Growing Your Garden Center
Business with Social Media
Dr. Cheryl R. Boyer
Dept. of Horticulture, Forestry and Recreation R...
Significance to Industry
• Small family enterprises
are important parts of the
rural economy.
• Small customer base.

• Ho...
Significance to Industry
• Social media marketing is free/low cost
• Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, blogs, etc.
• ...
Nature of Work
• Word-of-mouth
advertising
• Family/Friend
recommendations
Opportunity
• Determine how successful
garden centers and
nurseries use social media
to grow their businesses.
• Teach the...
Objectives
• Determine if and how
existing customers of a
garden center use
Facebook.
• Can you bring 2 businesses
togethe...
Who Are They?
• 2/3 of online adults (66%) use social media platforms
(Pew Research)
• Improve connections with family mem...
Garden Center Seasonality
How do we bring new
customers in?
How do we keep them
coming back all year?
Pilot Study
• Garden Center
• Photography Event
• Advertise only on Facebook
• Do not interfere with
marketing

• Early De...
47 Participants
No
Answer
4%

Gender

Female
79%

Male
17%

24% Reported
that this was
their first visit
Why Were They Here?
Browse
15%

Photoshoot
36%
Look for
something else
49%
No
Respon
se
9%
No
38%

Which Use
Facebook?
Yes
53%

Don't Use
Facebook
47%

Yes +
'Like'
19%

Visited Nursery’s
Facebook ...
Purchases
Purchase Amount
16

No
Respon
se
11%

14
12
10
8

No
34%

Yes
55%

6
4
2
0
Under $10 $10 to $24 $25 to $49 $50 t...
Participant Age
No Response
7%
64+
13%

18 to 24
4%

25 to 34
23%

55 to 64
17%
35 to 44
17%
45 to 54
19%
70% said they would visit
the nursery again within
the next 6 months

13% said maybe
Challenges
• Gain trust and approval from “Gatekeepers”
• Access to sensitive information
• Staff attitude toward social m...
Dynamic (vs. Static) Post
Significance to the Industry
• Social media training for garden center staff will help
cultivate a positive relationship w...
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR SOCIAL MEDIA
MARKETING IN RETAIL GARDEN CENTERS
Here’s The Deal:
Social Media is Here to Stay
This is how we get our information…
• Friends, family, media
Social Media
Who are we more likely to trust?
• We’re educated buyers (research first)
• We’re more heavily marketed to (c...
How Do We Compete?
The Future IS NOW.
www.OpenHORT.com
3 Ideas to Change the Nursery Industry
1. Play to our strengths. La...
Alright, So What Do I Need to
Know?
Facebook
• No character limit
• Multiple administrators
(schedule?)
• A LOT of folks are
there…you just need to
get connec...
Facebook “Group” [Closed/Open]
• 140 characters
• Acronyms
• RT = Re-Tweeted
• MT = Modified Tweet

• Hashtags
• #growyourown
• #GrowYourOwn
• Similar to Facebook
• Tied to your Google
account
• Can manage multiple
pages
• You choose who sees the
content rather t...
• Image sharing
• Finding inspiration
• “Pin It”
What do I do?
• BE YOU!
• Put a face with the
business
• Pick one platform you
feel most comfortable
with
Social Media is the
Modern Village Square
“Social media is the electronic village square. What do I talk about? Whatever y...
Content
• What do I say?
• Make it mostly informative and conversational
• Infrequent calls to action
• Ideas for using pr...
Content
• Seasonal Alerts--Warnings to cover plants in the cold or
water in the heat
• Share resources (blog posts or news...
You are Building
Relationships
• Know your audience, then mold your content
• Educate them on your industry and products
•...
“Content Rules”

