Dietician Catherine Perez’s viral recipe reels grow her brand’s community on Instagram
At first, vegan dietician Catherine Perez (@plantbasedrd) posted recipes to Instagram to show her clients visual examples of how to prepare tasty plant-based meals. “My account slowly started gaining traction outside of just the clients I was seeing and people kept asking to see more recipe inspiration,” Perez shares.Now she inspires 527,000 fans on Instagram with viral recipe reels that generate millions of views.
Watch Perez’s 5 steps to create engaging recipe reels for your business:
With her easy-to-follow demonstrations for making cinnamon buns, burrito bowls and more, Perez has turned a passion for teaching people about plant-based nutrition into a loyal community on Instagram.Read on to learn how Catherine developed her winning Reels strategy.
How do Reels fit into your holistic social media strategy for @plantbasedrd?
Reels are my tool for education, so it’s a big part of my strategy. They make it easier to expand on my nutrition messaging. My video shows the recipe-making process to grab my audience’s attention, and the voiceover explains the “why” behind a recipe. “How will this recipe help someone?” “What about this recipe is nourishing?” I also share extra details in my captions to further express these points.
What’s been the most exciting recipe to make a reel for and why?
I am very proud of a recent reel I did about tofu marinades. The concept was designed to help people get out of flavoring ruts. Coming up with all the flavors was so fun, and I remember doing the pour shot of each marinade over the tofu and feeling a lot of pride that I didn’t spill any of it on the table. This recipe helped me also shed light on the benefits and versatility of tofu.
How did @plantbasedrd’s social media creation process evolve over time?
I started taking Instagram more seriously around 2017. My strategy then was taking photos on my phone with not-so-great lighting and posting what I was eating for breakfast and dinner everyday. As time went on, I started focusing on recipe creation. This also got me into learning better photo techniques, like how to style a plate of food to make it look appealing. Over time, videos started popping up on my feed, so my creation process changed again. While I had never recorded a recipe video in my life, I took on the challenge. For inspiration, I watched other creators' videos and applied the photo principles I learned to video creation.
What kind of work goes into making a reel before you ever start filming?
It starts with writing down a recipe draft and then testing it multiple times. It can take anywhere from 1 to 6 attempts. (I’m a perfectionist, so I can’t help myself there.) Then I’ll plan the shoot day and shop for anything I need for the recipe. I’ll visualize how I want the video to look in my mind, especially the end shot because that is often my hook for the video. I’ll note and draw pictures of how I want to plate my food on camera. I also take stock of the cooking equipment I will use in the video to make sure everything is in order before filming.
How has your audience responded to your reels?
Better than I could imagine. The fact that they engage with my content is always a good sign that I’m on the right path. They are my inspiration, so I do my best to communicate and engage with my audience, because I want them to be part of the process. I value this relationship, and they have helped me grow as a person tremendously.
What’s your advice for accounts just getting started making their first reels?
Ready to level up your content? Here’s everything you need to know to create great reels.