Tell us a little bit about @BonAppétit. What makes you worth following?
Rachel Karten: I’ve worked on Bon Appétit for almost three years now, and when I first started, it was just me running everything by myself. Adam Rapoport, our editor in chief, had one directive about Twitter: the voice should always be funny, irreverent, and smart.
He really wanted it to feel like a Bon Appétit editor was running the account and not some big capital B brand – it should feel like a friend is talking to you. Now we're a team of two, thankfully, and day to day, Twitter is run by Emily Schultz, who is very funny and has done an amazing job of taking that original directive from Adam and just running with it.
Any particularly viral moment we might remember your work from?
Rachel Karten: In terms of particularly viral moments, we had this garlic bread grilled cheese Tweet – I forget what the exact copy was – I think it was literally just “garlic bread grilled cheese”, in all caps, as if we were very excited about it. It blew up because, first of all, it’s an amazing idea for a recipe, and definitely the kind of recipe that we knew would play well to the internet.
Tell us what it means to be a social media manager in 2019
Rachel Karten: So besides ruining your eyes, and staring at a tiny phone screen all day [laughs], I think it means having a complete and total understanding of what people are talking about on the internet.
I think there used to be this feeling that you only needed to know what people in your field were doing and saying. For me, for example, I only needed to have a pulse on what's going on in the food world, so following food accounts and food influencers and food celebrities, or whatever it is. I don't think that's the case anymore, because there's so much happening right now on the internet, from politics to funny memes and weird inside Twitter jokes, that you really need to be tapped in on all fronts. Both from the perspective of knowing what topics you might want to avoid at a certain moment, and also just knowing what bigger cultural moments are happening, that could potentially make sense for your brand to weigh in on.
Describe your relationship with Twitter.
Rachel Karten: From a brand perspective, when something culturally relevant is happening, we're not asking “what platform should we go to first?” It’s immediately, like, Twitter is where we need to go with this. That's where you're going to make your commentary quickly. I also think it’s also the best platform for showing your community love.
Personally, when I Tweet at a brand, if they don't respond or like my Tweet, I feel kind of miffed, but when they like one of my Tweets it’s this warm, fuzzy feeling that shows the brand cares. It creates that one-to-one connection that I don't think you can really get on any other platform. And as a brand that cares so much about our readers, having a platform where you can really kind of interact with them is key for us.
What's the most underrated Twitter feature?
Rachel Karten: This isn’t underrated, but I think that threads are amazing. Working for a magazine, where our job on social is to translate stories that are sometimes as long as 2,000 or 3,000 words into a small, snackable piece of social content, can sometimes be a challenge, especially on Twitter, where the point is to be quick and short with your copy. So for us, creating threads with photos and polls, and lots of different multimedia is huge in order to tell these longer stories.
We did a thread last year that was an A-Z of sandwiches, that we submitted to the National Magazine Awards, which was a beautiful print feature as well. We translated it from the magazine so it was a pretty long thread, but we switched in GIFs for some of the letters, and polls for others. It created this really interactive, fun story that would never have gotten across the same way with one single Tweet. So, yeah, we are big fans of threads.