CookIt Crew: 5 Things You Don’t Know About Netanya Rommel

netanya rommel

CookIt Crew

Just when you think you know everything about the people you work with, you learn something new. Here’s 5 things we never knew about CookIt’s Social Media Manager.

5 Things You Don’t Know About…

Netanya Rommel, our Social Media Manager

Hi there, it’s Netanya here! I spend a majority of my day on my phone (shocker!) running the CookIt Instagram and working with brands, developing their social media strategy and managing their accounts. Everyday is different and I love the creativity that comes with the job!

  1. I grew up in Seattle and, on a bit of a whim, decided to move to New York a couple months ago. I’m so glad I took the risk!
  2. I have a never-ending travel bucket list. Next up: Thailand, Israel and South Africa. But ask me tomorrowI’m sure I’ll have another one to add!
  3.  I volunteered at the The Pantry, a cooking school in Seattle, for five years. I learned everything I know about cooking from them!
  4. If I had to choose a favorite cuisine, it would be Malaysian. It has all the flavors: sweet, sour, spicy, umami. My favorite Malaysian restaurant is Kedai Makan in Seattle, and I don’t care if I have to wait in line for hours.
  5. I lived in Paris for four months when I was in college, and have always wanted to move back for a bit. Mostly, I want to eat croissants and walk by the Seine every day.

The Brand Biz: Meet Your Reader

gathering
Photo by Ditte Isager

THE BRAND BIZ

Meet Your Reader!

When it comes right down to it, there’s really only one thing you need to know about creating a successful brand: You need to know who you’re doing it for. We like to call this your Target Audience.

Without a strong sense of who your reader is, and what their problems (or “pain points”) are, it’s hard to know who you are. The trick is to understand your value through the lens of your reader, delivering content that both informs and inspires them.

But how do you find your Target Audience? Here’s how we like to do it!

4 TIPS FOR FINDING YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE

1. Check out your competitive set

Get to know the brands and blogs that share content similar to yours. Who are their readers, and how are they helping those individuals solve their problems?

  1. Determine what makes you unique

How are you different from the brands in your competitive set? Can you create a niche for yourself and envision an audience that needs you and your unique skills/perspective?

  1. Get to know your current readers

Study, stalk and talk to your loyal fans, the ones who subscribe to your emails and follow you on your social networks. What do they love about you? What do they ask you for more of?

  1. Create a persona

Combining characteristics of your loyal fans with those of your potential readers (those who will appreciate you for what makes you unique!), draw up a profile of your target reader, including the kinds of details that help you identify why she needs you!

What’s Cooking: May 2018

 

focaccia
Salted Focaccia. Photo by Alex Lau.

What’s Cooking 

We can’t help it, we’re so food crazy! Here are the CookIt Crew’s most recent recipe/restaurant/cookbook/cookware obsessions.

What we’re cooking:

  • This unbelievably delicious, crispy, salty focaccia (photo above) from Bon Appétit (twice in the past month!).
  • This go-to appetizer from The Modern Proper is always a crowd-pleaser.
  • For mornings when we don’t want a caffeine rush, we keep My New Roots’ golden milk spice blend ready to go. It’s surprisingly energizing. (This coming from a bunch of coffee addicts!)
  • All the spring dishes from the Love and Lemons cookbook! We swoon over Jeanine and Jack’s photography.

What we’re into:

  • Herriot Grace has some of the most beautiful kitchen goods and homeware. We’re obsessed, and can’t wait to pick up a few of their beautiful stoneware plates for summer dinner parties!
  • Atmosphere mists (room sprays) from Fig + Yarrow. We could spend hours in that store. If you aren’t already following their Instagram, you can do that here. You’re welcome.
  • The 2-qt. non-stick ceramic Green Pan saucepan. It’s the perfect size for rice or scrambled eggs, and cleans up so easily. We’ll always love our All-Clad babies, but….
  • The Forest Feast’s cookbook— Gatherings. It has us so ready for outdoor entertaining!

