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...
Laura Drotleff

December 6, 2016

Are You Driving Young Growers Away? [Opinion]

In a time when the industry is facing a critical shortage of both labor and skilled, educated growers, it's important that grower operations don't unwittingly turn candidates off to a career at their business or in the industry in general. Take a closer look at your hiring practices to ensure you are being inclusive and not breaking any laws.

Read More

December 6, 2016

America In Bloom Moves Forward With New Management Company

Effective Jan. 1, 2017, management of America In Bloom will transition from AmericanHort to Second Wind Management, which is owned by long-time AIB Executive Director Laura Kunkle.

Read More
bailey-nurseries-team-feature

December 5, 2016

How Bailey Nurseries Has Found Solutions To The Labor Shortage

A changing seasonal workforce led this Minnesota-based company to explore new labor sources through the H-2A program and refugee organizations, and it’s working out for the better.

Read More
Latest Stories
Laura Drotleff

December 6, 2016

Are You Driving Young Growers Away? [Opinion]

In a time when the industry is facing a critical shortage of both labor and skilled, educated growers, it's important that grower operations don't unwittingly turn candidates off to a career at their business or in the industry in general. Take a closer look at your hiring practices to ensure you are being inclusive and not breaking any laws.

Read More

December 6, 2016

America In Bloom Moves Forward With New Management Comp…

Effective Jan. 1, 2017, management of America In Bloom will transition from AmericanHort to Second Wind Management, which is owned by long-time AIB Executive Director Laura Kunkle.

Read More
bailey-nurseries-team-feature

December 5, 2016

How Bailey Nurseries Has Found Solutions To The Labor S…

A changing seasonal workforce led this Minnesota-based company to explore new labor sources through the H-2A program and refugee organizations, and it’s working out for the better.

Read More
Trays move on an overhead conveyor to the end of the production line, where workers carefully pack the cleaned, sized, graded, counted and sorted Calla tubers

November 29, 2016

Texas Judge Halts Overtime Rule; Here’s What It Means F…

According to Craig Regelbrugge at AmericanHort, the injunction against the overtime rule is welcome news for horticulture.

Read More
griffin-andrea-nelson-and-bill-watson

November 22, 2016

Griffin Adds Two Industry Veterans To Its Sales Team

Bill Watson and Andrea Nelson, the newest members of Griffin, answer questions about the state of the horticulture industry, and their role in moving it forward.

Read More

November 21, 2016

How Building New Markets Can Reduce Dependency On Your …

Greenhouse Grower Editor Laura Drotleff says a smart and sustainable business goes beyond boundaries to create more demand outside of traditional channels.

Read More
griffin-expo

November 11, 2016

Griffin Announces Dates For Its 2017 Grower & Retai…

The events will take place Aug. 23-24 in Massachusetts, and Sept. 27-28 in Pennsylvania.

Read More

November 8, 2016

AmericanHort Hosting Lean Flow-Focused Webinar On Novem…

The webinar is the first in a series that will cover how Lean Flow affects your marketing, your customers, and your product offerings.

Read More
oregon-lean-flow

November 8, 2016

Oregon Nursery Lean Consortium Welcomes New Grower Memb…

The Oregon Nursery Lean Consortium, which helps the horticulture industry learn and apply Lean principles, is inviting greenhouse and nursery growers — and their suppliers — to join its 2017 program.

Read More
Great Lakes Expo

November 7, 2016

Greenhouse Growers Expo Will Focus On Improving Plant Q…

Sessions at the Greenhouse Growers Expo, which takes place in Grand Rapids, MI, in December, will focus on maintaining and increasing plant quality through successful rooting of cuttings, disease and pest management, and plant disorder diagnostics.

Read More
hoffman-nursery-owners

November 7, 2016

Hoffman Nursery Embarks On New Opportunities In Green I…

Thirty years ago, John and Jill Hoffman set off on an epic adventure to grow ornamental grasses. Today, Hoffman Nursery continues to evolve, and through its leadership, the operation is helping to secure a position for horticulture on one of the next great frontiers — green infrastructure.

Read More
urban-crops-pieter-de-smedt-and-maarten-vandecruys

November 3, 2016

Belgium-Based Vertical Farming Specialist Urban Crops O…

The opening of the new office in Miami, FL, is part of a continued expansion plan for the company, which creates tailored growth structures that are turnkey, automated, robotized, and able to be integrated into existing production facilities.

Read More
giving-tuesday

November 3, 2016

American Floral Endowment Once Again Joins Giving Tuesd…

On Tuesday, Nov. 29, floral industry supporters are encouraged to make a tax-deductible, year-end donation to AFE to help it continue providing benefits for all segments of the industry.

Read More
americanhort-plug-and-cutting-conference-2016

November 1, 2016

AmericanHort’s Plug And Cutting Conference Tackles Bioc…

The event included a grower tour, biocontrols workshop, and educational sessions focused on water management, labor, pest and disease control, and smart production strategies for great plug quality.

Read More
2015 GROW Summit_discussion shot

October 28, 2016

How We Can Inspire Millennials To Get Involved In Horti…

By uniting our efforts, we can attract new generations of growers and consumers to the horticulture industry, starting when they are young.

Read More
americann-cannabis-facility-in-massachusetts

October 27, 2016

Large Cannabis Greenhouse On The Horizon In Massachuset…

A Colorado company is preparing to build the largest marijuana greenhouse in Massachusetts, a sprawling, high-tech complex that could eventually expand to nearly 1 million square feet, depending on whether voters in the state approve the sale of marijuana for recreational use in November.

Read More
The tradeshow at the Cannabis Business Summit & Expo — outside of the occasional 1960s vibe, perhaps — would feel familiar to most growers

October 26, 2016

Las Vegas Will Host Two Premier Cannabis Events In Nove…

The Marijuana Business Conference And Expo and the World Of Cannabis Summit each take place in mid-November.

Read More
Cannabis Close Up

October 26, 2016

Cannabis Growers Try To Become More Sustainable

As cannabis production continues to increase in some areas, one question seems to be coming up more and more: What is the most sustainable way to grow cannabis?

Read More
[gravityform id="35" title="false" description="false"]