Twitbook……Facegram…..there is a myriad of social media platforms these days which can be confusing and overwhelming to those not familiar with online marketing. And with many businesses having limited time, resources and budget, is social media beneficial or a load of faff?
By 2020, the number of people using social media is expected to reach 2.95 billion users. To give an idea of scale, that’s around a third of the planet’s entire population so it’s a channel that your marketing department cannot ignore.
Social media is the ideal way to connect with your customers, market and promote your store and products, create awareness of your brand, and keep up-to-date with what’s happening in the garden industry. And best of all it is FREE! So, which platform is best for you to engage with your customers……let’s take a look.
Facebook is the most popular social media channel with nearly 2 billion users worldwide. Setting up a page for your business allows you to share photos and videos, and interact with customer comments, reactions, and creating a community who share a passion for your business or product. However, don’t just use it for sales posts. Make your Facebook page engaging, informative and interactive for your customers.
Photos are key on Facebook and the garden industry has beautiful pictures in abundance, make sure you use strong, quality imagery to attract your customers attention. They attract the most likes and comments. Couple these with informative posts, top tips and seasonal advice to encourage those engaged to share with others. Make sure you reply to queries and respond to comments, including any complaints as you would if the customer was physically in your business. It is also a great idea to encourage discussion and feedback on Facebook – any positive user-generated content or review will provide a very powerful endorsement for your business.
But how effective is a Facebook page, I hear you cry? Facebook provides an Insights page where you can see an overview of who your customers are and how they’re connecting with your business. So, you can see which posts are working, which aren’t and adjust your strategy accordingly.
Twitter is a social media channel that allows you to freely broadcast up tom 140 characters to the world. What can I achieve in 140 characters though, I hear you ask? Well you can firstly broadcast both to your followers and via searches for certain keywords (also known as hashtags). Hashtags are a way to categorize a tweet’s topic, which then makes it easier for people to search for through Twitter. For example, if you type #gardening into the Search box, you’ll get a list of tweets also related to gardening.
Twitter also allows you to build up a comprehensive network of people to follow which includes your customers, similar related businesses, industry influencers, and interesting, like minded users in your area or even around the world. Most Twitter users will also follow you back so you have a ready-made audience to broadcast to.
So, what should you broadcast? Twitter can be used as a signposting tool so half of your links should take customers to your website as a call to action. The remaining links should take them to relevant gardening articles or news that is of interest to them. If you have a special event or competition, Twitter is an effective way to spread the word.
BUT….don’t spam your followers. The last thing I or they want to see is the same post and picture promoting the same product or event over and over again. It’s not productive and will only cast a shadow on what you are trying to market.
Make sure you inject some personality into your Twitter feed. Many of the most successful Twitter accounts are entertaining and generate retweets galore so humour is great. Inspiration is great for gardening too, link to beautiful gardens and landscapes to give your follower a creative boost but make sure it is relevant and most importantly achievable.
And remember to interact with your followers as if you would face to face – Twitter is an effective customer service tool!
Instagram is a fast growing social media platform with 15 million+ business profiles worldwide and 60% of people saying they discover new products on Instagram. Instagram is extremely popular 18-49 year olds which is key for the gardening industry wanting to target the younger consumer.
Like Twitter, it also uses hashtags but is a visually led platform. So, start snapping but also engage with followers in the comments box by asking questions to prompt conversation.
Instagram Stories is a new feature that allows businesses to create short videos or a slideshow of photos with text. Stories are displayed at the very top of an Instagram user’s feed which is a prominent place to get your followers’ attention, but they only are visible for 24 hours. However, this is an effective way to create visual content such as the launch of new products or services or timely news, such as a grand opening, sale or event, creating a sense of urgency to the viewer.
Instagram can be a valuable marketing tool for business owners, and it’s growing in popularity every day so one to add to the list.