Where we’re eating:

  • The Bombay Bread Bar, a new restaurant in New York serving Indian cuisine in a Wes Anderson designed space.
  • Just Be Kitchen, a haven for health gurus and paleo-eating Denverites, is now open for dinner! And, they have a new spring-summer menu.
  • Saturday morning at Din Tai Fung is becoming a favorite new brunch tradition.
  • Rosaliné in West Hollywood. One word: ceviche!

The Brand Biz: Mind the Gap

Brand Biz
Belathée Photography, www.belathee.com

THE BRAND BIZ

Mind the Gap

We’re not big on marketing speak, but there is one term we use a lot: Gap Analysis. To us, it’s a really useful technique for identifying the gap between your competitive set (basically, those influencers who create content similar to yours and appeal to an audience like yours) and your brand. There is something unique about you, and once you zero on that characteristic, it will help you see the “gap” in the marketplace. And that gap is yours to fill!

But how do you find that unique characteristic, that thing that will become the DNA of your brand? Here are a few tips to put you on that path to discovery:

Analyze your current brand position

  • What are you?

  • Who do you it for?

  • What do you do?

  • Why is it important?

Analyze your competition

  • Who are they?

  • What do they do?

  • Who do they do it for?

  • What are they doing right/wrong?

Identify your opportunity

  • What is unique about you?

  • What can your offer your readers that no one else can?

  • How can your unique characteristic inform your content?

  • How can your unique characteristic help your reader?

What’s Cooking: April 2018

Toast

What’s Cooking 

Fun fact about the CookIt Crew. By day, we’re a bunch of brand consultants, social media pros and account managers. By night, we’re cooks, the kind that think chopping an onion is meditative. So, in every issue, we’ll share some of our cooking/chef/restaurant/recipe obsessions – thinking you might be a lot like us!

What we’re cooking:

  • Zuni Cafe ChickenOn our way out the door recently, the hostess at Zuni in San Francisco handed us type-written copies of the original recipe, bread salad and all. Best way to roast chicken ever.
  • Haven’t met aSmitten Kitchen recipe we didn’t like, especially her recipe for these chocolate peanut butter cookies!
  • We’re obsessed with Athena Calderone’s Cook Beautiful. The photographs are gorgeous, and they’re making us jazzed to eat our veggies.
  • Paleo Gluten Free Eatsis a great resource for creamy and savory Whole 30 recipes!

What we’re into:

  • The Joule sous vide–omg, sous vide carrots and beets, who knew?
  • The Hazy Jane cocktail atTusk in Portland. Reyka vodka, almond, lemon, yogurt, cinnamon, black cardamom and rose water. We’ve been known to have more than two
  • The Joyfull Bakery Parmesan Cheese Crisps, which we first tried at the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco last month. One word: dangerous!

Where we’re eating:

  • Kismet, a cozy corner of a restaurant in East Hollywood serving an eye-opening take on modern Middle Eastern Cuisine
  • Our favorite little spot in the West Village calledBar Sardine. Great cocktails, atmosphere, and small plates.
  • Highland Park’s Côté Est: an up-and-coming LA neighborhood, and one of the most beautiful patios in town. Don’t miss the steak frites.

How to Choose the Best Social Media Management Tool for You

social media
Photo by Wellness with Edie

Choosing a social media management tool is like choosing which dessert you should grab from your favorite bakery. It’s an important decision! Do you go for the chewy, chocolate chip cookie or the sugary cinnamon bun?

The truth is it depends on what works for you and your social media strategy. It can depend on your budget, your goals, or what organization method you prefer. To help make your decision, we’ve put together the pros and cons of 5 social media management platforms so that the only important decision you’ll have to make today will be the sweet one!

1. Hootsuite

Pros:

  • Easy-to-use web interface making it easier to manage social media profiles in multiple streams from a single dashboard
  • Offers flexibility with regard to pricing, as free plans and premium plans are available
  • Depending on the plan you can manage up to 50 social profiles
  • Can schedule on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, LinkedIn, WordPress, Instagram, WordPress and Youtube

Cons:

  • Doesn’t support scheduling on Pinterest
  • When posting new content to Facebook via Hootsuite, those posts do not track the likes, shares, and comments that you received in Facebook’s Insights analytical data for that post. The likes, comments and shares do exist when viewing from the front end Wall and Feeds, but the “credit” for getting them is not recorded in any way by Insights
  • Scheduler Calendar only displays copy in calendar and not full images, so you can’t see clearly how your calendar will look
  • Does not have a format where you can upload photos for your content calendar, making it more difficult to plan and organize your calendar

Plans & Pricing:

Hootsuite offers a 30-day free trial.

