In episode 497, Lexi Harrison teaches us the latest strategy to grow on Instagram and TikTok and how to generate a lot of audience engagement.

We cover information about Lexi’s new social media growth strategy to help you improve your Instagram and TikTok engagement using hooks, voiceovers and captions.

Listen on the player below or on iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast player. Or scroll down to read a full transcript.

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Guest Details

Connect with Crowded Kitchen
Website | Instagram | Facebook

Bio Lexi and Beth are the mother-daughter duo behind Crowded Kitchen, a (mostly) vegetarian food blog. In addition to creating recipes, photography and videography for Crowded Kitchen’s social media and website, Lexi and Beth also create freelance content for many food and beverage brands.


  • Post a Series to Build an Audience: Posting a series of related content on Instagram and TikTok encourages people to follow your account for more.
  • Leverage Facebook for content distribution: Leverage your content via Facebook, especially now that there is the ability to post reels.
  • Casual Setup and Filming: Avoid overstylizing your shots and use an iPhone for filming.
  • Longer Form Content for TikTok: TikTok strategy includes using longer videos to qualify for the creator fund (i.e. monetization).
  • Variable Posting Frequency: The frequency with which you post can vary without it necessarily affecting your views (e.g. daily, weekly, bi-weekly etc.).
  • Caption This: Detailed captions on Instagram Reels are emphasized for audience engagement.
  • Your Voice = Engagement: Voiceovers are crucial for engagement, especially on TikTok.
  • Showing Your Face: Showing one’s face is not necessary for content success; Lexi suggests you focus instead on compelling hooks.
  • Practice, Practice, Practice: Experiment with different hooks to capture audience attention and drive engagement.


Click for full script.

EBT497 – Lexi Harrison

Intro 00:00

Food bloggers. Hi, how are you today? Thank you so much for tuning in to the Eat Blog Talk podcast. This is the place for food bloggers to get information and inspiration to accelerate your blog’s growth and ultimately help you to achieve your freedom, whether that’s financial, personal, or professional. I’m Megan Porta. I have been a food blogger for 13 years, so I understand how isolating food blogging can be. I’m on a mission to motivate, inspire, and most importantly, let each and every food blogger, including you know that you are heard and supported. 

If you are out and about today or in your car, walking around, definitely give this episode a listen. But I think you’ll want to listen again when you have the ability to write some notes down. This is such a juicy episode about not just Instagram, but social media, including TikTok and Facebook, and how to grow on there in a really massive way. Lexi Harrison from Crowded Kitchen joins me inside this interview and she talks about a strategy that she and her mom, they blog together, and her husband is also part of their team. It’s a strategy that they all used to grow their Instagram account from 217,000 followers to somewhere around 800,000 followers in just a few months. They took the time to sit down and really study what was working on Instagram before they made a strategy for themselves, and they spent months perfecting the strategy until it just worked. This is really new stuff that I’ve never heard before. Lexi even warns us in the episode not to read articles about how to grow on Instagram because so much of those articles are outdated. Instead, experiment and observe and see what works. And you can start with the advice shared here in this episode and kind of build your strategy around that. I predict that this is going to be a top episode of 2024. It is so good and juicy. I hope you love it. It is episode number 497, sponsored by RankIQ.

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Megan Porta 03:41

Lexi and Beth are the mother-daughter duo behind Crowded Kitchen, a mostly vegetarian food blog. In addition to creating recipes, photography and videography for crowded kitchens, social media and website, Lexi and Beth also create freelance content for many food and beverage brands. 

Hello, Lexi, welcome back to the podcast. How are you today?

Lexi Harrison 04:02

Hi, I am doing well. Thank you so much for having me.

Megan Porta 04:05

Yeah, it’s been three years. We just checked and that seems crazy. So it’s good to talk to you again. We’re going to talk about just your social media growth, specifically Instagram today, and we’ll dig into TikTok and Facebook a little bit as well. But before we get into that, do you have another fun fact to share with us?

Lexi Harrison 04:23

So I’m hoping this isn’t the same one that I shared three years ago, but it might be, but that’s okay. It’s probably, you know, yeah, it’s been three years. It’s been a while. So my fun fact is that my family hosted seven exchange students over the years. So every year when I was, well not every year, but most years when I was growing up, we had someone living with us for about a year and it was a really cool experience for me growing up and I have seven sisters living all around the world now, so that’s, that’s my big fun fact.

Megan Porta 04:52

Do you stay in touch with all or most of them?

