The initial idea when Foodies and Spice started was to have a big television show modelled after the likes of Oprah Winfrey show, but Gina Ehikodi-Ojo soon realized it was going to be quite an expensive venture to launch into. Undeterred by the hurdles, she opted for an easier format because of her love for cooking.
Gina is the brainchild behind the Cook show, Foodies and Spice on television and social media platforms. The show takes viewers through fun cooking and eating in a fashion even a first time viewer will relish. When it first hit the screens in 2013, it immediately garnered amazing followership no food and travel show had attracted before in Nigeria.
‘’Food is a thing for me, I started cooking before I was nine years old, so why wait to achieve a big show when I can just cook and make it a show?’’ she said. The show launched October 2013 on a satellite channel and the style, format and creativity of the show made many resonate with it. ‘’It was great, acceptance from the first season was fantastic’’ she pointed out, ‘’Foodies and Spice became the second most-watched show every Saturday after Nollywood’’ she added.
She found this encouraging as she never envisaged that kind of acceptance. Gina is quick to attribute that feat to her use of social media. “From the beginning, I knew that social media would be some sort of booster’’ she revealed.
With the understanding that people are more on their phones than glued to their television, she took strategic steps in moving her fans from social media back to their TV screens. ‘’I was using Facebook to promote the show, giving them details of when and how they can watch it’’ she said.
From making just one minute videos on Facebook to promoting her cook show on a terrestrial channel, Foodies and Spice has grown into a show aired on eleven different channels with top-notch ratings. ’’I know that those watching my show on a particular channel are not the same people watching on another channel’’ Gina said.
With a Facebook community of over 185,000 followers, Gina says the reach has been incredible. ‘’We do like an average of two point seven million in reach monthly on Facebook’’ she revealed.
Consistently posting and telling food stories have also helped Foodies and Spice grow on Instagram. ‘’We got verified last year when we didn’t even have more than fifty thousand followers when people say that’s magic, I tell them no, we are putting in the work’’ she stated. The various tools and features available on these social media platforms have also made it possible for the brand to get instant feedback and know the kind of content the audience would like to see.
‘’You have to learn how to tell stories with your caption, you cannot just dump a post and let people look at it and leave, you must tell a story with your caption’’ she said.
Gina is convinced that sponsored ads on both Instagram and Facebook, collaboration, consistency and using great captions are strategies that have helped Foodies and Spice evolve from just a cook show to producing Food travel series and documentaries and also organizing very successful food events.
Watch her video interview on Dreamers&Doers now on tv.guardian.ng