Sakata Goes Big On Social Media

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Giant images from Pinterest are displayed this week at the Sakata Ornamentals trials at Spring Trials 2014.

Social media marketing is a tempting tool. For one, the hard costs to implement a program are extremely low. The only resources required are time, effort and some understanding of the different platforms and how they’re used by consumers. And those consumers are another good reason. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest are where the end-users of your products are spending their time.

But social media has been a tough nut for growers to crack. We’ve seen many try to tackle it. Some even do it really well. But many still seem to fall into the segment of “I just don’t know what to do when I’m there,” or even shy away entirely because they “don’t sell directly to those consumers so there’s really no point in talking directly to them.”

The Sakata Ornamentals trial this week at Spring Trials 2014 takes a stab at helping growers understand the benefits of using social media to build consumer demand — and offers some excellent examples.

Pinterest was the example you couldn’t miss at Sakata. One end wall of the greenhouse was covered in giant images from Pinterest, showing different ways people use flowers, from bouquets to decorations to garden projects to gift ideas. The one constant was that the images showed many unique ways people enjoy using flowers.

“One of the things you learn about social media is giving up control,” says Sakata Ornamentals senior marketing manager Alecia Troy.

Consumers will often use plants in ways you can’t anticipate, she says. For example, they might take bedding plants and use them as cut flowers and will come up with unconventional ways to use live goods in home décor and even as fashion accessories.

“Some people in our industry might look at that and say, ‘That’s not a cut flower!’ But why does that really matter? They’re using our products in ways that make them happy,” Troy says.

Highlighting pins and other social media posts like these — or sharing your own ideas with consumers about interesting ways to use your plants — helps encourage people to try something they may never have considered before. The more ideas we can help share, the more new consumers we can create, and the more plants we can sell.

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