More than 200 million Americans have registered their phone numbers on the FTC’s Do Not Call list. With DVR capabilites, 86 percent of people skip TV ads and 44 percent of direct mail is never opened. Social media, however, continues to grow. And something that becomes viral online can originate with just one person. Greenhouse Grower and Today’s Garden Center wanted to see if we could take advantage of this.
So do your friends and family know the benefits of plants and flowers? That’s the question the #GrowSomething social media takeover posed to growers, retailers and gardeners this May 14 to 18, with an effort that generated more than 75,000 impression for gardening and why plants and flowers are great.
“#GrowSomething really made you take a step back and take a look at things,” says Hort Couture Plants’ Jennifer Hatalski. “We lose that in the hustle and bustle in our day to day lives. I think that for our customers, it added an extra level of interaction. It was great to see the extra drive in traffic on the social media sites.”
How Did Companies Participate?
The team at Eberly & Collard Public Relations participated in #GrowSomething, and noticed a lot of interaction among retailers and growers, mainly through Twitter. During #GrowSomething, the ECPR team posted tweets, Flickr photos and Facebook posts.
In their posts, ECPR tagged other companies with interests in gardening. For example, after writing a blog post on the benefits of gardening, the team pushed the post out through all its social media channels and tagged magazines like Better Homes and Gardens and Garden Design, so those articles would reach the followers and fans of those magazines.
“By each incorporated tag, we were able to exponentially grow the number of impressions, or how many people were reached, with the #GrowSomething message,” says Don Eberly, representing his team at ECPR. “After all, if only those of us working in the horticultural industry see gardening-related posts on social media sites, we aren’t building outside interest from people in the consumer marketplace.”
Eberly also notes that #GrowSomething was a great way for competitors and industry professionals to work together as single marketing unit, “which doesn’t happen often enough,” he says.
Econsultancy, a digital marketing research resource, claims that 3.4 billion pieces of content are shared weekly on Facebook and on average 1.3 million Tweets are sent out each hour. This sounds like a lot of noise in an already hectic life. How does the average person make sense of it all? By trusting the people they know personally.
#GrowSomething’s aim was to use the power of personal recommendation to share why gardening is great. And it’s worked in the floriculture industry long before the #GrowSomething campaign.
YourGardenShow.com is a social media site for gardeners. It engages with users, building an online neighborhood of gardeners who, in turn, spread the word about YourGardenShow initiatives.
“At YourGardenShow.com we are trying not to do and say things to people, we are trying to do things with and for people,” says YourGardenShow co-founder Tom Finerty. “To us, it’s about earned equity.” An example he points to is the site’s Grow It Forward Heirloom Seed Contest, an effort to support the preservation of heirloom vegetable seeds, while promoting healthy living and eating.
“Because Grow It Forward has been received in a positive light, people have been more apt to share it across their own personal social media networks, thus helping to spread the word exponentially,” Finerty says.
Because the effectiveness of social media isn’t an overnight phenomenon, but in its cumulative effect, consistency is key. Eberly recommends that those in the industry not grow frustrated or tired when interaction on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other channels seems slow.
“Rather, a consistent and dedicated social media voice can garner interaction one fan or one follower at a time until an entire online community is built,” he says.
Just like the #GrowSomething campaign was a team effort, a national marketing campaign similar to the Got Milk campaign would require a team effort that would benefit the entire industry, Eberly says.
“Perhaps #GrowSomething, while just one small step in the right direction, is in some way the precursor to a combined industry effort that could change the face of plants and gardening for the masses,” he says.