It’s hard to ignore when a brand just gets content marketing and social media. Online they are dynamic, visual, engaging and trendy. Going to their website, scrolling through their Instagram feed or commenting on their posts on Facebook is a treat, and gives consumers a reason to keep coming back.

We’ve had honeygrow’s content on our radar for some time now. The company’s blog and social presence caught our eye, and we can’t help but be impressed by their great ideas and forward thinking in the online marketing world. So, we reached out to honeygrow’s social media strategist, Kyle Huff, to chat about content, blogging and branding online. Spoiler alert: he had some awesome things to say!

Dish Works: What has your experience been like as the content writer/social media strategist with honeygrow?

Kyle Huff: It has been an incredibly rewarding experience, to say the least. I’ve been able to grow and learn alongside others as the company expands to new markets and regions. With that growth, I’ve had the privilege to meet and befriend a great many folks in new cities by way of social media and ultimately being active in these new communities.

What is your perspective on how brands can/should use (and succeed with) online content (including both blogging/written content and social media)?

I think it’s important for you to identify and understand your audience as well as the community in which they live. I’m not talking solid demographic statistics and numbers (though those are important), but actually understanding what people are doing.

Most of what we do at honeygrow, from a social media and marketing standpoint, is tied to community engagement. For instance, we feature local makers, brewers and other creatives on the blog to better understand the neighborhood we’re entering and what makes these communities so unique. We also host Instagram meet-ups (gatherings of local photographers, bloggers and other influencers) in each major city we enter as a tool to meet more of the community. We’ve partnered with IGDC, IGers Philly and The Bmore Creatives thus far, and will be carrying this approach over to our newer markets.

We even launched our #hgLocal hashtag, which simply is an initiative for these creatives in different cities or towns to share, connect, create and engage with communities near and far. We encourage folks from every city to tag photos of their areas with #hgLocal, not only so we can see what’s going on, but more importantly that others can see what makes these regions so incredibly special.

You’ve really taken the honeygrow blog to new places. What changes did you make in your content strategy, and what do you find is really thriving for your brand?

My goal with the blog was to keep it as hyper-local as it already was, but boost the content by providing high-quality imagery along with light, yet insightful questions to deliver the audience a reading experience that is educational, fun and relatable. As a team, we spend a solid amount of time compiling a list of local coffee shops, breweries, boutique shops and so on to look at for potential blog features—really identifying the folks that are shaping the areas they are in.

In your opinion, what are the top 3 most important ways brands can be marketing themselves online?

Be authentic.

Be responsive.

Be a part of a community.

Be authentic—this applies to many things, but there’s something special about having a real-life person on the other end of that Twitter post. By typing out each piece of copy found on Instagram or each tweet, you put a little bit of yourself into your message, therefore making it more relatable to the audience. Not all of my captions and comments are winners, but there’s something special about maintaining that authenticity and grit as the company continues to grow—it’s something we never want to lose sight of.

Be responsive—my goal, something I implemented upon starting at honeygrow, is to maintain as close to a five-minute response time across all platforms as possible. Not just for complaints or negative feedback, but for compliments as well.

Be part of a community—don’t just pitch your product to strangers; go out and meet the people you hope dine at your restaurant. Find out why they choose to shop at Select Shop 215 over Philly big box stores, why they go to bwe kafe over Starbucks in Hoboken or why Spike Gjerde’s local cuisine movement in Baltimore is grabbing everyone’s attention.

What tips would you give to other content managers/writers/social media strategists who are just getting started for their brand?

I think first and foremost you have to understand and identify with your product or service—I truly believe that honeygrow’s cultural views and culinary achievements are something folks will generally learn to appreciate and love once they get to know us. Also, don’t hide behind the keyboard. There’s such a surge of activity and popularity in social media nowadays, sometimes I feel people forget that they’re communicating with someone real on the other end (and the occasional Instagram bot). Get involved with the community you’re addressing—it will help you relate with your audience and maybe even unlock some techniques to help you better market your product.

We hope you loved this interview as much as we did. Do you know of someone rocking culinary content like a boss? Contact us—we would love to talk to them! Stay tuned for more interviews in the future.

Check out honeygrow online via their website, blog, Instagram, Twitter or Facebook!

Top photo credit: Andy Feliciotti; bottom photo credit: Austin Hodges

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