Lexi Harrison 04:54

Most of them. A couple of them came to my wedding a few years ago and I, you know, some of them were here when I was in first, second grade, so those ones I don’t keep in touch with quite as much. But a few of them were here when I was in high school, so we’re closer to the same age, which is really nice because you know, they’re, they’re really like my sisters. So it’s, it’s been very cool.

Megan Porta 05:14

Aw, that is so awesome. I love that. Yeah, just like extra sister you get now, right?

Lexi Harrison 05:19

Yes, definitely.

Megan Porta 05:20

And they’re all girls?

Lexi Harrison 05:21

Yes, yes. Oh wow. All girls, which is nice because I have two brothers, so it’s nice to have a sister in the house.

Megan Porta 05:27

Oh my gosh, that’s perfect. I love that so much. Yeah, okay. I don’t think that, I don’t remember that so I don’t think that was your other fun fact.

Lexi Harrison 05:34

Alright, that’s good.

Megan Porta 05:35

Okay, so to preface our conversation today, would you mind just telling us a little bit about your blog?

Lexi Harrison 05:42

Yes. So Crowded Kitchen, we launched in 2017. We actually had an Instagram account I think starting in late 2015 when I was still in college. Back then we were a super food runner because I ran track and cross country in college and I co-founded Crowded Kitchen with my mom. We have pretty much always worked together since I think pretty much like three months into starting my Instagram, we started working together and I moved to New York for one year after graduation and then we decided to take Crowded Kitchen full-time. So I moved back here to Michigan and now my mom and I work full-time and my husband also joined the team back in, it must have been 2021, I think it’s been a couple years now. And yeah, we you know, we specialize in social media content. We have our website came along much later usually, you know, I think most people start with a blog and then move to social media. We were kind of the opposite. And we also do quite a bit of content creation, freelance work for other brands, so we’re constantly doing photography and videography and now social media content as well. So yeah, kind of all over the place, you know.

Megan Porta 06:53

I like how your story is a little bit backward. I mean, not backwards, but you know, like reversed from what the norm is in our industry. I always, I don’t know why, but I always love it when people start with Instagram and then they realize they should maybe start a blog and it just seems kinda cool. So you have kind of figured out this new strategy recently within the past year, right? For Instagram?

Lexi Harrison 07:16

Oh yeah, just since May.

Megan Porta 07:17

Okay, so you were stuck at a certain number of followers and then you just decided, what did you think? Like, we have to try something different. What? Yeah. And was it you and your mom together? How did that go?

Lexi Harrison 07:30

Yeah, so we, I’m sure many people can identify with this. We’d grown a lot in on social media when we first started. I mean, you know, that was back in 2015, 2016. It was obviously a completely different place, completely different algorithm and we’d grown our account to a little over 200,000 and then we were completely stuck there at like, literally at the same exact number of followers for over two years I think. And that was, you know, this was basically 2020 through May of 2023 and we’d focused on some other stuff in the meantime, we really have been doing a lot of content creation for other brands. So that had been a really big part of our business and we were also working on our website a lot, but we just kind of got to the point this may where we were like, you know what? Other people are doing this, other people are going viral, you know, there has to be a way to do it. We got really stuck in the mindset of, oh, you know, I guess it’s just never going to happen. I guess the algorithm hates me. Like nothing that we do does, well, you know, even though we’re creating this content that we really believe in and we think is good quality, it’s just, it, it wasn’t getting seen by anyone and it was very, very frustrating. But my husband actually, who in the past has been done more so, you know, behind the scenes stuff, financial related, you know, all that kind of fun stuff. He decided to take a bigger role in our social media strategy. And so he honestly just spent probably like a full week basically just studying videos on Instagram and TikTok and trying to find some kind of common thread between them as to why, you know, the ones that were going viral as to why they were going viral, what were these different factors that were clearly making a difference for people. And then we tried to figure out how we could make that work for us. So we basically were just thinking about it for a little while and then we just dove right in and we came up with our new strategy, which obviously I’ll go into a lot more detail about that. And it, we were very fortunate. It worked immediately for us. Our first video with that strategy, I think it was over 6 million on Instagram, 6 million on TikTok and like 650 or something on Facebook. And pretty much since then it’s just been a steady stream of, of our content picking up on the algorithm. And we’ve grown our audience on Instagram almost to, so we were at 217,000 when we started this and now we are at 853, so we’re getting close to almost 650,000 new followers in the last seven or so months. And then we’ve gained I think about 375,000 on Facebook and maybe 260,000 or so on TikTok. So it’s really, and we’ve had, you know, several videos go super viral and it’s just impacted our business in so many different ways. And so my whole thing is, first of all, well there’s several things, but the first thing is that we’ve actually replicated this with two other clients. So we know that it’s not just a fluke. And we also, you know, we were in that mindset before of, you know, there’s nothing we can do about this algorithm. Nothing that we ever do is going to work, but we were able to make it work. So that means that anyone can do it, for sure. because We were stuck for two years. So that’s my, my big thing.

