yahoo Maps, Google Maps, Foursquare, Yelp, pretty much anywhere I could list our business for free. Almost immediately, we saw a slight spike in traffic. We were all amazed! People were using the internet to find our business and people outside of our friends circle were coming to our place. It was obvious that internet marketing was where we needed to be. It’s where all businesses needed to be. After all, internet marketing was free and “free” was more our language lol!
LA has changed a lot over the last 10 years
When I think about examples of how social media has effected the Los Angeles food scene I immediately think of Kogi truck. They were the first food truck of its kind, setting themselves apart from the trucks we were used to that sold breakfast burritos (not knocking on those trucks, they were good too!). They would utilize the power of Twitter and tell their audience where the truck would park next. People were eating it up, literally and figuratively! People were signing up for Twitter accounts just to find out where they would be next. When you got to their truck the line would be wrapping around blocks. The rest is LA Food Scene History!
Kogi’s success, our business’s success, and so many others is living proof of how social media has effected and changed the Los Angeles food culture. Without social media our business would not be where it is today. You don’t need a ballin’ budget to pay for advertising like you did back then (though it obviously doesn’t hurt). Being true to yourself, creating a brand, and cultivating your tribe is what holds true. Small businesses, us small time entrepreneurs, and passionate people have a chance to be seen now. The places we endearingly call “mom and pop shops” are the new thing. We have an opportunity to grow like never before.
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How to Use Social Media Productively

We all know the story – you open up Facebook, Instagram, or your other favorite social media platform and you get sucked into a black hole of scrolling. Or, you check to see what the cool new filters are and start taking selfies. Next thing you know it’s 3 hours later and the only productive thing you did was watch cute dog videos. Just me?! I know I’m not alone on this one 😝

I read a tweet from HeySweetPea on Twitter that really resonated with me about social media.

View social media as a place of community + connection, not competition or comparison. Use this beautiful space to be seen + to see others. – @heysweetpea

Social media can be so tricky. I’ve heard really horrible stories about cyber bullying. Heck, it’s hard for me to not play the comparison game. But if you look at it as a place of community, create positive encouraging conversations, social media can be a really great place and resource.

This year a goal of mine was to utilize social media to encourage others, use it as a positive place, share my journey, and grow my reach through substance, not fluff. I didn’t want my account to just be a bunch of selfies of me with make up on and my hair done or just pics/videos of my adventures. Instead I wanted to show what it’s like in the trenches, what it’s like to be attacked with fear, insecurity, and guilt. I really feel like more people need to be on social media that are real and aren’t afraid to be imperfect. To me, that’s something productive to do with my social media accounts 😊

It’s so easy for people to hide behind their screens and do damaging things. Things that damage themselves, others, or both. It’s easy to say mean and hurtful things when you’re not looking at that person in the eye. It’s easy to wish for something that someone else has because you don’t see how hard they worked to get it. If we change the way we converse over social media it’ll do nothing but good. It’ll make us more productive. It’s all a matter of perspective and social media has a big influence on our perspective. It’s crazy how much power social media has over our lives. And clearly, social media is here to stay. So how are you going to use it productively and for good?


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Instagram, Instagram, Instagram…

Why must you betray us so?!

I don’t like the new update for Instagram. As a business that is growing a lot of our marketing plan relies on Instagram specifically to help grow our business. When Facebook changed from chronological to relevance it drove me nuts too. Instagram is no different. I never really looked at Facebook the same way after that. It makes me kinda sad for Instagram.

But hey, I can’t change it so I’ve got to make the best of it. So what’s my plan from here on out? Nothing really different. I just want to put out good content. I want to put more authentic content out there and do it more often, but other than that I still want to remain true to myself. No algorithm is going to change that 😉




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