Here is a summary of my social media project on Laura Vitale, in particular, her YouTube Channel – Laura in the Kitchen.
- Background and Research Question
Laura in the Kitchen is one of the most successful YouTube channels, which features self-taught home-cook Laura Vitale sharing recipes in a kitchen studio within her home. Vitale is well known for sharing many recipes of classic Italian dishes that reflect her Italian roots. Started in 2010, Vitale’s YouTube channel now boasts over 2.28 million subscribers and 1095 videos (as of 31st March 2016). The YouTube channel’s viral success has even led to Vitale’s own cooking television show on Food Network, Simply Laura, and a cookbook of her own (Appendix A) that debuted in November 2015.
However, although Laura in the Kitchen has over 308 million combined views on her YouTube videos, the combined number of subscribers and followers on her other social media platforms are relatively lesser, compared to other cooking YouTube cooking channels. Furthermore, according to a YouTube analytical tool StatSheep, the daily video views for Vitale’s YouTube videos have been experiencing more fluctuations within the past 4 weeks, occasionally having 0 daily video views, and following a general downward trend.
Hence, my research question for this report would be – How can Laura Vitale generate carefully curated content on her social media platforms (strategically Instagram and Facebook) in order to ultimately direct and drive more social referral traffic to her channel and boost her earnings from YouTube?
2. Competitor Analysis
At a total of 2.24 million subscribers and 201 million combined views, Jamie Oliver’s has uploaded 1,280 videos (as of 31st March 2016) on his YouTube channel, since joining the YouTube community in 2006.
Jamie Oliver cleverly produces his YouTube videos according to the consumer demands he and his team identified on his social media platforms like Instagram. For example, his social media manager announced that the chef recently videoed a complete series of gluten-free and diary-free recipes, as Jamie Oliver’s social media platforms are “all about finding out what the audience wants to see next” and strives to maximize online engagement. As such, despite having a slightly lower subscriber count than Laura in the Kitchen, daily video views of Jamie Oliver far surpasses Laura Vitale’s aforementioned statistics. For the past 4 weeks, Jamie Oliver’s daily video views averages around 300,000, and even peaked at almost 10 million views on 19th March 2016.
3. Data Analysis and Findings
To analyse the strengths and weakness of Laura in the Kitchen, I have chosen to analyse Vitale’s Instagram, Facebook Fan Page and YouTube channel.
Finding 1: Vitale’s Instagram posts did not actively promote Laura in the Kitchen and has an inconsistent usage of hashtag.
Almost half of the Vitale’s Instagram posts were targeted at promoting her new cooking show, Simply Laura, while only 5 posts were about Laura in the Kitchen. Also, within the 5 posts that encouraged her followers to visit her YouTube channel, there was an inconsistent usage of the dedicated hash tag #laurainthekitchen.
The average number of likes per Instagram post has also decreased significantly from 5,750 to 4,000 within the month of March, considering that her Instagram account only has 152,000 followers. Hence, there is a need for Vitale to reassess the type of content uploaded onto her Instagram account and establish the various types of consumer demands from her followers.
Finding 2: Vitale’s Facebook Fan Page has a lack of original content.
Upon comparison, it was found that the majorities of Vitale’s Facebook posts were exact replicas of her Instagram posts, and were merely forwarded, suggesting a lack of creative and unique content on both platforms. Hence, there is a need to properly curate the content on Laura Vitale’s both Instagram and Facebook social media accounts, in order to increase audience engagement and ultimately, direct traffic to her YouTube videos and channel.
Finding 3: The subscriber count for Vitale’s YouTube channel has been decreasing.
Although Vitale uploads YouTube video frequently (once or twice a week), data research of her channel shows that despite uploading videos rather frequently, the channel’s subscribers have been experiencing fluctuations within the month of March, and is on a general downward trend.
3. Strategies for Laura in the Kitchen
Strategy 1: Instagram hashtag campaign and a preview of upcoming recipes
(Objective: Building an exclusive community and increasing audience engagement)
Vitale’s Instagram should share photos of “sneak-peeks” of the recipes that will be debuting on Laura in the Kitchen. Additionally, comparing Vitale’s Instagram statistics with her competitor Jamie Oliver’s, it shows that Vitale’s Instagram has been more active in likes and comments, despite having lesser followers than him. In order for Laura Vitale to further increase interaction and engagement and potentially direct her Instagram followers to her YouTube videos, she should use the hashtag #laurainthekitchen for all of her posts. Strategically using her Instagram platform to foster engagement will help to strengthen her brand’s online image for Laura in the Kitchen.
Strategy 2: Facebook Q&A Video Series
(Objective: Leverage on the advantages of viral advertising and the Facebook “share” function, in order to create an online word-of-mouth for Laura in the Kitchen)
As Laura in the Kitchen aims to impart culinary knowledge on “how-to”, which is one of motivations behind social sharing, instead of reposting her Instagram content, Vitale could make use of Facebook’s video function and upload a short video snippet whenever she uploads a YouTube video. The Facebook video could either show behind-the-scenes footage or a fast-forwarded version of the actual YouTube video, in order to peak her fans’ interests. Fans who want to see the full recipe will then click on an embedded link, which will direct them to the YouTube video.
Additionally, Vitale could host a video series on Facebook, for example Questions and Answers (Q&A), in order to establish a personal connection between her fans and herself, or a range of cooking tips and techniques, in order to be recognized as a credible knowledge resource.
Strategy 3: YouTube Italian Recipes Video Series
(Objective: Gain more subscribers and sponsors or brand advertisements in the long run)
The social media strategy for Laura in the Kitchen’s YouTube channel would be to launch a video series, featuring exclusive Italian recipes and Laura’s grandmother (intimately known as Nonna). The content type on Laura in the Kitchen is diluted due to the wide spectrum of cuisines featured in the videos, and is not concentrated on featuring Italian recipes only. However, most of the channel’s top rated videos are those featuring Italian dishes, such as “Nonna’s Pasta with Zucchini & Tuna” and “Nonna’s Chiacchiere” (Italian Fried Cookies). As Laura Vitale often talks about her Italian roots and dedicates her YouTube success to her grandmother, an exclusive Italian video series will enhance the intimacy and connection that Laura Vitale has with her subscribers, as well as generate substantive engagement with new subscribers.
In conclusion, while Laura Vitale’s Instagram page is targeted at building an exclusive community and increasing audience engagement, her Facebook fan page would concentrate on increasing the online virality of her videos. Also, in accordance to her subscribers’ preferences, Vitale’s YouTube channel will also revamp its offered content to feature mainly Italian recipes. Ultimately, these two social media platforms aim to enhance social referral traffic to Laura in the Kitchen’s YouTube channel and increase subscribers’ growth and attract future sponsors or brand advertisement opportunities.
Thank you for reading and subscribe to Laura in the Kitchen!