Megan Porta 10:55

Yeah, I think you’re right. A lot of us, if not most of us, can relate to that just being stuck no matter what the number like, for some people it’s 2000. For some people it might be even less for some people, you know, like you guys around 200,000. And that is so frustrating, right? Because then you just accept it. You’re like, okay, well I guess this is our lot in life. We are going to be this follower, this number of followers forever, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Lexi Harrison 11:23

Right? And even though we had 200,000 followers, you know, our posts were only getting 20,000 views or something. So it, you know, it was just, you know, you put in so much work and then to only have 20,000 people see it when you’ve built that following it, it’s, you know, and it’s same with somebody who has maybe 5,000 followers. If they’re only getting 800 views, it’s just, it’s very frustrating. We get it for sure.

Megan Porta 11:43

Yeah. Okay, so we’re all dying to know. What is your strategy? Tell us.

Lexi Harrison 11:48

So there are a lot of different factors to this, and I’m just going to preface this by saying that it’s definitely different for each person because since we started, you know, working on our own strategy, we’ve also been consulting for a good friend in the social media space and she’s also exploded in growth. And then we also started managing one of the brands that we do freelance content creation for. We started managing their social media in September and have also seen pretty crazy growth for them too, which for a brand I think is, is really, it’s, I mean, you know, it’s completely different for a food brand than it is for content creators. So, so it’s definitely been a completely different strategy for all three of these cases. But I’ll just kind of go into detail about our strategy specifically. And a lot of this has been refined over the last seven or so months. We, it took us probably five months to really figure out what our thing was. So that’s my first thing that I want to say is that everyone is going to have a different content strategy. Before we started doing this, you know, we would try to do, you know, these viral recipes and you know, see if, but those don’t work. Like, it just doesn’t work. Like you might get one hit where you get a couple million views, but at the end of the day, you need to be creating content that is unique to you and that is going to make somebody want to follow you. You know, if you’re just doing trends like everyone else is also doing trends. So that doesn’t give people an incentive to follow you or to really engage with your content. That’s not to say that it’s never a bad idea, but I think for like, if that’s your only strategy, I really don’t think that works. So our particular strategy, our particular niche over that we’ve realized over the last seven months, our thing is doing cool things with produce. So, you know, we figure that out through trial and error, like all of the best content that we’ve had has been related to produce. So we had this three ingredient mango sorbet that has like 56 million views on Instagram and some other, you know, a bunch more on TikTok and Facebook. We have these Parmesan-crusted Brussels sprouts that have I think close to 30 million. And really, so everything that we’ve done that’s done really well has been produce related. So that’s what we’ve realized is our thing. Another client that we consulted with her thing is Greek recipes. She’s Greek. So we you know, we consulted with her and we were like, what if you just really lean into your Greek heritage and you become the person to go to for Greek recipes? And that’s exactly what’s happened for her. The brand that we create content for the brand is very much, you know, it’s, it’s basically just like really easy, simple, low budget recipes and that’s been their thing. So it really is different for everyone. So I just want to preface this by saying that. Yeah, but then, you know, apart from the actual content strategy, there’s a, a bunch of different things that you can do right away with your actual videos that make a huge difference. So bear with me.

Megan Porta 14:45

We are bearing with you. Yes. We want to hear you.

