The “Digital Careers: Atlanta Food Bloggers” panel at the 2017 SOCM colloquium was a smash hit. The 7pm session was standing room only and the 8pm session was busier than I’ve ever seen a “late” breakout session.
Our panelists included Megan Roth and Kathleen Cone from Hungry Girls Do it Better, Morgan Bryant from Eat Here ATL, and Olivia Tuttle from Melissa Libby & Associated PR firm. These women have all worked together in virtual space, but had never met face-to-face before the event!
Our SOCM students were treated to a crash course in being an “Instagram Influencer” and the amount of dedication it takes to create a digital brand. Morgan encouraged them to “find your voice” and focus on a niche that they were passionate about; she wanted them to try new things as they search for something they love doing and noted, “You’re not learning unless you’re uncomfortable.” She also suggested that they create a logo for themselves and start using it everywhere. In fact, she turned her own logo into a sticker just like the Zagat guide, and now restaurants that are “Eat Here ATL-approved” display her sticker in their windows!
Megan and Kathleen advised the students on the importance of networking and persistence, and warned them that on their path, they’ll likely hear the word “no” a lot. For anyone looking to start an online brand like Hungry Girls Do it Better, they suggested spending a lot of time on social media sites (especially Instagram), searching geotags in your area, and “liking” everything to get yourself noticed. Eventually those other accounts will follow you!
Olivia had an interesting perspective as she’s coming from the Public Relations side; her job is to work with clients and then reach out to influencers like Morgan, Megan, and Kathleen to have them attend events for her clients and post on social media. She, along with the other panelists, noted that clients seem to be asking for more video promotion and she stressed that videography skills are going to be quite important in the future for online influencers. Olivia also told the students about her own experience looking for a job right out of college, and encouraged them to ask professionals on “informational interviews” over coffee to get a better idea of what the industry was looking for in applicants. When asked for any advice she could give the students, she left them with this: “always be kind.” The industry is smaller than you realize and the last thing you want to do is burn bridges.
Overall, it was a great evening and once the session closed the students all ran up to the table to chat with the panelists. And just today I heard that one of our students even landed an internship with one of the panelists as a result of their discussion after the event. All in all, a very successful colloquium!
Posted: September 22, 2017