GCR recently spoke with Nick Burrows, the Chief Exec at Notcutts, to see how they’re taking advantage of the business opportunities social media is now presenting to both them and companies across the globe.
As a garden centre your customers are often influenced by trends. For example, sustainable planting has increased in popularity lately. Indoor planting has risen in favour more recently, with experts saying indoor plants are being used by millennials as a replacement for a child or pet.
These trends have been part driven by social media. User generated content is playing an immense role in the way business from around the globe market themselves and their services. This should be no different for your garden centre.
There is a myriad of platforms available, with users of these services increasing day by day. The extensive selection can be daunting to those new to it. With the number of social media users expected to reach 2.95 billion by 2020 this provides a valuable marketing tool that business should be paying attention to.
With ever changing trends, garden centres can become off pace. This is why an appetite for onward development within social media is crucial.
Many platforms, which target every audience imaginable can benefit your garden centre.
Social media permits your business to reach specific audiences. These audiences may have been hard to reach through more traditional marketing techniques.
A source of instant marketing, allowing easy communication between customers, platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter deliver national and even international business opportunities.
Nick expressed that Instagram is a platform that garden centres should be using. It brings an appeal to the younger millennial customer audience. “It gives us the opportunity to present ourselves in a different way. We can highlight aspects of our offer to this emerging customer group” he explains.
Using social media can differ from business to business, depending on target audience. Focusing your content with a less formal approach is often a successful marketing technique.
Alongside pay-per click marketing methods, re-engaging with your visitors is vital. Interactive media has made it easier than ever to do this.
With the variation of social environments available, garden centres should be focusing on making their content interesting and relevant. Concentrate on being channel specific.
“Our aim is always to provide an easy customer experience and a best expression of our brand heritage, values and personality” says Nick.
Building a distinct social media presence takes time and patience. An imperative factor to track how well your posts are engaging with your audience.
Spend time considering who it is you’re speaking to and discerning how you can add value whilst being authentic with your brand voice. Users are clever and will only interact with content of honest value.
Within the gardening industry, Facebook and Twitter take the lead. But more players are starting to shape their presence on Instagram. This allows them to engage with a younger audience.
The garden centre commerce already has a selection of effective players within social networking. More and more companies consider it as a must have marketing strategy.
The younger generation are making their mark in the trade. They often take the reins of social media and using it to generate business,
Nick says: “There are some impressive young companies in the sector offering subscription services, speciality solutions and grow your own video experiences that are making more established players think.”
The success of social media campaigns depends on the content, platform and audience. Relevant content, with the correct manner of expression receives the best traction.
“Those that prompt dialogue are particularly good. Competions, or the sharing of great home photos from customers are good examples” Nick continues.
Measuring the response rates on your posts are brilliant ways of seeing if your business is making the most of social media.
Monitoring new followers on each platform is vital. The demographic of your followers and when they are most likely to engage with your posts is also worth keeping an eye on.
Understanding your audience and how you can enrich their lives with your content is at the centre of all social media campaigns.
Social media is growing exponentially, becoming more important to our everyday lives. It allows your garden centre to converse with customers on a range of matters. An exciting time for both business’ and consumers.
Social media is a marketing strategy that garden centres should be recognising as an imperative part of their marketing strategy.
Story by Hannah Armstrong, Garden Centre Retail Magazine