Lexi Harrison 14:46

So the first thing is that I wouldn’t really trust most of the articles online that are telling you what you should be doing on Instagram and TikTok because a lot of them we’ve found have outdated advice. So anything about hashtags, we have not used a single hashtag on Instagram since we started this and clearly has not affected us. That said, I also see people that are using hashtags and they’re doing really well. You know, any of that traditional advice that we were trying to follow, none of it made a difference for us. And so I would say if you’re really looking to, to get more views, I, I really think the best way to do it is to just study other viral videos and, and see what, what’s going on there. So our first thing that we changed was the actual style of the videos and the style of the setup. We realized that a lot of the best performing videos have a little bit more of a lifestyle setup. So not, you know, before we were using our photography backdrops, it was kind of sterile and looked like a photography backdrop, especially when you’re using your iPhone. And we were seeing a lot of these videos, you know, they had like a plant in the background or like they were in it, somebody’s kitchen, a very like natural environment and much more casual. So we basically just set up our own little setup. It’s not that fancy, we just have a table that we use for shooting and we have some plants in the background and we put some other, you know, cute little props around, but it feels a little bit more homey than what we were doing before, which was just, you know, a white backdrop and something else behind it. So that’s the first thing, you know. The next thing I would say to focus on would be, you know, really figuring out the style of video and editing because it’s very different from if, you know, a lot of bloggers are doing hands in pans kind of videos for their website. And I see that sometimes still on social media too. And unfortunately that’s just not what does well and it’s really about these shortcuts. We only ever use our iPhone, which was really hard for me at first because I’m a photographer and videographer at heart. And so to do this really casual iPhone content was, you know, it feels like it’s, it’s just not what I want it to look like, but the reality is that’s what does well, so we’re very casual about how we film the content, but we are taking a bunch of different angles. So my husband does the filming, I do all of the actual cooking and the hand modeling, and he’s constantly changing the angle of the phone. So, you know, we’ll get one shot where we are, okay, starting to pour the broth or something into the pot, and then halfway through pouring he’ll say, stop. And then he’ll move the camera and then I’ll keep pouring and he’ll like do a slow zoom or something. And then, you know, it seems like a lot when you’re filming it, but you’re really only using like 0.8 second clips when you’re actually editing. So it’s really about having those quick clips, which at first seems like, can anybody even understand what’s going on in this video? But if, if you do it the right way, you can. And the idea is honestly to get, you know, people have short attention spans, like you need to get them hooked and you want them to watch it again. So it’s, you don’t want it to be so fast that they don’t know what’s going on, but you want it to be fast enough that they’ll watch it from start to finish and then maybe even start it again. So that’s really important and it definitely takes a little while to get used to that editing style. But again, I think just from watching other people’s content, it’s, it’s not too, too bad to figure out.

Megan Porta 18:20

How long are you, like how long is a typical reel for you guys?

Lexi Harrison 18:25

So it depends. We’ve found that probably our most successful ones are around 20 seconds. But you know, it, it varies because we did this series in December that was a recipe advent calendar. And so every single day, well from the first through the 24th, every single day we posted a new recipe. We took it out of our recipe admin calendar, it was a whole thing. And those videos because of the format ended up being probably closer to 40, 45 seconds and they still did well too. So I think it’s more about the type of content and about how it’s filmed and how it’s edited. You know, you can still fit many, many clips into a 42nd video. It’s really just about keeping people engaged and not having a five second pouring clip. You know, that’s not what people want to see. Like you don’t need to show pouring everything in, you can show pouring in the salt for 0.5 seconds and that’s enough to get the idea of what you’re doing.

Megan Porta 19:23

So kind of using intuition a little bit and just keeping up with what’s engaging and not like I have to stick it 20 seconds. It doesn’t have to be like that.

Lexi Harrison 19:32

No, it doesn’t. And some people, you know, you can do a five second video and that might get 10 million views. You know, it’s, it really is dependent on the content for sure. We’ve gotten a lot more lax about that as we’ve gone on because we’ve real, like at first I was like, oh no, if we post something longer than 20 seconds, it’s not going to do well. And that’s just not the case. And jumping actually to TikTok quickly, they are actually majorly prioritizing long form content. Now I think that they are trying to compete with YouTube for long form content to get more advertisers on there. And so if there’s a creator, what is it called? It’s called the creativity beta program. I think it’s different from the creator fund that they used to have, which they actually got rid of a couple months ago. And basically if you have, I think it’s over 10,000 followers and you post a video over 60 seconds, you make money from it. So that’s what we’ve been doing on TikTok and it has been doing very well. So that’s a completely different strategy and I can go into that more if that’s of interest. But our editing strategy on TikTok has definitely become a bit different than it is on Instagram.

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Megan Porta 21:56

If you have anything else about Instagram, can we cover that and then we’ll go back to TikTok?

