Since starting Nom Nom Paleo in 2010, Michelle Tam’s social media numbers have exploded. Now she spends more time on social media than the blog. “Most of my posting happens from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., but then when the kids are home, I’m not on my phone and I don’t do it at night,” she says.
As a result, her blog posts slowed. “Our goal is to blog once a week or once every two weeks,” Michelle explains. “I used to blog more frequently, but I learned from my readers that they don’t have time to keep up. Because it’s less frequent, I have way more time to make a really good post, with well tested recipes and great photos. Ultimately everything goes back to the blog because that’s my home on the Internet.”
She uses social media to “flesh us out and make us real people. Once we started adding video and podcasts, people can hear my voice, see how I move, decide if I’m someone they want to be friends with. Because of the boom of reality TV, people want to see real people.”
Michelle also sends out a newsletter once a week on MailChimp, to 141,000 subscribers. “I make mine look like a letter to my readers,” she says. “It’s personalized by name. I don’t put a bunch of email graphics. It’s more ‘Here’s what we did this week.’ I don’t make it sales-y and I don’t pitch things. It’s a way to keep in touch and remind people to go back to the blog. If people write to me, I write a quick note back.”
One of the things I noticed, when researching Nom Nom Paleo on so many mediums, is how Michelle appears as the same person with the same message, across social media. Her tag line is usually “Michelle Tam – James Beard Award nominee, New York Times bestselling author, Saveur Award-winning blogger, Webby Award-winning app creator, and podcaster.” She has a consistent, upbeat message about eating well on a paleo diet, and she involves her two sons. Her husband Henry Fong, a lawyer, helps with the blog’s design, photography, illlustrations and other work.
Here’s Michele Tam’s killer social media strategy:
1. Facebook Live:
“Video is the new way to reach people. I love to watch people cooking, and it’s a cool way to do cooking demos. I can answer questions in real time, and readers don’t expect me to be polished.
Facebook Live gets archived on my Facebook stream. I had to get a verified account. I’ve only done one video per week because I don’t want to slam people with it. I would not want to see a million videos by me and I want them to be super useful. I’m on Tuesdays at 5 p.m. when I’m preparing dinner. I answer questions. It’s free and it’s like reality TV.
It does take some pre-planning. I do prep, I plan to show people how to do something, like how to cut a lime, or how I vent a pressure cooker. My kids will wander in because it’s live. It’s real but I’m also prepared for it. I ensure 80 percent success.”
2. Periscope: 20k followers
“I tried Periscope but I couldn’t get readers to adopt yet another platform. Only 20,000 people signed up. But compared to other platforms, people were so resistant. They said to put it on YouTube. I feel Periscope is going to die because of Facebook Live.”
3. Facebook Fan Page: 353k likes
“I find it a little frustrating, because everybody’s on Facebook – your grandma, your mom. I get ruder comments on Facebook. I’m always amazed because it’s not anonymous.
It’s hard to keep up engagement, but now I’ve decided I will try to put up great content. No one wants to see all my recipes from my blog, so I will put up new relevant articles about food or cooking or paleo.
Facebook is so transparent, because it shows you right after a post how many people saw it, who has used it or liked it. The analytics are right there. You can use that to your advantage to learn what kind of posts don’t work, what resonates, and what people will share.
Recently we hired a guy to help us with Facebook. He monitors it and schedules stuff.”
“I tried Snapchat and it’s really complicated. I’m already snapping pictures for Instagram. Somebody’s already stolen my handle, nomnom paleo. So grab your name on new social media.”
5. Podcasting: 331 reviews on iTunes
“I still love it. It’s in hibernation. It takes so much time to do. Henry does all the editing.
Podcasts are powerful way to engage but have to be done well. As soon as the sound is scratchy or it gets boring, people will find something else.
The listenernship has grown steadily but not exponentially. But the people who listen are super engaged.
6. Instagram: 275k followers
“Back when my blog first started, I put up everything I was eating in a day on my blog. Now that’s what I do on Instagram: What I eat when I travel, what I’m serving for dinner. The blog is just for recipes and evergreen content.
It’s harder to see all the comments but I still read them and answer questions. I look at it once or twice a day.”
7. Twitter: 68k followers
“Twitter is a way for people to ping me right away and I can answer right away in a short sentence. I can ping someone I like right away too, and I can connect with lots of people I admire.
I get so many emails, and some people send long ones, so Twitter is a much better way to reach me.”
8. Pinterest: 116.8k followers
“It’s a big thing but I don’t love it. I don’t have time to pin 100 images a day. People pin our images and I just let that happen. I’m hoping that people who are big pinners will pin from the site.”
9. Tumblr: 70k followers
“I’m on Tumbler by default, because that’s where our blog is hosted. We’re going to migrate off it to WordPress. It’s too hard to post images and there are no plug-ins. It’s very stable and it’s been free. We can’t do any kind of SEO magic, though.”
10. Google+: 1,571k followers
“I definitely have the most followers on Google+, but I don’t know who they are. They might be spam. Google+ reached out to me and put me on their suggested followers list. I don’t even know what people use it for. If it helps with Google search, then it’s worth it to post on Google+.”
11. You Tube: 4k followers
“I haven’t really built up my channel. I put Periscope videos there. To have a great channel you need really great edited, polished, produced videos, and I just don’t have time for that. To develop a really great presence, that has to be your main job.”
12. Linked In: 307 followers
“I don’t even use it. The people I connect to aren’t readers but people whom I connect with for business opportunities.”
“Concentrate on what you love, but don’t disregard new media. Be aware of everything, see where your strengths lie, and even if your strengths don’t lie there, you have to try the next new thing.”