Content Marketing Success: The First Four Steps [Opinion]

Just Add Ice orchids on Twitter
Just Add Ice orchids on Twitter

Saying that social marketing is different from traditional marketing is a huge understatement. Diving into Facebook, Twitter and search engine optimization requires a new set of skills, but also a new mindset.

This industry is facing a crossroads. A horde of hipsters and technology freaks, kids who have never seen a garden larger than a postage stamp, apartment dwellers and double-income, no-kid couples make up a good chunk of this country’s next generation.

If you want to see this industry thrive, it’s time for everyone to pitch in to market it. And not the way that we’re comfortable marketing, but the way these people, our new customers, want to be marketed to.

If I owned a wholesale greenhouse operation with no retail outlet, or any type of manufacturing business, I wouldn’t leave the marketing of my product up to someone else, even the retailer of my product. There’s just too much riding on the space between the shelf and the shopping cart. If you want your business to succeed, do something to make sure your plants make it all the way through to the patio and the windowsill. Don’t leave it in someone else’s hands.

How To Reach Customers Through Social Media

So how do you reach these new consumers? Quite often, marketers everywhere are looking for the silver bullet — the commercial or advertisement that catches fire or the one spokesperson who everyone loves and adores.

To put it bluntly, this is old-school marketing. These tactics won’t work in new marketing. These consumers are looking for partners, not pitches. New marketing is personal. It’s a two-way conversation. And sometimes you can get your best customers to advocate for you. Here’s what I see working in content marketing.

1. Give your customers the information they need, whatever the information is. This is the foundation of the Youtility theory coined by new marketing consultant Jay Baer. Youtility is marketing that is so useful, people would pay for it.

#GardenChat on Twitter
#GardenChat on Twitter

“It’s a new marketing model for the age of information overload,” Baer’s website explains. There are a lot of social media theories floating around out there, but this one is pretty difficult to argue against.

If you’re on board, here’s a first example to check out: Just Add Ice Orchids. Scrolling through its Twitter feed, it’s difficult to find any kind of sales message. The feed is full of advice and beautiful photos of orchids, and not Just Add Ice orchids, but all types. If I have questions about how to care for orchids, Just Add Ice has me covered on Twitter and its website, JustAddIceOrchids.com. It’s all right there for consumers to find.

2. Realize that people trust their friends, not companies. That’s why social media marketing works so well — the most effective part of it is word-of-mouth marketing. If my friends want me to read something, I’ll most likely read it. If a company wants me to read something, I might read it. What can you do about this? You can make content that is so useful, people will not only pay for it, but they will share it with their friends.

3. Become people’s friends and they will trust you. I’m an advocate for making a face for your business on social media, but it’s not a requirement. The important thing is to interact with your customers. Let gardeners get to know you. Search for #garden on Twitter and see where you can lend a hand to a young gardener. Be a plant nerd along with consumers.

A few weeks ago, I purchased Transcribe Lite, software to help with transcribing audio files. Once I purchased it, I received an eMail from one of the co-founders of the company asking if I needed any help getting started. As a cynical media user, I replied with a few tweaks I thought would improve the software, not really expecting a reply. The same day, I received a reply responding to my concerns. It was clearly written by a human being and included a link to the company’s Twitter feed. Now I’m a follower and a believer.

As small businesses with so much knowledge that consumers want, this industry is primed for success with content marketing.

4. Listen as much as you talk. People are out there talking about what they like and don’t like about your products. There’s a free focus group every day on social media. All you have to do is listen. If you haven’t tuned into #GardenChat, a conversation Monday nights on Twitter, please do. You don’t have to say anything. Just listen.

So ask yourself — what do today’s hipsters and technology freaks need that this industry can fulfill? And how can we get it to them through their favorite marketing channels?

Topics: ,

Leave a Reply

More From Business Management...
Spring Meadow Nursery Fire

January 17, 2017

Two Major Growers Recovering and Rebuilding After Fires

The blazes occurred at Dan Schantz Farm and Greenhouses in Zionsville, PA, and Spring Meadow Nursery in Grand Haven, MI. Both companies say no employees were injured, and they plan to pull together and stay on schedule for the remainder of the year.

Read More

January 10, 2017

5 Can’t-Miss Events and Activities at TPIE

The Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association’s Tropical Plant Industry Exposition (TPIE) is fast approaching. As you plan your trip, here are five can’t-miss highlights from this year’s show.

Read More
sakata-tour-de-fresh-salad-bar-donation

January 8, 2017

Sakata’s Participation in Tour de Fresh Race Results in New Elementary School Salad Bar

On the heels of riding in the Tour de Fresh Race in July, Allen Satterlee of Sakata Seed America celebrated by presenting a new salad bar to Galt Elementary School in California.