Lexi Harrison 22:01

Yep. So there’s several other things, but I would say that the big other pillar that I think is really important, it doesn’t always, you don’t always have to do this, but I have found that the best way to build an audience, and especially to build a loyal audience, is to do some kind of series. So we, it is just a, it’s a great way to organize your content around something. And we’ve, we’ve noticed that our biggest boosts in followers have come from when we’re doing these series because people want to come back and they want to see the next recipe. So for example, we’ve done the advent, the recipe advent calendar series that gained us, I think like 150,000 followers just last month. And none of the videos did insanely well, but it was just, you know, people wanted to come back and, and see what, what we were going to post the next day. My friend who we advised who’s doing the Greek recipes, she’s been doing a Greek recipe series since I think like August maybe. She’s gained, I probably about 600,000 similar to us, basically. And that’s just from a couple of viral posts. So, you know, she’s not even having some that are going crazy, crazy viral, but she’s still gaining this incredible audience. So that is what I would say is really important for audience growth. It has to be something that makes sense for your content. And so when it comes to choosing what you should do for a series, you know, it, it takes a little bit of reflection to look at your content, see what has resonated in the past. And sometimes you can also look at what you have on your blog that’s done well for us. Our top performing posts on our website is a post about how to infuse alcohol with different fruits and spices, whatever. And so we did a series on that this summer. That was actually our first post that went viral and it was huge for us. A bunch of them got, you know, 5 million plus views and we gained a big following from that. So it’s really just about figuring out what makes sense for you. I think a lot of people are doing series now, but I don’t really think it’s oversaturated yet. I still think it’s a really great way to just organize your content and give people an idea of what you’re all about. And you don’t have to just stick to that. You know, you don’t, we’re, we did that advent series in December and obviously on the 24th it was over and we’re moving on and now we’re doing a salad series, but that’s also not all we’re doing. We’re doing one-off posts that are unrelated, because It’s important to do that too, but it’s just a, it’s a good idea to do something like that, to, to give your content some kind of theme. So that is something that I think is important for sure.

Megan Porta 24:39

So when you do the one-off posts, do you sprinkle them into the series or do you wait until the series is done?

Lexi Harrison 24:46

Yep, so you can sprinkle them in. You could run a series for a year and post once a month or once every two weeks. It does not have to be very frequent. They’re, I mean, I do not claim to know anything about the algorithm. I wouldn’t trust anyone saying anything about the algorithm unless they actually work at Instagram. But it does seem from, you know, from what we’ve seen on our profile that the, there’s something in the algorithm that, that knows when you’re posting a new episode on your series and it seems to bring people back. They just seem to pick up faster than our regular content. So don’t quote me on that one, but . But I do think that helps for sure, and we’ve noticed that on TikTok as well.

Megan Porta 25:30

Okay. So with the series, does it have to be a certain length? And then also how do you tease, like how do you let people know that you’re doing a series?

Lexi Harrison 25:38

So it does not have to be a certain length. We’ve done, you know, we’ve done a series that was the alcohol infusion one. I think we ended up doing maybe 16 or 17 episodes across four months. And the advent calendar was every day for 24 days. The salad one that we’re doing now, we’ll probably do about 10 over two months. So it really can vary. And then in turn, well, so it’s, people do it differently. Some people, if you’re really organized and you actually have all of your content filmed with, which is most definitely not us, you can do a cool teaser video where, you know, you’re just showing different clips of the recipes that you’re going to be sharing and you’re just explaining what the series is going to be about. I’ve seen some really cool ones like that, but if you’re really unorganized, like we are, you can just dive right in. We will just say welcome to episode one of our recipe advent calendar, a series where we’re going to be sharing, you know, new holiday, I can’t remember exactly what my wording was, but new holiday recipes that our family loves every day now until Christmas. And then you just dive right in and that’s where you can really use the caption to go more into detail.

Megan Porta 26:47

Okay. And then in each reel in the series, do you mention that it is part of a series, I’m assuming?

Lexi Harrison 26:53

Yes. Yeah, I will always say at some point I don’t necessarily always lead off with it because the hook is really important in the video, but usually by the second sentence I’ll say, welcome back to episode two of etcetera, etcetera.

Megan Porta 27:08

Cool. All right. Anything else about the series?

Lexi Harrison 27:12

Not about the series, but another really important thing that we’ve realized is that captions are very, very, very important. We write very long captions and we include our recipe in the caption, which is, I know that some bloggers have trouble with that because obviously they want to bring people to the website. But we have seen tremendous success by doing that because it, you know, it’s, it’s what people, that’s what’s leading to people saving your posts. And a lot of our posts actually have more saves than they do likes. And I, I genuinely believe that that’s what drives the algorithm because it’s, you know, showing Instagram that people value that content and that they want to come back to it. So again, like I don’t know if any of this is actually true with the algorithm, but another thing that I’ve heard is that hashtags are not super relevant anymore, but basically like writing a blog post, your caption has keywords and so you know, the more you write about the post and the recipe, the more keywords you’re getting in there and the more it’s getting picked up by the algorithm and showing your content. So that has been super, super important. You can look at our account if you want to see examples of what we do, we actually completely put our blog on the back burner from May till December of this year. because It was just too much to do everything, as I’m sure that’s as you Sure you understand. And, and then we actually did start posting our recipes on the blog as well in December. And now we’re a little bit kicking ourselves for not doing that the whole time because our blog traffic has gone up quite a lot, even though we do have them in the caption, you know, you, you’re never going to make everyone happy because half the people are like, I refuse to go to a website. Like, thank you so much for putting it in the caption. And then the other half are like, I need to print this recipe. Like, why is it on your website? So we’ve decided to start doing both. It’s a lot more work, but it just makes the most sense for sure. Yeah. But captions are everything and I really highly recommend putting at least the ingredient quantities in the caption if you don’t want to do the full recipe.

