To me, the best movies are ones that entertain as well as teach.

That’s how I felt about Jon Favreau’s new movie Chef.

Jon Favreau is a successful character actor and is probably most well-known as director of super hits Ironman 1 & 2, and Cowboys & Aliens.

Now, in his new movie Chef, he directs and stars as a down and out chef who is at a crossroads in his career. Frustration with his career causes him to lash out at a food critic, and thus begins this hilarious and heartwarming story (I suggest you don’t go see it hungry).

This is not a movie review

What I really wanted to tell you about is that this movie is also a brilliant crash course in what to do right (even if by accident) to get known, loved, and become a business winner through social media.

(Don’t worry, I won’t give away the ending).

The first lesson is:

1. Become buddy buddy with your kids who are 10 years old or younger. They get it.

In the movie, Carl Casper, (a.k.a Chef Carl Casper) hasn’t a clue about social media. In a fit of exasperation, he tells his 10-year-old son to “sign him up” on Twitter. His son makes up in social media savvy what he lacks in years.

2. Controversy sells. Clueless Carl is so ticked off by his bad restaurant review he sends off what he thinks is a private Twitter email to the food critic, “You wouldn’t know a good meal if it sat on your face.” Let the games begin……

3. Get someone with a mega-following to fight back with you. If you are in online repartee with a celeb or someone who has a mega-following (in this case the food critic had over 100K followers on Twitter), it rapidly generated over 1000 response tweets and retweets.

4. Be outrageous on camera and share it. There is an old advertising adage: “Any publicity, even bad publicity, is good for business.” Whether you agree or not, Jerry Springer and Dr. Phil have proven that people behaving badly ups the ratings. So it was in “Chef” when Carl goes ape on camera and it is shared across the web.

5. Tweet & post about topics people really hunger for. (Ugggh, excuse the pun) There are some topics people just love and are rabid about. Food is one of them – just look at how many successful cooking shows there are! So if you start posting about restaurants and foods, there’s a good chance people will pay attention. Plus hunger never goes out of style.

6. Pick a Twitter handle that has cache and intrigue. In the movie, Carl’s son tries to sign him up as @CarlCasper. Obviously that’s taken, but as fortune would have it @ChefCarlCasper is not. @ChefCarlCasper is so much more interesting, relevant, and you can’t get better alliteration for an extra dose of memorability.

I just checked – someone from Jon’s team registered @ChefCarlCasper – smart thinking.

7. Add Photos & Hashtags to build anticipation and a following. Carl’s boy Percy has all the angles covered when he starts taking photos and adds #locationhashtags to each stop of their culinary road trip. People at each stop are already fans.

8.Combine social media platforms that play off one another. Percy gets juiced when he sees Twitter pumping up their attention. He layers in Instagram, and then Facebook, and then starts piecing together 1-second videos on Vine for an irresistable “foodumentary.” The results are booming new business.

Would It Have Worked In Real Life?


None of these lessons is social media rocket science. What is important to realize is that “Chef” put all the ingredients for how to go viral on social media together in one cinematic bowl, stirred rigorously and with great humor, gave us a top rate recipe for social media success.

Take a few bites and see what works for you.

Yum.