Rachael Ray's chief digital officer (aka her social media guru) shares tips and tricks for making your social feeds shine.

Photography by Emma McIntyre
| Credit: Photography by Emma McIntyre

In the decade-plus since Joanna started her career as an intern on the Rachael Ray Show, she went on to oversee the digital content strategies for Food Network Canada, manage culinary studio production for Tastemade, author her own cookbook, co-create viral sensation Tiny Kitchen,and produce award-winning content for Vogue, Snapchat and Apple TV. "But, I've got to say, there's nothing like coming home!" the acclaimed writer and producer laughs, as she talks about returning to the Rachael Ray team after her vocational walkabout. "I got my start with Rachael; learned from the best team in the business how to work hard, be nice, and get more done in a single day than most do in a month. That's Rachael's work ethic, and it radiates from every member of her team."

Coming full circle in her new-ish role as Rachael Ray's chief digital officer, Jo ("Joanna feels like it should be reserved for my business card... and I don't carry any!") works closely with Rach on all her social and digital projects, like Rach's Instagram recipe video series, a shop-able Amazon video series, and Rachael Ray's Yum-o! Cooking Camp—a free, virtual, 16-day event that was developed and launched in a matter of a few weeks this summer to help families across the country (and world!) stay busy, focused, and learning as summer programs were shuttered due to Covid-19.

Now, Jo's sharing her top tips and tricks for optimizing your social feeds, because "everyone's making their own content from home these days—even Rachael!"

Don’t add noise; add value

"There's a lot of content out there, so don't feel the need to post for the sake of posting," Jo says. "Quality over quantity is best." Before posting, ask yourself: Can this be a resource for people? Are you introducing your followers to something new and great? Would this brighten someone's day? If you you can answer yes to one of those questions, you're adding value. If not, it might just be noise. 

Natural light is always right

You don't need a fancy lighting kit to get a great pic, no matter what you're snapping photos of—your food, your pet, or yourself. "Just set up beside a window and you'll have all the glam, drama and #nofilter filtering you need for the perfect shot," Jo says.

Play with cropping and framing

Sometimes an entirely new story can be told within your images when you play around with your zooming, rotating, and cropping functions. "When shooting food, I always take one overhead wide shot of dishes, a few where the borders of a dish are cut off, and, because I'm very into "full-bleed" images these days, a few images where I zoom in super-tight and feature close-up perspectives of dishes that show off more of the detail, grit, and beauty," Jo says. 

Remember, your feed represents YOU!

"Rach treats her social feeds like her personal scrapbook," Jo says. "I often use mine to remember my favorite places (thank you, location tags!). If your feed is curated for you first, then the content you share will be authentic, you'll take more pride in what you're putting up, and all of that will better resonate with your following."

Collaboration is key

If growing your following is the goal, tag and reshare content from like-minded accounts. "There's a reason why they call it 'social' media: We're meant to be interacting with each other!" Jo says. This is a great and organic way to attract new eyes to your account and grow your audience. Just make sure you always give credit where credit is due! 

Want more inspo? Follow @jogryfe and @rachaelray on Instagram!