Megan Porta 29:18

Yeah. I think people are really divided on that topic, but I’ve heard the same as what you’re saying that people who do post or publish the recipes within the caption see that people are really happy about that and people engage more. Oh yeah. And they’re just like, okay, thank you, thank you for putting the recipe here.

Lexi Harrison 29:34

And for us it isn’t hurting our, I mean it’s, it’s only helping our traffic. I mean, we’ll see long term because we’re kind of going rogue on our SEO strategy, because you know, these recipes that we’re posting on Instagram are not e exactly SEO friendly. But we’ve just gotten to the point where we’re like, you know what? Our website, we started it so much later, we would have to put so much work into it to really have it pick up SEO and we’re still going to put in that work for keyword research and everything. But you know, this is, this could be huge for us too. You know, you have one video go super viral on social media and, and you could make 10 times what you’re usually making in a month on your website. So that’s our strategy for now. Obviously everyone is different and some people might not want to do that to the website . Right. But yeah, it’s just, I really do think caption is where it’s at.

Megan Porta 30:26

All right. Anything else with your Instagram strategy?

Lexi Harrison 30:29

There’s lots of other small things. Those are really the basic things. I, I would say do not neglect Facebook at all. We never posted on Facebook. I think we had like 4,000 followers or something. And you know, now that you can post reels on Facebook, that’s what we do. We just post our exact same content that we’re posting on Instagram. And I mean, we’ve seen even more growth there than we have on TikTok and you can monetize it, which is way better than Instagram. So definitely don’t ignore Facebook. I would say that’s important. And the only other thing I would say regarding TikTok is that it’s a little bit of a different strategy than Instagram and we’re still kind of trying to figure that out. So if you’re really ambitious, you could kind of have a, a completely different content strategy for each. But you know, even with this content that we’re doing now, it’s still a lot better than it was before.

Megan Porta 31:22

Okay, so what, you mentioned earlier that your TikTok strategy, you do longer videos, right? What else do you do differently?

Lexi Harrison 31:29

Yeah, so right now we’re really only, the only thing we’re doing differently is making the videos longer just because we want to monetize them. But, you know, I, I would like to focus a little bit more on a TikTok specific strategy. I know a lot of people don’t think it’s as valuable. We definitely don’t get as many we clicks from TikTok, but I mean, I don’t think that this creator fund thing is going anywhere and you can make some really good money from it. So for us it’s totally worth it to invest in putting a little bit more time into TikTok. And so I think going forward we’re probably going to try to do a little bit more content where we are, you know, where I’m like actually in my kitchen cooking something and talking to the camera versus just doing a voiceover. And we’ll just see how that goes. That’s another thing I forgot to mention. Voiceovers are super, super important. We always do a voiceover.

Megan Porta 32:21

And that’s all across the platforms.

Lexi Harrison 32:23

Yes. We don’t really do any trending music. I know some people do see success with that, but I just find it kind of hard to know what music you’re supposed to choose. I mean, I feel like there’s different ideas out there about if you’re supposed to do a song that’s like really trending or if you’re supposed to do one that only has like 50,000, listen, you know, I just dunno how that works.

Megan Porta 32:45

So that’s interesting. So you do voiceovers on all of your Instagram reels?

Lexi Harrison 32:49

Always. Oh, we’ve done a voiceover on every single video. We did one video without a voiceover and it totally tanked. Oh. And I noticed that as well on our, the brand account that we manage. Same thing. Wow. I think just because people, that’s what really draws people in. You know, you start with a great hook and you, you know, you really, it allows you to explain the recipe. It allows you to say where the recipe where people can find their recipe. It just allows you to have your own voice. And we, I am not a huge fan of being in my content in terms of my actual face. I’ve started doing it a little bit more because our agency says that we absolutely should do that for brand deals and such. But, and obviously it’s good to like put a name to a face, but I, I gotta say like I, I think a lot, I think that’s what’s holding a lot of people back. I think a lot of people think like, I really don’t want to be the face of this content and I’m absolutely the same way and I did not show my face until December of this year and it clearly did not impact us. So like you can do it without having to, you know, take a bite of the food and yeah, pretend to smile.