Watch Content Rules, But Common Sense Rocks on Vimeo! http://vimeo.com/32379277
Content
• How often?
• Don’t be annoying!
• Over/Under sharing
• Facebook: 3-4 times weekly
• Twitter: 25-30 times weekly
...
Content
• When?
• Fit into the rhythm of your follower’s day
• Not in the middle of the night
• Blog: Start the day with u...
Make Yourself Easy to Find
Questions?
Growing Your Garden Center Business with Social Media
Growing Your Garden Center Business with Social Media
Growing Your Garden Center Business with Social Media
Growing Your Garden Center Business with Social Media
Growing Your Garden Center Business with Social Media
Growing Your Garden Center Business with Social Media
Growing Your Garden Center Business with Social Media
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Growing Your Garden Center Business with Social Media

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Oklahoma Nursery and Landscape Association
Fall Update
October 25, 2013
Stillwater, OK

Published in: Education, Technology, Business
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Growing Your Garden Center Business with Social Media

  1. 1. Growing Your Garden Center Business with Social Media Dr. Cheryl R. Boyer Dept. of Horticulture, Forestry and Recreation Resources Dr. Lauri M. Baker Dept. of Communications Dr. Hikaru H. Peterson Dept. of Agricultural Economics
  2. 2. Significance to Industry • Small family enterprises are important parts of the rural economy. • Small customer base. • How to stay profitable?
  3. 3. Significance to Industry • Social media marketing is free/low cost • Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, blogs, etc. • Gain new customers? • Bring in business all year. • Build Community by partnering with other businesses.
  4. 4. Nature of Work • Word-of-mouth advertising • Family/Friend recommendations
  5. 5. Opportunity • Determine how successful garden centers and nurseries use social media to grow their businesses. • Teach these techniques to others.
  6. 6. Objectives • Determine if and how existing customers of a garden center use Facebook. • Can you bring 2 businesses together and increase customers for both?
  7. 7. Who Are They? • 2/3 of online adults (66%) use social media platforms (Pew Research) • Improve connections with family members and friends • 14% connect around a shared hobby • Middle-aged and older adults • Men
  8. 8. Garden Center Seasonality
  9. 9. How do we bring new customers in? How do we keep them coming back all year?
  10. 10. Pilot Study • Garden Center • Photography Event • Advertise only on Facebook • Do not interfere with marketing • Early December • Intercept surveys • Employee interviews
  11. 11. 47 Participants No Answer 4% Gender Female 79% Male 17% 24% Reported that this was their first visit
  12. 12. Why Were They Here? Browse 15% Photoshoot 36% Look for something else 49%
  13. 13. No Respon se 9% No 38% Which Use Facebook? Yes 53% Don't Use Facebook 47% Yes + 'Like' 19% Visited Nursery’s Facebook Page? Visited Photographer’s Facebook Page? Yes No 34% 2% Don't Use Yes + 'Like' 34% Facebook 45% No 19%
  14. 14. Purchases Purchase Amount 16 No Respon se 11% 14 12 10 8 No 34% Yes 55% 6 4 2 0 Under $10 $10 to $24 $25 to $49 $50 to $74 $75+
  15. 15. Participant Age No Response 7% 64+ 13% 18 to 24 4% 25 to 34 23% 55 to 64 17% 35 to 44 17% 45 to 54 19%
  16. 16. 70% said they would visit the nursery again within the next 6 months 13% said maybe
  17. 17. Challenges • Gain trust and approval from “Gatekeepers” • Access to sensitive information • Staff attitude toward social media • Maintain positive relationships • Don’t disrupt normal business operations • Provide good reports on the study
  18. 18. Dynamic (vs. Static) Post
  19. 19. Significance to the Industry • Social media training for garden center staff will help cultivate a positive relationship with consumers. • Partnering with another local business can bring new business in during the “slow” season. • Social media marketing can bring new audiences into your business.
  20. 20. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING IN RETAIL GARDEN CENTERS
  21. 21. Here’s The Deal: Social Media is Here to Stay This is how we get our information… • Friends, family, media
  22. 22. Social Media Who are we more likely to trust? • We’re educated buyers (research first) • We’re more heavily marketed to (can you say Proven Winners) • The brands have social media • Consumers are now coming to the store looking for plants they saw in a magazine or online…regardless of how they perform.