Read More
Latest Stories
Spring Meadow Nursery Fire

January 17, 2017

Two Major Growers Recovering and Rebuilding After Fires

The blazes occurred at Dan Schantz Farm and Greenhouses in Zionsville, PA, and Spring Meadow Nursery in Grand Haven, MI. Both companies say no employees were injured, and they plan to pull together and stay on schedule for the remainder of the year.

Read More

January 10, 2017

5 Can’t-Miss Events and Activities at TPIE

The Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association’s Tropical Plant Industry Exposition (TPIE) is fast approaching. As you plan your trip, here are five can’t-miss highlights from this year’s show.

Read More
sakata-tour-de-fresh-salad-bar-donation

January 8, 2017

Sakata’s Participation in Tour de Fresh Race Results in…

On the heels of riding in the Tour de Fresh Race in July, Allen Satterlee of Sakata Seed America celebrated by presenting a new salad bar to Galt Elementary School in California.

Read More
griffin-aurora-colorado-branch

January 6, 2017

Griffin Opening New Hard-Goods-Focused Distribution Cen…

The planned February opening of the 18,500 square-foot facility is part of the company’s continued expansion into the Western U.S.

Read More
gg-january-2017-cover-arizonaeast-feature

January 5, 2017

Why ArizonaEast Is Expanding Its Succulent Production T…

In Greenhouse Grower's January cover story, learn how Brian and Joe Vitale of ArizonaEast saw a chance to expand and diversify their New Jersey-based succulent operation, and why they jumped at the opportunity.

Read More
Moana plant yard

January 4, 2017

Green Industry Poised for Continued Economic Growth in …

Positive economic indicators point to 2017 being a year of modest growth for the green industry, according to economist Charlie Hall.

Read More

January 3, 2017

Growing Optimism for the Horticulture Industry in 2017

With a new administration and a new Congress, AmericanHort's Craig Regelbrugge says the horticulture industry has reason to be cautiously optimistic that regulatory relief could be on the horizon.

Read More
2016-student-competition-award-winners

January 3, 2017

Southern Nursery Association Research Conference Procee…

On the heels of presenting awards to students in the horticulture industry, the Southern Nursery Association has compiled and published its conference research proceedings.

Read More
Farwest Show Floor

December 31, 2016

Farwest Show 2017 Will Feature New Days and Hours

The 2017 Farwest Show will take place Wednesday, Aug. 23 through Friday, Aug. 25, to allow attendees more time to visit local hot spots.

Read More
kelly-norris

December 29, 2016

Kelly Norris: 4 Ways We’re Leaving Growth Opportunities…

Horticulture is a multi-million dollar industry with lots to offer, yet we’re still overlooking several avenues for growth.

Read More
Top 100 Breakfast Panel for 2016

December 27, 2016

You Said It: The Best Quotes From 2016

Some of the industry’s leading growers and educators had strong things to say this year. Here’s a look at some of the most memorable quotes from 2016.

Read More

December 27, 2016

5 Photo Galleries You Didn’t Dare Miss in 2016

Whether it was industry event and trade show highlights or new developments in technology, these images not only spoke more than a thousand words; they drew thousands of clicks, as well.

Read More

December 27, 2016

Check Out the Top 5 Most-Read News Stories on Greenhous…

From pest outbreaks to overtime rule changes, here are the headlines that grabbed your attention in 2016.

Read More
Grow Summit 2016 group shot

December 20, 2016

Less Talk, More Action At Greenhouse Grower’s GRO…

Investing in technology, developing new marketing solutions, and recruiting young growers were just a few of the issues covered at GROW Summit 2016.

Read More
Workers are required to wear uniforms and use tools restricted to the section of the facility where they work, and street clothes are prohibited

December 16, 2016

House Failure To Address H-2B Exemption Could Affect Sp…

Despite efforts by AmericanHort and others in the industry, the House of Representatives failed to renew the Returning Worker Exemption, a policy that helps ensure that small and seasonal businesses have an adequate workforce for the peak spring season.

Read More
americanhort-hort-scholars

December 15, 2016

HortScholars Program Is Open For 2017 Applications

Presented by AmericanHort, the program is open to students in a horticulture-related degree program, and recipients will have exclusive opportunities for in-depth discussions with industry leaders at Cultivate’17.

Read More
North Creek Nurseries Bright Young Talent

December 13, 2016

Emergent Networking Event On Deck At MANTS 2017

Emergent, the collective group of young horticulture professionals who represent the next generation of growing, will host a reception on Wednesday, Jan. 11, after the MANTS tradeshow floor closes.

Read More
bailey-nurseries-veterans-workforce

December 13, 2016

How Bailey Nurseries Navigates The H-2A Program

Joe Bailey, Human Resources Director at Bailey Nurseries says each operation has to analyze their situation and decide for themselves if the H-2A program is right for them.

Read More