By Anthea Taylor
By Anthea Taylor
Social media and user-generated content are playing a huge role in the way that businesses market their goods and services. This shouldn’t be any different for your garden centre.
There are a lot of advantages to using social media, however, using it will take more than just registering for an account. You will need to be proactive and professional if you want to use digital platforms successfully.
Take advantage of trends
As a garden centre, your customers’ asks are often influenced by trends. For example, planting eco-friendly plants has become far more popular. Similarly, indoor plants have seen a rise in favour recently.
This trend has, in part, been driven by social media and the images that have popped up of beautiful plant-laden interiors. Your garden centre should take advantage of the power that social media has to convey that your business is at the forefront of these trends.
An aging Canadian population requires that your business reaches out to a new generation of gardeners. This is best done through your garden centre’s online presence and shifting your strategy to make room for what it is they are after.
While an older generation of gardeners could be counted on to keep coming to your garden centre because it is the one they have always used, a younger generation is more likely to go to the business that can offer the best experience. An integrated off and online experience is what they are really after.
Baby boomers will be looking to you for your expert opinion, however, millennials are more likely to look to the internet for information. Consider how you could write up your opinion in blog form if you want to make it more millennial accessible.
Have a strategy
Despite the ease of putting your business on social media, you will need to have a clear strategy before you begin to market your garden centre well.
A garden centre can be a business that is very visually appealing and this should play a role in your marketing. Using social media platforms that are more visually based is a way of doing this, such as Instagram.
Consider what your business’s brand is and how you will get this through to your customers using social media. For example, Seed to Stem, is a business that has a strong following on Instagram. Their approach has been to promote their plants as part of a ‘lifestyle aesthetic’ with images of interiors that reflect their brand.
Gaining a following on social media can be made easier if you have properly identified who your target audience is. The more you are able to define this, the more you will be able to produce content that they will be interested in.
This has been a successful tactic for Patch Plants. They have identified their audience as inexperienced, time-poor millennials who are willing to pay in order to not have to spend hours researching what to buy and where to buy it. For this business, their marketing though social media has been successful as it consistently reflects the aspirational spaces for this particular audience.
Trying to reach too many people could mean you end up not reaching anyone.
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 and videos of their gardens and their plants.
Using platforms such as Instagram will be a lot more successful if you use features such as hashtagging and geotagging. For example, Instagram allows users to search for and then follow certain tags. By hashtagging something like #plants in the image description, users would be able to find your account. An Instagram post with at least one hashtag, on average, generates a third more user engagement.
Geotagging, on the other hand, is 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 that location will have your post appear in their search results.
You can also get your customers involved by asking them to geotag or just tagging your business in their posts. You can always repost the best ones!
You can also make your garden centre a place where shoppers will snap their shopping experience because of the aesthetics. Creating selfie-worthy areas throughout your garden centre is a great way to get users to geo-tag your business.
Focusing on the customer experience in this way and others will help draw customers to your business. The younger market, Millenials and Gen Z’s, are increasingly wooed by the customer experience that they are given when visiting a business.
It may be tempting to snap or type away and hope for the best, however, it can be extremely beneficial to use the skills of a professional social media specialist. If you do not have the budget to hire someone, spend some time learning the ropes and brushing up your own social media skills.
The blog posts or images that you create for your social media accounts need to be high quality if you want them to engage your users. You need to stand out from the expansive competition of content that exists on the internet.
Your dream business
Buying and running a garden centre is, to many, an ideal business. You will, however, need to consider how it is that you will use social media to market it.
Having a knowledge of and a passion for plants is only one part of running a successful garden centre. Attracting customers is the other and social media is a great way to do this.
Anthea Taylor is assistant editor at Dynamis and writes for all titles in the Dynamis stable including BusinessesForSale.com, FranchiseSales.com and PropertySales.com as well as other industry publications.