Megan Porta 33:58

Pretend to smile and be happy.

Lexi Harrison 34:01

Yeah. That is not necessary at all.

Megan Porta 34:03

Oh, that’s refreshing.

Lexi Harrison 34:04

If you want to really work with brands and you want to, you know, become more of an actual, you know, quote unquote influencer where you’re really influencing people to buy products and stuff, that’s more important for sure. But if you are really just wanting to get your content out there, it’s absolutely not necessary to be showing your face.

Megan Porta 34:24

Okay. I think a lot of people are going to give you a big hug for that because , I do hear this all the time, people get so hung up on this point, they don’t want to show themselves so they don’t do anything.

Lexi Harrison 34:34

Yep, exactly. And I get that for sure. I, I’m, I mean you should see me right now , I’m not video ready right now.

Megan Porta 34:41

Most of us aren’t at most times, I think.

Lexi Harrison 34:45


Megan Porta 34:46

Okay. So I have two follow up questions. So you’ve mentioned the hook a few times. What is a good example of a really compelling hook?

Lexi Harrison 34:54

Yep. So again, depends on the content for sure. If we’re doing a series, like I said, we almost always just start with, welcome to episode blank, blank, blank. But if it’s kind of a one-off post or if we’re just introducing something, I try to come up with something that’s a little more interesting and sometimes is a little bit more storytelling. So for example, our first video that went viral in May was this strawberry infused vodka. And so I led off, we, we made it for my wedding a few years ago. Like, we actually made that for our signature cocktails. So I led off with, when I got married a few years ago, we made a bunch of this strawberry infuse vodka, you know, for my wedding party or for my signature cocktail and blah, blah, blah, blah. And so that led to a lot of engagement because people were like, oh, so what were your signature cocktails for the wedding? Like, you know, oh that sounds so much fun. I want to do that for my wedding. So, you know, it’s not always easy to come up with something like that. That was pretty, that one was just like right there for me. That was an easy one. But if I don’t have something that’s that compelling, I’ll just lead off with something about how easy the recipe is. How many, you know, oh, you only need three ingredients to make this. Like, oh you don’t need to buy store-bought when you can just make this at home with three ingredients in 20 minutes. You know, that’s the type of thing that is going to interest people. And then also of course, you know, there’s different trending kind of ways to do things like the POV, you know, there’s all sorts of different ways that you can do it. And I, I think most people, like pretty much everyone has a little bit of a different strategy. Like some people will start every single video the same way and then people come to know that that’s their video. But we’ve tried a bunch of different things and a bunch of different things have worked for us and a bunch of different things haven’t worked for us. So it really just, it’s just trial and error, to be honest.

Megan Porta 36:46

You guys must do a ton of analyzing and just like evaluating what works and what doesn’t and then cross that off the list and that sort of thing.

Lexi Harrison 36:53

Oh yeah. And I will say like, coming up with content is not easy. I think that’s probably the most time consuming part of it for us. We’re really, really picky about what we decide to film. We’ll test stuff and if we, if we just have a feeling that it’s not right, we, even if the recipe is good, we, we just scratch it and, and don’t even worry about it. So you, you do have to be picky. For sure.

Megan Porta 37:17

And then what is the frequency of publishing on each platform?

Lexi Harrison 37:21

So when we first started, we stuck to three days a week, Monday, Wednesday, Friday usually. And we’ve realized since then that it really doesn’t matter that much. There are some weeks we’ve posted two times, some weeks we’ve posted one time, some weeks we post every single day, sometimes twice a day, like in December. And none of those things have really negatively impacted us, which is makes me feel so good because, you know, you get busy and you can only get one post up in a week and that’s fine. Like it doesn’t, you do not have to be posting every single day. And it’s the same for every platform. So that has been huge for us because before we were like, oh my God, like we, we don’t have a video for today. What are we going to do? Like let’s just post repost something from last year and that you want to, it’s much better to post less frequently and make sure that what you’re posting is really good.

Megan Porta 38:14

Okay. That’s refreshing too. Thank you. You’re taking all of these things off our shoulders. Lexi.

Lexi Harrison 38:19

I’m glad to hear it.

Megan Porta 38:20

And then repurposing, do you guys do any repurposing?

