Knowing what social media platform to be on — In the world of social media, there are many options to showcase your recipes. There is Instagram, Tik Tok, YouTube, Pinterest, Facebook, Blogs, and much more! Every platform is a full-time job, don’t be on them all at once.
As a part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Tiffy Cooks.
Digital content creator and passionate home cook, Tiffy Chen AKA Tiffy Cooks, was born in Taiwan and has always had a passion for cooking starting from a young age. Tiffy and her family would travel around Taiwan exploring all the new “must-try” dishes around the country. Tiffy moved to Vancouver, Canada when she was in grade 7 and found that luckily Vancouver was blessed with unique cuisines. Hosting over 2.4 million followers on her Tik Tok account and 1 million followers on Instagram Tiffy enjoys sharing 60-second cooking tutorials and daily recipes. Tiffy is incredibly well-versed in the digital marketing space and is currently working on a cookbook that is set to debut in February 2024. Tiffy is incredibly passionate about broadening her recipes into exotic, exciting, and accessible for the everyday home cook.
Thank you for making time to visit with us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. How did you discover your career path, and what got you to where you are today?
I grew up in a household filled with foodies. Growing up, my dad would often pick me up from school early so we could try out the latest, hottest new restaurant. All of my best memories from my childhood relate to food.
Like most people, I learned a lot of my cooking skills from my mom, but I was also OBSESSED with watching YouTube and reading food blogs. One of my favorite things was to fall asleep while watching a YouTube cooking tutorial while dreaming about what I would make the next day.
There was ALOT of trial and error, but I got better and better over time and started developing my cooking skills and recipes. Cooking became my passion. Rather than studying, I would spend HOURS in the kitchen developing new recipes.
After 11 years, I finally decided to take my passion full-time, and it has been the best decision I’ve ever made.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned along the way that influences how you operate now?
Stay passionate! It can be tricky mixing your passion with your career, but the number one thing you need to become a full-time blogger is PASSION.
I’ve been cooking for 11 years and attempted to start at least 5 “failed” blogs before TIFFYCOOKS. I always knew this was what I wanted to do, and I trusted the process and never lost passion for what I loved.
We’re all searching for some good news. How are you using your platform to make a positive social impact?
I think it is so important to share the culture and story behind cooking. Cooking goes beyond just the recipe. With every recipe I share on my platform, I share the stories and the discovery process behind each one; this way, not only do people get to enjoy delicious recipes at home but also get to learn, understand, and respect the origin of the recipes.
Many of our readers are influencers as well. Others have tried and have yet to succeed. What words of advice would you offer to aspiring influencers, knowing what you know now?
Don’t give up! A Roman philosopher Seneca once said, “ Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” just because it isn’t happening for you now doesn’t mean it won’t happen later. Stay passionate, keep working hard, and one day, when an opportunity is presented to you, you will be ready!
Success is often a matter of perspective. I’ve always resonated with Henry David Thoreau’s quote, “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” How do you see success — or define success — for yourself now?
To me, success is getting to work alongside my family. Many recipes on my website are my grandma’s and my mom’s recipes. Every week my mom and I spend hours recipe testing together. Not many people are as lucky as I am, where they can spend so many hours a week with their family. I’m grateful to spend so much time with my family, especially my dad, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2019.
What are your strategies to make room for who and what matters most?
It can get overwhelming when you turn your passion into your full-time job. There are often times when I will workdays and not even have a day off because I don’t even realize I am working. Having a good work-life balance is important, so you don’t burn out! I am a big fan of time blocking; this way, when I am off, I can give my full attention to those I love, including myself!
How do you reduce or mitigate stress?
Funny enough, for me, it is going back to my passion — food. Whenever work gets overwhelming, I remind myself why I started in the first place. I turn off my social media, take time off work, and re-focus on my passion. Whether it is going to a local restaurant to enjoy food or cooking up my favorite recipe just to enjoy.
I’m going to try a few of your tips, and I’m hopeful our readers will, too. Now it’s time for the big reveal — the moment our readers have been anticipating. What are your “five strategies to cultivate a large & engaged social media community?’ Please share a story or example for each.
I love sharing my tips and tricks on how to start a food blog I have a dedicated page on my website sharing step by step on how to start a food blog that makes money, along with my income report. But here are 5 quick tips:
- Knowing what social media platform to be on — In the world of social media, there are many options to showcase your recipes. There is Instagram, Tik Tok, YouTube, Pinterest, Facebook, Blogs, and much more! Every platform is a full-time job, don’t be on them all at once.
- Engage with your audience — I dedicate at least 2 hours of my day to replying to comments and messages. This is why it is important not to be on multiple platforms simultaneously when you first start! I genuinely believe that the best way to learn and improve is to get feedback from people who support you.
- Don’t focus on going VIRAL — believe it or not, my most viral videos are not recipes that are re-created the most! It is impossible to always keep up with the trends, stay true to yourself, and keep reminding yourself why you got started in the first place.
- Share BTS — people love YOU; therefore, sharing BTS is a great way to connect with your audience. I love sharing not only the final recipe but also the lead-up to the recipe. The hours of trial and error, getting their feedback on what type of recipes they want to see and inviting my audience to be part of the recipe creation. These are all ways to engage with your audiences.
- Working smarter — repurpose your content, for example, creating a short-form video and learning which platforms you can repurpose them on. By posting your short-form video beyond Tik Tok, you are now reaching another larger set of audiences.
What do you do to create a greater sense of connection and community among your fans?
Always answer every one of my comments within the first hour to engage with my audience, and I answer at least 80% of my DMs. I then spend 1–2 hours answering additional DMs and comments because I genuinely believe that the best way to learn and improve is to get feedback from people who support you.
As an influencer, you are, by definition, a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
Supporting local small businesses! I would love it if social media platforms and influencers provided more support to local small businesses. Similar to influencers, many small businesses also turned their passion into their full-time job.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world with whom you’d like to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He, she, or they might just see this. 🙂
I would love to meet David Chang. I love how he shares food and culture, honestly such an inspiration and positive impact on the food community.
What is the best way for our readers to further follow your work online?
Blogging Tips: https://tiffycooks.com/tiffycooks-blogging-guide/
Thank you for sharing your insights and predictions. We appreciate the gift of your time and wish you continued success and wellness.