  23. 23. How Do We Compete? The Future IS NOW. www.OpenHORT.com 3 Ideas to Change the Nursery Industry 1. Play to our strengths. Lay the groundwork for a massive influx of “personal garden coaches” by creating a national certification program. This would increase diversity and distribute the power and control, but in a way that could allow for common marketing messages. 2. Get creative(s). Encourage and guide all green-industry firms to hire creative individuals from outside the industry, and then put them to work. 3. Tell stories. Donate $20 to produce 2 pilot “Why I Garden” videos.
  24. 24. Alright, So What Do I Need to Know?
  25. 25. Facebook • No character limit • Multiple administrators (schedule?) • A LOT of folks are there…you just need to get connected.
  26. 26. Facebook “Group” [Closed/Open]
  27. 27. • 140 characters • Acronyms • RT = Re-Tweeted • MT = Modified Tweet • Hashtags • #growyourown • #GrowYourOwn
  28. 28. • Similar to Facebook • Tied to your Google account • Can manage multiple pages • You choose who sees the content rather than an information blast to everyone on the list.
  29. 29. • Image sharing • Finding inspiration • “Pin It”
  30. 30. What do I do? • BE YOU! • Put a face with the business • Pick one platform you feel most comfortable with
  31. 31. Social Media is the Modern Village Square “Social media is the electronic village square. What do I talk about? Whatever you would have said to the butcher, baker, or candlestick maker in the old village square. People want to connect, not be sold a bill of goods. Pick one of the social media platforms and work with it for awhile. Like Twitter? Stick with it for a time, and if you decide to try another platform you will feel more comfortable. You don’t have to do all of them at first. You wouldn’t go running into the village square and start yelling at the top of your lungs at everyone. Start slow and get known by the other villagers. Ask how their day is going. Ask that bakery when they are making more of those delicious muffins. Mention the stuff your grandkids are doing. Just don’t go running through the village square yelling about your “buy 2 get the third free” sale. Nobody like’s to be yelled at. By just getting to know people you show you care about the community. They know you’re the “village nursery person”. When the time comes for them to get gardening stuff they will remember you, and the fact that you weren’t always trying to sell them something.” Trey Pitsenburger, The Blogging Nurseryman (January 31st, 2011) http://thegoldengecko.com/blog/?p=991
  32. 32. Content • What do I say? • Make it mostly informative and conversational • Infrequent calls to action • Ideas for using products and services • Pictures of the store or office • Sales or events • What’s going on at the store • New shipments of plants or other material • Client landscape site looking good • New landscape installations (before and after)
  33. 33. Content • Seasonal Alerts--Warnings to cover plants in the cold or water in the heat • Share resources (blog posts or news articles) • Ask questions (so you can LISTEN!) • Who has tried ___? • Can you guess what ____ is? • Who has their Christmas tree up? What kind did you get? • What is your favorite fruit/flower/leaf this season?
  34. 34. You are Building Relationships • Know your audience, then mold your content • Educate them on your industry and products • Inform them about new trends and industry updates • Find out what needs they have • Find solutions to their problems • BE A CREDIBLE, TRUSTED PRESENCE
  35. 35. “Content Rules” Watch Content Rules, But Common Sense Rocks on Vimeo! http://vimeo.com/32379277
  36. 36. Content • How often? • Don’t be annoying! • Over/Under sharing • Facebook: 3-4 times weekly • Twitter: 25-30 times weekly • Blog: 7 times monthly • Don’t forget this is a 3-way conversation—others are watching.
  37. 37. Content • When? • Fit into the rhythm of your follower’s day • Not in the middle of the night • Blog: Start the day with updates before 10:00 am • Facebook: midmorning, midafternoon and evening (when people are taking breaks from their work) • Tweets: Throughout the day, when you see articles and content that can be re-tweeted • You can schedule it! [HootSuite, TweetDeck]
  38. 38. Make Yourself Easy to Find
  39. 39. Questions?

×