I grew up at the shore and this summer I was lucky enough to get my old job back at Ocean City Coffee Company (OCCC), and still intern in the city during the week. Going into my senior year, I have had a lot of experience with public relations. When the manager of OCCC, Aubrey Corbett, asked me to assist with social media I was so excited to turn their Facebook into something huge and create the coolest coffee Instagram Ocean City, New Jersey has ever seen. But, through helping assist with Ocean City Coffee’s public relations this summer, I learned something very different. Public relations in a shore town is nothing like in the big city.
When I first started helping with the OCCC’s Facebook page, my suggestion was to make scheduled posts, find articles about coffee and post discounts to drive in more people. However, I discovered that was not what customers were looking for. Aubrey came up with the idea to post the local weather, which locals were performing at the shop, local jokes and fun tips about coffee and that posting everyday seemed a bit much. When we talked about it she said, “We are a small town with people who come back each summer. Social media isn’t our main focus. We get more business from the one-on-one connections we make with customers and the word of mouth throughout the town.”
When it comes to PR in the big city, I feel there is a heavy focus on social media, creating flyers, writing press releases, etc. In a shore town, the relaxed pace lends itself to relationships with customers. Catering to local and loyal regulars seems to be the best PR around town. Don’t get me wrong though, all of the shops still post flyers in local hotels and travel books.
I looked at other Facebook pages of Ocean City stores. Del’s Beachside Grill posts about once a month and the last post was about the owners daughter winning Miss Ocean City. The famous Manco & Manco pizza is a boardwalk favorite and also only posts about once a month. Both stores have lines out the door each day.
While in the shop, I tested Aubrey’s theory. One customer said, “When we come to a small town like this, we ask the locals where they go, we don’t look it up online ahead of time.”
Even thought the summer is coming to an end, the next time you are in a shore town, instead of researching before, ask a local where they get their favorite “Cup-a-joe”.
|Manager Aubrey Corbett going out to catch some waves in an Ocean City Coffee Company shirt.|
This guest blog post was written by PRowl Staff Member Jackie Grillo.