Greenhouse Canada

Business Issues: Engaging in social media

July 10, 2019  By Anthea Taylor

Having knowledge and a passion for plants is only one piece of the puzzle – attracting customers is another.

Social media and user-generated content are playing a significant role in the way that businesses market their goods and services. This shouldn’t be any different for your garden centre.

Your customers’ asks are often influenced by trends, largely driven by social media and images of beautiful plant-laden interiors. Take advantage of social media’s power and show how your business is at the forefront of these trends.

Older generations may keep visiting for your expert opinion, but a younger generation is more likely to search the internet for information, only visiting businesses that can offer the best experience both off and online.


Have a strategy before you begin
Despite the ease of putting your business on social media, you will need a clear strategy.

A garden centre can be very visually appealing, so use platforms that are more visually-based (e.g. Instagram), while channeling your business’ brand to your customers. Lifestyle and plant boutique, Seed to Stem, is one business that has a strong Instagram following. Their approach is to promote their products as part of a ‘lifestyle aesthetic,’ using images of interiors that reflect their brand.

Gaining a social media following can be made easier if you have properly identified your target audience, so you can produce content that they are interested in. This has been a successful tactic for Patch Plants, an online plant store. They have identified their audience as inexperienced, time-poor millennials who are willing to spend more per order to save hours researching their plant purchases. Their social media marketing consistently reflects aspirational spaces for this particular audience.

Encourage conversation
Social media users love being involved in the conversation – this is called ‘engagement’. The better engaged your audience is, the more effective your posts will be. Encourage your users to post their own images of their gardens and their plants.

Use features such as hashtags and geotags –
Instagram allows users to search for and follow them. By hashtagging something like #plants in the image description, users would be better able to find your account. On average, an Instagram post with at least one hashtag increases user engagement by one-third.

Geotags are useful if you want local Instagram users to be aware of your location. If you tag your location to an image that you post, anyone who searches for that location will have your post appear in their search results.

Get your customers involved by asking them to geotag or just tag your business in their posts. You can always repost the best ones! To encourage this, create selfie-worthy areas throughout your garden centre and make it a place where shoppers will want to snap their shopping experience. Focusing on the customer experience in this way and others will help draw customers to your business. The younger market of millennials and Gen Z’s are increasingly wooed by the customer experience offered when visiting a business.

It can be extremely beneficial to use the skills of a professional social media specialist. If you do not have the budget, spend some time learning the ropes and brushing up your own knowledge.

With the expansive competition of content that exists on the internet, any blog posts or images that you create need to be high quality if you want to engage your users and stand out from the crowd. Having a knowledge of and a passion for plants is only one part of running a successful garden centre. Attracting customers is another, and social media is a great platform to help you do this.

Anthea Taylor is assistant editor at Dynamis and writes for all titles in the Dynamis stable including

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