How a mistake turned into an opportunity
Martha Latu - one half of the personal assistant team talks about the creation of her Facebook page, "Ma's Kitchen" and how it all began.
For roughly two years now I have had a Facebook page where i cook and show people what I have cooked. It generally serves no real purpose but to educate others.
The creation of this page comes off the back of years of peer pressure from my sister-in-law, Cherie, who was based in Hamilton at the time. She would watch in fascination as I would cook and she saw value in my skills and the techniques I used to create what ever dishes I was making. On top of that, I constantly had friends or whanau texting me for insight as to how to cook certain foods or meals. I saw these meals as basic and nothing extraordinary and actually felt shy sharing my "skills" with others.
With this is mind, on one particular night I had made one of my favourite dishes for dinner - chicken noodle soup and I had posted it on my personal page. Within minutes I had people wanting the recipe and rather than write it down for their convenience, I thought I would just record a quick video, upload it to a private page and invite who I wanted to watch it.
So there I am - in my pyjamas (I believe I was also sick - hence the soulful soup) and I'm talking to my IPhone which is propped against the wall recording me. It's a non-eventful video and I don't even attempt to edit it - I just upload it straightaway to this private Facebook page I have created.
Job well done and feeling pretty good with myself I put the phone away and think nothing of it for a couple of hours. When I check back in I see that I have 21 new followers! This is pretty much the point where I go in to panic mode and wonder how it is possible that people can access my private cooking page! Turns out, my settings were incorrect and now THE PUBLIC were able to view my page and subsequent video! I was mortified, but now, I felt an obligation to my followers. That is how Ma's Kitchen was created - by an at home Mum with minimal knowledge of social media who just wanted to share what I had created at home with a select few people. Now I have 5,500 followers and Ma's Kitchen just keeps generating new followers.
It began as a hobby really - I have to cook for my family each night, so how about I share with others what I am cooking each night? It felt like an addition to something that I was already doing, so I didn't feel like I was going out of my way to make the videos. I also wasn't editing any of them either and I think that is how the "she'll be right" feel has come about through the videos - I don't try to be something I'm not because it was important to me that I was relatable.
I have roped in my kids to be cameramen or taste testers for Ma's kitchen and I have also enticed a few friends and family to cook or appear on camera with me. I could not have foreseen the growth that Ma's Kitchen following has gained - so I am obviously doing something right that people like to see.
I have no cooking "style" really - I cook according to whatever restrictions I have. Usually it is cooking within a tight budget, meals that are suited to my children's palate while trying to find new ways of getting vegetables into their diet. There have been odd occasions where I have been lucky enough to receive free seafood or meat from people, in which case I make a special meal - but generally it is just basic meals using basic ingredients.
A by-product of the creation of Ma's Kitchen is I now have confidence in front of the camera and have learnt some new skills with regards to social media. Let's see where Ma's Kitchen goes from here.........watch this space.