For food people, Thanksgiving is like the Super Bowl. For an event that’s such a big deal, Food Network’s social media director, Kate Gold, and online editor, Sarah De Heer, wanted to include everyone.

So they started a social media campaign that was inspired by how food brings everyone together. They called it the Communal Table and asked everyone to #pullupachair. What happened next was an amazing feast of content, partnership and community engagement.

Gold and De Heer shared their lessons learned at SocialMedia.org‘s BlogWell conference in New York. Here are some take-aways from their presentation.

  • Show the world how it can join in. On their FN Dish blog, Gold and De Heer showed everyone that with a simple hashtag, fans, partners, bloggers and literally anyone could participate in this inclusive campaign. They made it easy to contribute and asked many questions, which created an outpouring from the community.
  • Invite your competition to the table. Gold says that by extending the conversation to competitors, Food Network wasn’t losing any traffic but rather hosting an elevated conversation. The brand felt that social media presented an opportunity to break down barriers and interact on a friendlier, more cooperative level.
  • Let everyone do what he or she does best. Gold and De Heer say they set up participation with partners sort of like a potluck (yes, more food analogies). Bloggers and brands offered to bring what they did best. For example, Liquor.com could give recipes for holiday cocktails, and HGTV could talk about table settings and decor. The result was great content, not only turkey recipes from unrelated contributors.

Watch their presentation. Slides are available.

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