Do you ever feel like food was created for social media? With so many channels and platforms devoted to the food & beverage industry today, your answer is probably “yes.” With over 24.5 Million followers on Facebook alone, Tastemade is taking full advantage of food’s online popularity. In fact, Tastemade’s Facebook page recently won a Webby Award for Best Food & Drink. Obviously, this award is for all of Tastemade’s content, but in taking a closer look at how Tastemade makes their most popular videos, brands can gain some helpful tips about what works online. 

It’s actually possible to glean a lot about why Tastemade is having such success on Facebook from just one video. Just watch this mesmerizing clip about ice tray hacks which is Tastemade’s most-viewed video in the last 90 days, with a whopping 25.5 Million views:

Now let’s break the video down and figure out Tastemade’s recipe for their “secret sauce.” Cheesy, we know, but suddenly we can’t stop using food words!

Know What Device You’re Creating For

According to this 2016 LA Times article, Tastemade designed their studios specifically with online content in mind. One of Tastemade’s kitchen sets was built so that it would visually fit inside a mobile phone’s vertical video frame. You’ll notice in the popular video above, the frame is a simple vertical rectangle with a monochrome background. This no-muss-no-fuss approach is to directly service people scrolling though Facebook on their mobile devices. A giant, elaborate set might be great for TV, but it tends to be unnecessary when creating a video for a phone.

Plug in To Online Trends

It’s no secret that people love a good hack. Using something you have lying around the house for an unlikely purpose can be extremely satisfying. Hack videos have been popular online for years, one reason being they’re fundamentally tailor-made for social video in that they’re quick solutions to make your life easier. 2 of Tastemade’s 10 most-viewed videos in the last 90 days have the word “hack” right there in their titles (you’re going to want to check out this one about kitchen cleaning hacks:

Another 3 are essentially hack videos in that they all show you how to easily use “questionably useful kitchen gadgets.” Online is the home of the quick-fix and Tastemade is well aware of this fact.

But Stay True to Your Roots!

4 of the videos in Tastemade’s top 10 most-viewed in the past 90 days are just straight-up, old-fashioned recipes. The LA Times article referenced above states that Tastemade employees are constantly researching current food trends (paletas for summer!) as well as finding the best recipes for classic comfort meals (who doesn’t love authentic chicken parm?). At the end of the day, Tastemade is a brand devoted to food and they understand what their true bread and butter (sorry) is. People are always going to want recipes for delicious food and Tastemade has established itself as the online authority for just that.

Find That Sweet Spot Between Simplicity and Creativity

Hack videos are, by nature, creative. Just take the ice tray hack video above; who knew that you could freeze wine or herbs in olive oil to later plop into a pan or pot to flavor your dishes? Mind-blowing! However, the ice tray hack video in its composition is incredibly simple.

Bite-sized content does not need a lot of bells and whistles. Consider popular haul videos; in some of the most-viewed clips, the haulers are just sitting on their beds as they open their purchases. This is pretty much universally true when it comes to online content. Yes, the ice tray hack video is colorful and clean and the food looks delicious, but there’s no talking, you only see hands as opposed to a chef or personality, and there’s copy, but it’s super minimal. The audience is mainly staring at an ice tray and that’s exactly what they want. Because online content is mostly ingested in short bursts, it’s best to just cut to the chase and hey, it’s also pretty cost-efficient.

Adapt, Adapt, Adapt

In 2016 Tastemade partnered with Facebook Live to create videos 10-60 minutes in length. Live video allows for longer clips and for certain personalities to be featured more prominently. This allows Tastemade to create different types of content and also leverage material from these longer videos for shorter clips across multiple online platforms. Staying on top of emerging platforms and maintaining a presence on existing platforms as they evolve is what keeps a brand relevant. Tastemade understands that as a company it needs to adapt in order to grow, and is using Live as just one type of content to reach out to followers.

Although Tastemade’s ice tray hack video isn’t necessarily selling anyone a specific product, brands could really learn a lot from this video in terms of what works online. Tastemade’s business grew because the company understood its audience, the platforms it was creating for, how to grow as online media grew, and, most importantly, Tastemade never forgot what it started out as.