Bren Herrera is a Washington D.C. private chef, lifestyle expert, and author of Modern Pressure Cooking. You may have seen her showing off her cooking skills on The Today Show with Carson Daly, Tamron Hall, Kathy Lee, and Hoda. She came into the social media world nine years ago with her blogs “Flanboyant Eats” and “B! So Chic.” Today you can find her giving her time to philanthropic causes such as No Kid Hungry and St. Judes, as well as traveling the world, and spending time with her family.
She shares her teachable moments for the next rising Latina who wants to build their lifestyle brand online.
HL: Which platforms have been the most helpful with building your brand?
BH: Believe it or not, Google + has been great for generating traffic, I’d have to say Instagram and Facebook have been the strongest platforms. I can tell a very clear story on those two mediums.
HL: What kind of opportunities have you received because of your social media presence and engagement?
BH: The scope of work I’ve done because of my presence on social media is quite diverse, but the digital influencer work with big brands, such as where I share and promote their product through personal engagement, is the most fruitful. Food, cooking and anything involving culinary takes the larger piece of the pie.
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Too bad salt bae on the line was an afterthought. An honor and a great time working in @salamanderresort kitchen with Chef @rarensdorf and his team for St. Jude's wine harvest event. Check out my Insta Story for behind-the-scenes. WEⱭRíNG: Metallic pleated skirt and sheer polkadot lace top: @zara Stilettos: @lamb Necklace via @saks
HL: What strategies have been the most effective for you in building an audience?
BH: Being consistent with your sharing and posting is key to building and more importantly, retaining an audience. If you take too long of a break, followers who don’t know you well, will go elsewhere. I’ve noticed that engagement changes when I share something that slightly deviates from my brand. My audience knows I cook and travel for a living, with a good base in fashion. Any major departure from that gets little love.
HL: What advice would you give someone who is looking to build their lifestyle brand on social media?
- Have a clear understanding of what message you want to present.
- Ask yourself “what is my purpose and what are my goals?” Then work on identifying the tools and assets that will help you to tell your story.
- Create a calendar to help you stay on track of when to post your content.
- Tell you story with passion, conviction, and authenticity. Even sponsored posts can have an authentic and inspiring appeal. Your audience will pick up your tone and continue to support you when they know it’s a paid campaign.
HL: How do you manage your online presence?
- I love my calendar for keeping an editorial calendar.
- For pre-scheduling my posts on Twitter and Instagram, I use Hootsuite, which allows me to manage several platforms all at once.
- I read a lot of expert articles, including from peers and colleagues, that provide and offer great insight on how each of the different platforms work.
- I’ve also found that the View Insights feature on Instagram is helpful with identifying which posts do better than others.
HL: You originally had B! So Chic and Flanboyant Eats as separate entities. Why did you decide to consolidate them under the Bren Herrera brand?
BH: I loved having those two brands and properties as separate entities but it got laborious and it started to become inefficient. As my brand presence grew, I was getting more brand collaborations and this was when I realized that housing everything under my name made the most sense. It helped me marry my two audiences into one and helped me tremendously consolidate my workload.
House of Bren is the big umbrella that curates the entirely lifestyle arms I work in. Ultimately, it makes my message much clearer to my existing and new audience as well as to potential brands looking for lifestyle influencers and brand ambassadors.
HL: What can we expect to see from your online brand in the next few months?
BH: I have a few things in the works that will occupy my time for the next 4-9 months. Long term, I’m working on a second cookbook title, mostly related to Cuban culture and cuisine, which won’t be in production until early next year.
I’m going on the second leg of my book tour for Modern Pressure Cooking, focusing on national broadcast. The regional TV spots did well but I’m super excited about doing the national circuit. I’ve also got an appearance on Food Network and Cooking Channel coming up which I’m really looking forward to seeing and sharing. It’s been under wraps for almost a year!