Chef Roy Choi, a master of Twitter as a springboard for his Kogi BBQ food truck, served up Tuesday three tips for achieving social media greatness.
The Korean-American chef, speaking at the fourth annual National Restaurant Association Innovation Summit in Austin, Texas, said social media was instrumental in expanding his Korean barbecue business in Los Angeles at the start of the recession in 2008, when social media was taking off.
“No. 1: You’ve got to be honest with yourself, because social media is about honesty,” Choi said. “It doesn’t mean it’s about perfectness. And it doesn’t mean it’s about you being the best at it. It’s about being honest.”
The top tactic for social media success, Choi told summit attendees, is approaching it with a voice of integrity.
Choi said that if someone uses social media only to increase business or to make money, “then it probably won’t serve its purpose for you.”
He added: “That’s the weird thing about social media. It is probably the thoroughfare that will lead you the quickest to prosperity and success, but at the same time it will crash and burn if you’re not being honest.”
After Kogi’s success, Choi went on to open other restaurant enterprises. This year, he partnered with San Francisco chef Daniel Patterson to open a new, quick-service restaurant, LocoL, aimed at offering affordable, fresh, fast food in low-income neighborhoods.
Choi’s No. 2 tip was to hire someone with social media chops to oversee the platforms if operators were uncomfortable doing it themselves.
“Be open to investing in someone for whom that honesty is part of their life to do social media,” he said.
And the No. 3 tactic, Choi said is to, “find your voice and practice within it. Let yourself get weird with it.”
Social media requires users to pull themselves “out of the instinct and habit that because it’s work thing, that you have speak a certain way or have so many repeated mentions of something, or that you have to have a hashtag this or a hashtag that,” he said.
Ultimately, social media success comes from observing how others are using the platforms, Choi said.
“Be a student of it,” he said. “Listen to it. Engage with it.”
Choi will give a keynote address on Oct. 24 at the MUFSO conference in Dallas.