Last Monday, while I was catching up on Snapchat, this happened, in precisely this order:
- I’m watching snaps from EdenEats who happens to be Eden Grinshpan, a NYC cooking personality. She and her husband are both adorable and fun to follow. They recently announced – on snap – that they are expecting their first child. Monday nite’s series of snaps included a visit to natal yoga followed by cravings for healthy food.
- The next series of snaps has them at home unpacking take-out from Vanessa’s. I’ve never heard of this dumpling place even tho one of their 3 outlets is in my neighborhood. But man, those spicy wontons look delish (pic top right)!
- I check out Vanessa’s on Foursquare – it gets a 9.1 rating – EXCELLENT
- I add Vanessa’s to my calendar for my next available lunch – which happens to be last Wednesday.
- Wednesday at lunch – in the pouring rain – I traipse down to 118A Eldridge Street and get an order of spicy wontons.
- And oh my, were they ever hot and spicy! My mouth and throat were burning up (pic above is proof!).
- Bottom Line: Wontons were delicious, I’m glad I discovered Vanessa’s – very authentic Chinese – but way too spicy for me.
Read on below for how EdenEats succeeded in getting me to try Vanessa’s Dumplings. And, more importantly, what the lessons are for brands looking to optimize social media.
Lesson 1: Proven Expertise
Eden Grinshpan had proven to me, over several months, that she knows A LOT about food and cooking. Even though Vanessa’s wontons were way too hot for me, she has not lost any cred because my timid palate was not up to her wonton connoisseurship. However, I will file this away and the next time she’s raving about some spicy ethnic food, I will think twice about the heat level.
Lesson 2: Authenticity
When the Grinshpans ordered food from Vanessa’s it was clearly a favorite of theirs – down to the specifics of the spicy wontons. They were not shilling for anybody – this was their go-to for dumplings and wontons.
I can’t begin to tell you how important that point is. I follow a few other people e.g. YesJulz who I adore but when she’s promoting Hypnotiq, it is clearly a business arrangement – and I’ve been following her long enough to know that although she’s quite a partier, she NEVER talked about that brand until this deal was struck. On the other hand, her accolades for We Work in Miami is totally genuine as is her love of KITH.
Lesson 3: Avoid Borrowed Equity
Lots of brands tap into celebrities. It generally doesn’t move the needle unless the celebrity is a known fan of the brand. Most of the time they are not – which makes brands not only look silly, but desperate. Especially, when it invariably comes out how in real life, the celeb actually prefers and uses, a competitive brand. SO, JUST DON’T DO IT!
Just to be clear, I’m not talking about celebrities who already have their own lines. Many of those e.g. the Kardashians, do extraordinarily well. That’s not what we’re talking about. What I am opposed to is hiring social media celebrities who have no link or affinity to your brand. No matter how many millions of followers they have, ultimately it damages your reputation when these discrepancies come to light.