A letter to HoCo Food Bloggers (& those blog-curious)

This blog post probably isn’t for you. The information here is mostly aimed at food bloggers in Howard County, Maryland. Here’s an update on the social media, food blogging scene in HoCo.

Whether you are or aren’t a HoCoFood blogger, if you’d like more information about the gathering energy and awesomeness of this group of people blogging/tweeting/gramming about food, send an email to hocofoodies@gmail.com saying you’re interested.

Howard County food bloggers Pinterest board

Elizabeth at Three Beans on a String has created a Howard County Food Bloggers Board. For an invite, bloggers should go to  http://www.pinterest.com/3beansonastring/, follow her boards, and then leave a comment asking for an invite. (Pinterest requires a follow on boards in order to send an invite.)

HoCo food bloggers gathering

Seems there might be interest for a gathering of food bloggers to begin. We can provide email addresses for someone who’d like to start this up. Where you go from here … your call. We have 41 food bloggers in our database; not all are active, though many are. And there are probably 141+ more food bloggers in Howard County that we’ve yet to find.

HoCoFood on Facebook

There’s a HoCoFood page on Facebook that is a good place for food news for bloggers, restaurants and more. Facebook page analytics aren’t the best anymore but Facebook pages are GREAT for adding as a widget to your page. This FB page needs a person (a couple/few people) to give it some care and attention. I promise that there will be a way for this to get more eyeballs in the coming months!

@HoCoFood on Twitter needs some TLC

We started a @HoCoFood Twitter account that could use some love and TLC. The account currently follows all of the hoco restaurants we could find and some of the food bloggers. Interested in taking this on? It’s a project that could take 30 minutes a day or less to scan and RT tweets, to follow new restaurants and food bloggers and to announce hoco food-related events (hopefully, mostly done as RTs).

A list of local restaurants on Twitter

If you’re on Twitter, you probably know you can set up columns of tweets, e.g. in Tweetdeck and Hootsuite, to pull specific data out of Twitter. You can subscribe to and/or follow a list of Howard County restaurants, and you can follow #HoCoFood on Twitter. Perhaps someone has an interest in creating a Twitter list of HoCoFood bloggers; we can provide some starting information if you do.

HowChow’s hoco food blogger list

Are you listed on HowChow’s link list of hoco food bloggers? You’ll find it at the top in the far right column.

Guest post on HowChow’s blog

Got some local tips, some interesting perspective on the local food scene. Check in with HowChow to see if you can write a post. He gets great traffic on his blog and the notoriety of writing there may help bring some more readers to your site. (Even if you’re not yet an official food blogger, consider guest posting on HowChow’s site. Good local content is good local content.) Some recent examples —

Share restaurant news tips with HowChow

You may want to break HoCo restaurant news on your own site. That’s cool. Consider, too, sharing tips with HowChow. We keep HowChow’s email (howchowblog@gmail.com) in our phone and snap photos of “opening soon” and other news tidbits that we find when driving about that he can then share with his hocofood-focused readers.

Share local food source tips with Annie Rie

For locally sourced food, farms, CSAs and more, Annie Rie is a blessing to our community with her many posts and her locavore resources page. Whether you have a tip or write a post about local food, consider sharing it with her so that she can keep her locavore list as current and robust as possible.

#HoCoFood and #HoCoCooks

Hashtags. A whole new world of order. We encourage you to use #HoCoFood more for information, tweets and posts about food in Howard County, e.g. restaurants, grocery stores, farmers markets, CSAs, cooking classes and events; to use it less about food in and from your own kitchen. Think long term in social media and about foundations of social media use. If 30 (or 50, or 100) food bloggers are using #HoCoFood to mark tweets and posts about food that isn’t truly about “HoCo Food” then how would people find “Howard County food” info on social media. The tag is less about, we offer, the person tweeting and more about the content. Make sense? Try using #HoCoCooks for food coming from your own kitchen (unless it’s CSA, locally sourced or farmers market food).

More local hashtags

Use local hashtags. In particular —

Remember, hashtags can be used in Facebook, Instagram, Vine, Twitter and more. They aren’t going away. Use them well and wisely.

Add the HoCoBlogs blogger badge

Have you added the *I’m a HoCoBlogs blogger* badge on your blog? We have that and others which you can find here. If someone wants to create a *I’m a HoCo Food Blogger* badge (or something similar), let us know. We’ll add it to our downloadable badges and help share the news.

Time for a HoCo food bloggers Google Group?

Perhaps it’s time for a HoCo food bloggers Google group. Google Groups provide all kinds of amazing ways of sharing news, updates, events, links and more. If someone wants to take this on, we can seed the group by providing email addresses of people you can invite.

Know any more food bloggers?

We’re always looking for more bloggers on HoCoBlogs; it’s free to be listed! If the blogger is a person, org or biz located in Howard County, we’d love to have them on our site.

Help local restaurant owners rock social media in HoCo?

If you’re a hocofoodie, you probably already have some great relationships with restaurants you frequent. Lend them a hand by sharing this local Resource for Howard County Restaurant Owners. It’s all about how to use social media specific to HoCo and food.

Join the #HoCoInstagramSquad

If you’re a food blogger, you’re most likely often taking pics of food! Our #HoCoInstagramSquad is a hodge-podge of local people posting to HoCoBlogs’s IG page. It’s easy to join and there’s no obligation to produce any number of grams. Post as you like, especially as your out and about at local establishments. More info here. (Hint: Maybe there’s a HoCoFood IG page in the near future.)

We’re starting to host Instagram Brand Ambassador events at local restaurants. What’s that, you might ask? The restaurant creates an event for the Instagram Brand Ambassadors — a wine pairing, an introduction of their new fall menu, a beer flight, a cooking demonstration … basically any one- to two-hour event that they feel highlights their business. HoCoBlogs then brings in a posse of local Instagrammers and sets the requirments for participation, e.g. the number of grams they need to post, the hashtags to use, and so on. You’ll probably want to be on the invite list for these events, so get your IG accounts up and running, robust and filled with many local followers.

Any more tips/bits to add? Email hocofoodies@gmail.com with your suggestions.

Jessie

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