  • Free – up to 3 profiles
  • Pro – $19/month up to 10 social profiles (1 user)
  • Team – $99/month per user (1-5 users) up to 20 social profiles + additional features
  • Business – $499/month per user (5-10 users) up to 50 social profiles + additional features
  • Enterprise – 10+ users, contact for pricing

2. Buffer

Pros:

  • It enables you to manage Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest and more
  • You get the ability to post content to your social media profiles or pages, without having to individually schedule them
  • Buffer enables you to create your own images (using Pablo) which are the perfect size and format for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest
  • Buffer supports RSS feed integration with all its plans
  • Shares your content at the best possible times throughout the day and tracks links so that you can see what content gets the most traction

Cons:

  • All Buffer paid plans are configured for a team of at least five members. So, if you have a team of only three members, you still have to purchase the plan for five members
  • No ability to target Facebook posts
  • Reports are limited
  • No notifications or ability to interact with users
  • Free plan only allows 10 scheduled posts

Plans & Pricing:

  • Individual – $0/per month for 1 social profile per platform
  • Awesome – $10/per month for 10 social profiles
  • Small – $99/per month for 25 social profiles
  • Medium – $199/per month 50 social profiles
  • Large –$399/per month for 150 social profiles

3. Iconosquare

Pros:

  • Informs you of what your followers enjoy the best on your account, which allows you to make decisions on what type of posts you should continue to schedule
  • Shares when your followers are online, which helps you pick the best times and days to post images on your Instagram account
  • Helps you search hashtags that work best for your specific content, and which ones attract the most followers
  • Has a media library where you can load all your assets to make scheduling easier

Cons:

  • Only has plans that go up to 5 social profiles
  • Supports only Instagram and Facebook
  • Does not have a free plan

Plans & Pricing:

Iconosquare has a 14-day free trial.

  • Starter – $9/per month for 1 social profile
  • Pro – $39/per month for 3 social profiles
  • Advanced – $79/per month for 5 social profiles

4. Later

Pros:

  • Can schedule & post on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, & Facebook
  • Pro Instagram Analytics & analytics for all platforms
  • Can plan content calendar with asset library
  • Can easily curate content making it easy to see how your social plan will come together
  • Has a feature that changes the link in bio for you

Cons:

  • Some plans limit the number of posts you can schedule
  • Web interface is more intuitive than the mobile interface
  • Does not schedule for Google+ or LinkedIn

Plans & Pricing:

  • Free – $0/per month for 1 social profile per platform
  • Plus – $9/per month for 1 social profile per platform
  • Premium – $19/per month for 2 social profiles per platform
  • Starter – $29/per month for 3 social profiles per platform
  • Brand – $49/per month for 5 social profiles per platform

5. Sprout

Pros:

  • Allows team members to monitor clients’ social media mentions, engage with brand advocates, schedule content in advance, and utilize reporting tools to inform future strategies
  • Assign and track tasks for team members
  • Compare different profiles and customize date range of social media reports
  • Export reports to PDF or Excel
  • Constantly upgrading and adding new features to enhance experience
  • Discovery feature to find new people to follow or engage with
  • Ability to tag brands

Cons:

  • No free plan and on the pricier side
  • No ability to “save” a particular column to track or monitor a trending topic
  • Can’t like a Facebook post or plus a Google+ comment

Plans & Pricing:

SproutSocial offers a 30-day free trial for all of its plans.

  • Standard– $59/user per month for up to 2 social profiles
  • Premium – $99/user per month for up to 10 social profiles + added features like advanced reporting
  • Corporate – $149/user for up 15 social profiles + added features like advanced permissions and custom branding
  • Enterprise–$249/user for up to 20 social profiles

Finding the right social media management tool is just as important as choosing the right pastry on a Saturday morning. Which one will you choose? Tell us in the comments below which one of these tools you’ve come to love!