About Diva Foodies
We are serving social!
No, we’re not chefs but we do have a passion for the social media/digital food world. Since 2004, we have been working with companies, including food brands, to provide digital and social media guidance and execution. Diva Foodies also hosts #FOODTVChat, the only Twitter chat that brings reality food TV chefs, contestants, hosts and their passionate audiences together Thursday nights at 7PM Eastern.
Diva Foodies supports the social business aspect of the food industry including: food entrepreneurs aka foodpreneurs, chefs, catering, cookbook authors, digital food networks and publishers. We’ve created customizable services and package like our Super Digital Hero Chef programs that give you a competitive advantage and get you heard in the noisy social food web. Ask us about our program Social Media In Real Time created especially for Reality Food TV Programs.
About Marianne Richmond and Toby Bloomberg, Founders Diva Foodies
Instead of posting boring bios we thought it would be fun to interview each other. Since people like to do business with people they know, trust and like we collaborated in creating an interview that we hope will help you get to know us a little better.
Q: When and why did you jump into social media?
Marianne: It was a leap of faith! I was doing some research for a consulting project in 2004 on “emerging” media and an article I was reading referenced a blog. I didn’t know much about blogs at the time other than a little remembered presidential candidate named Howard Dean was using one. I was unable to find the blog I was looking for but I “discovered” a whole new world that at the time was called “the blogosphere” and now is simply our collective ability to connect, share and influence across multiple channels 24/7. At the time, I thought social media had the potential to change the world and it has…beyond anyone’s’ imagination!
Toby: My adventure in social media began when social media was called ‘blogging.’ In 2004, I launched Diva Marketing Blog because a friend told me I could not talk about blogs in marketing workshops unless I was actively participating. My thoughts were … I had a website what did I need with a blog? Turns out my friend was right. In order to truly understand the community interaction in social media you have to be involved. Social media is the missing link that connects brands with customers. By the way, Diva Marketing is still running and has won several awards; it was even acknowledged by Forbes as one of the best blogs on social and marketing by a woman.
Q: Why enter the competitive social media food business world?
Marianne: Well, I am passionate about food and passionate about social media so it is a natural fit. Plus, I don’t think we have even begun to tap the potential for social media in the food business. Innovation and creativity are no longer confined to the kitchen and that is very exciting.
Toby: Two of my passions are social media and food also. Guess that’s why we’re doing this one together Marianne! One summer I spent testing cheesecake recipes. My friends threaten to make me buy them gym memberships. For the most part, we’re finding food businesses are struggling with how to blend digital into their culture and customer communications. It’s easy to tweet an update about your menu or new show but turning customers or viewers into digital raving fans is more difficult. We want to help bridge that gap.
Q: What do you bring to dinner?
Marianne: If you are asking me what I bring when someone invites me to dinner, I typically bring wine and/or dessert! If you are asking metaphorically about what I bring to the Diva Foodies’ table, I would say, a proven track record of identifying and transforming insights into campaigns and marketing plans that connect brands and customers across all of the channels, platforms and touchpoints of the consumer decision journey and the love of a well designed and executed meal.
Toby: Great answer to a confusing question Marianne! Now I guess I follow your lead and answer both ways. Usually I’m asked to bring a dessert. I know this goes against the rules but I often try out new recipes. Then to make sure there is something I know will be yummy I make a tried and true. As for the Diva Foodies’ table, I bring tried and true experiences in social media and digital marketing. I believe that social should be accountability for achieving business goals not just a nice to have or feel good tactic. As long as what we’re doing is aligned with brands values, I like to color outside the lines adding an unexpected spice or two to a campaign.
Q: A little about your background
Marianne: Born and raised in St. Louis Missouri. I worked in marketing for Fortune 500 food companies and ad agencies in New York, Pittsburgh, and New Jersey before returning to St. Louis and starting a marketing consulting company. In 2004, I re-launched my consulting company to focus on social and digital media. In the meantime, I raised two sons who request frequent delivery of homemade baked goods.
Toby: I’m a native from Boston who is living in the South with my YouTube rock star Westie Max. I grew up in a family marketing research business so I well understand the demands that small business hold. My love of cooking began when I was a little girl baking challah with my grandma. My dad took me into the world of exploring new foods through the neighborhoods of Boston. After 15-years running a social media/interactive marketing consulting business, I accepted a position heading corporate social media for a large traditional media company. In 2014, I re-launched my business to focus on lifestyle, news, entertainment companies.
Q: What is your favorite kitchen tool?
Marianne: My imagination. My earliest years in the kitchen were spent following recipes that often were pretty basic and unimaginative. Today, with year round access to fresh ingredients of every variety, cooking has become a creative process that is limited only by the imagination.
Toby: Love my microplane zester. Wine sommeliers will shake their heads but an electric wine bottle opener comes in a close second.
Q: What do you enjoy doing most in your own kitchen?
Marianne: Cooking is really about people. You have a vision about how what you are cooking is going to turn out but beyond that is the vision of what the experience is going to be when everyone sits down to eat. So, the process of cooking and creating is fun, but what is most enjoyable is thinking about, if you will, the fruits of your labor….how it’s going to turn out and how happy everyone is going to be when they taste it.
Toby: Long before the Food Network show Chopped, I liked to create meals, not using any recipes, from what I had in the fridge and pantry. It’s fun how creative you can get. Sometimes it works and others not so much. I also love baking winter holiday cookies while listening to Christmas music and sipping on a lovely wine. I agree with you Marianne. It’s all about the people; it doesn’t matter if you are sharing a gourmet meal or simple sugar cookies. It’s giving a bit of yourself to your family and friends.
Diva Foodies The Blog
For us, food is personal. Food creates memories. Food opens the door to memories. Food brings people together. On the Diva Food blog we’ll share with you our passion for all things (digital) food, from Foodies News, Foodie Reviews to topics like Food Porn, Fooodie Tips, our favorite food video channels, fun videos, interviews with chefs, cookbook authors, Diva Foodies Kid Chefs and of course a few recipes. For the social business aspects of food be sure to check out Food Social Media where you’ll find case studies, interesting campaigns and strategies. Check out our special ‘no calories’ Valentine’s Day free ebook. Along the way we’ll bring in some special guest bloggers. We invite you to join us in our diva foodies adventure!
We’re looking forward to learning more about your business and how we can help you integrate an accountable social media program into your customer communication strategy. Customized Services | Super Digital Hero Chef Packages remember, the first 30 minutes is on us!