Lexi Harrison 38:23

We have not yet. We’re going to experiment with it a little bit when May comes around, because you know, we haven’t gotten through a full season of content. We really focus, we personally really focus on seasonality for our content, which makes sense since produce stuff typically does well for us. But we’re going to see how that does. So Okay. Keep you updated.

Megan Porta 38:42

Yeah, definitely. I know I just had a guest recently, Liz Douglas, she talked about Instagram, just kind of more the nitty gritty details of what she does. And it’s a little bit different than what you guys do, but one of the things she mentioned was that don’t be afraid to repurpose because Instagram will like pick something up that didn’t work before. So if something fails, don’t take that as, oh well that didn’t work. Like, try it again with different music or a voiceover or something and just experiment with that as well.

Lexi Harrison 39:12

Yeah. And also, I mean, you know, take something that does well and change it slightly and do it again. Yeah. You know, like we do that all the time. If something does well, we’re like, okay, what else can we do that’s either within the same flavor profile or you know, like we did these sorbets that went insane for us this summer. We’re like, all right, we’re doing six different sorbets, you know, why not like take what’s doing well for you. And I think that’s how people should start with this, start with their new strategy is take whatever has already done well for you. And even if it’s not viral, you know, if it’s done a lot better than your usual posts, like that’s a really good starting point and you’re going to find like 10 different strategies that could work for you. But it, you know, it’s really all about trial and error and yeah, like that, like Liz said, you know, just you, you just have to try different formats of content and not, you know, some people are going to be posting five second videos where they’re just showing the finished product and that’s going to do really well for them. That doesn’t do well for us, but that’s doing well for some people. So it’s really just about figuring out what works for you.

Megan Porta 40:19

Yeah. And do you take any of these videos and put them on Pinterest?

Lexi Harrison 40:23

I have been experimenting a little bit. I struggle with Pinterest, I’m not going to lie. We have had one that has gone pretty viral on Pinterest, which is nice. So, but I honestly just have not been able to dedicate much time to an actual strategy there yet. Yeah. And same, same with YouTube shorts. I have been posting them there, but I think it’s a little bit of a different strategy there. So I just I haven’t even delved into that yet.

Megan Porta 40:50

Well, it sounds like you’re doing enough so you have grace with yourself.

Lexi Harrison 40:54

Yes. There’s always a million.

Megan Porta 40:55

Yes, I know. Is there anything we’ve forgotten about Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, or any other socials that you want to mention?

Lexi Harrison 41:02

I think I covered all of the really big things, but like I said, there’s probably 20 small things that I forgot to cover. But yeah, I mean, if anyone ever has any questions or anything, my DMs are always open.

Megan Porta 41:16

Well, I know I’m going to go check out your account. It’s been a while since I’ve looked at your account, but definitely going to do that today. I’m curious now, but thank you. I just want to say thank you so much for sharing this and for being willing to just yeah. Share your information and what you’ve learned. I know you guys have put a lot of effort and time into learning this. We just appreciate your sharing it today.

Lexi Harrison 41:39

No, it’s my pleasure. And you know, we are kind of tossing around the idea of, of working on a course if, if people are interested. It’s obviously a lot of work to do that, so I’m not sure if it’ll actually materialize, but we do also do some consulting. So yeah, if there’s anyone out there that’s interested, feel free to send me an email or, or anything, because I, I just, I think it’s important to share this stuff. Like, we didn’t know what we were doing before we started doing this, and we’re always learning.

Megan Porta 42:06

I so agree and I love that. Do you have either a favorite quote or words of inspiration to leave us with Lexi?

Lexi Harrison 42:12

I’m really bad at memorization, so I don’t have an exact quote, but , I will just say that my kind of mantra that I go by all the time is just, you know, it’s all about the small efforts every day. So even with this journey that we’ve had with social media, there are definitely days and weeks where content absolutely bombs. And it’s obviously disappointing, but you just have to keep trying different things. And if you just, you know, apply these strategies and keep working at it, it’s going to work out for you eventually for sure. So you just gotta try to stay positive and, you know, stay motivated.

Megan Porta 42:48

I love that. Thank you for saying that. We’ll put together a show notes page for you, Lexi. If anyone wants to go look at those, head to And why don’t you tell everyone again where they can find you, Lexi?

Lexi Harrison 43:02

Yep. So we are @Crowded_Kitchen on Instagram, @CrowdedKitchen on TikTok and Facebook and

Megan Porta 43:10

Thank you again so much. And thank you for listening food bloggers. I will see you in the next episode. 

Outro 43:17

Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Eat Blog Talk. Please share this episode with a friend who would benefit from tuning in. I will see you next time.

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