Last night proved a very interesting meeting of the Galway marketing group Online Marketing in Galway (OMiG) at the Harbour Hotel Galway. There were two speakers for the event, PR & Marketing Consultant Olivia Collins (www.foodpr.ie and @missfoodpr) and JP McMahon (@mistereatgalway), Chef and owner of a series of Galway restaurants, Cava Bodega, Anair and Eat Gastropub.
Galway Restauranteur JP McMahon
JP McMahon spoke about the way he interacts with social media, not seeing it as a distraction from his day to day activities but as a way he interacts with peers in his industry from the world over. JP advocates, and I must agree, that social media use should be integrated with your normal day and not separated. Asked how to motivate yourself into starting with something like Twitter he recommended auto-posting from other social media and checking in with it via Twitter once a day to begin. Forming habits like this and engaging little by little allows you to begin to understand the medium and start engaging in the conversations over time.
JP also explained how he's found Instagram more engaging for North Americans, Facebook more local and Twitter somewhere in-between. Though it's difficult and not expected of you master them all, trying the more common ones out and seeing what works well for you is a good strategy to move forward with. Whether you naturally use these tools programatically on a schedule or, more organically as you feel like it, JP says that not using or not liking these tools is tantamount to declaring you don't like advertising your business.
Having conversations via Twitter has allowed JP to cultivate relationships with chefs and peers he may not otherwise have access to, certainly not without significantly more effort in communications. He says, if you are interesting enough and avid enough, you can turn the tide against larger competitiors by representing yourself in social media.
Food PR by Olivia Collins
Olivia delivered a lot of useful information and top tips about effective PR, illustrated with examples from her work with food businesses. Her talk kicked off with a series of quick cheats on writing better press releases than your competitors. Stick to the facts, avoid superlatives and fluffy language, use a quotation, display contact details and end it there. For images, display a few low resolution ones and either add a dropbox/wetransfer link to high resolution or state they are available on demand. Avoid sounding like a teenage girl and stay away from the exclamation marks, read the release out loud to assess the way the text flows and don't quote more than two people. Olivia recommended that the notes to the editor section, also referred to as the boilerplate, can be used for excess information not entirely relevant to the story but relevent to the company such as company background information.
Tips on media from Olivia included advice on getting to know the top tier media in your area. Learn their style and connect with them on social networks. Offering exclusivity rather than blasting a story to all can be an efffective way to break through. Olivia explained that option is a call you must make, based on the suitability of the story to your top tier media contacts.
After offering some superb insight from media professionals on how to approach them and make their job easier, Olivia spoke about how social media has changed the PR landscape allowing a direct line of conversation, and solving the age old problem of dead content - on social media the story can be repurposed, reinvented and reshared. Another top tip from the night - reposting with the message 'In case you missed it' has delivered results for Olivia more than once.
If you work in online marketing, social media or are in business in Galway, drop into one of the monthly meet-ups. It's an evening well spent. See www.galwaymarketing.ie
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