Carmen Johnston to Share Secrets to Social Media Success at Northeast Greenhouse Conference and Expo
Registration is now open for the Northeast Greenhouse Conference and Expo, planned for Nov. 7-8 in Boxborough, MA. Garden lifestyle maven Carmen Johnston will keynote the event and share her insights on the hottest garden trends and how to leverage social media for the good of your business.
Johnston is a Southern Living Garden Lifestyle Expert and regular contributor to Southern Living magazine, as well as several other consumer gardening magazines, in addition to making daytime television appearances on shows such as Pickler and Ben. She thrives off decorating, entertaining, and creating lifestyle solutions straight from the garden. Her philosophy ─ If you fail, just give it back to the Earth and try again ─ helps strip away the fear of gardening for people and pours the fun back into it.
Growing up under the guiding hand of her Austrian father, who passed on his love of plants through the delightful window boxes he created for their Georgian home, Johnston says she can’t remember a time she wasn’t passionate about anything and everything horticulture, from flowers to landscape design. Even though she didn’t start her career in horticulture, she quickly followed her heart and returned to her gardening roots after she met her husband Tommy, who comes from generations of greenhouse growers.
Carmen Johnston founded Carmen Johnston Gardens, a nationally renowned commercial, residential, and wedding flower and garden design company. As a business owner, Johnston has witnessed many gardening trends rise and fall over the years. Lately, succulents are having their moment, she says, and next, air plants will be all the rage.
“One thing I have come to understand is that in this hyper-tech world, the majority of individuals want instant satisfaction, and succulents and air plants provide this,” she says.
Small gardens are also trending, and container gardens, one of Johnston’s specialties, fit nicely into this category. Currently, her blog features “Top 3 Containers for Fall”, which include step-by-step do-it-yourself instructions.
“I am passionate about container gardening because any individual on earth can create a small garden with a pot, some soil, and some plants,” Johnston says. “There is something so calming and satisfying about being able to connect with nature by planting your own garden, and I think that should be accessible to everyone.”
Social Media Is Your Competitive Edge
It is evident that social media dictates and redefines gardening trends. If business owners in the horticulture industry want to thrive and grow their businesses, Johnston says they need to take advantage of social media. The sooner they do, the sooner they can start reaching gardening enthusiasts around the world in a matter of minutes. If they don’t, they could be out of business in a matter of years because social media is where their customers are.
If a grower or grower-retailer feels they are too busy to promote their business using social media, Johnston suggests paying someone to do it for them, saying the money invested will pay for itself in no time, and then continue to add money to their pockets.
“It is remarkable how popular gardening is on social media and how little growers and retailers are taking advantage of it,” Johnston says. “I am not throwing stones. I, too, was hesitant about the power of social media in our industry, but it is life changing. It will open doors you never knew were waiting for a knock.”
How Successful Can Social Media Be for Your Business?
There is no denying that social media is here to stay, and Johnston advises anyone with a business to get on board. Two upsides of social media are that it makes a business more accessible and initiates more two-way interactions with customers, both of which can be wins for business growth, Johnston says.
One of Johnston’s most popular social media platforms with Millennials is Instagram, where she tells her story, documenting everything from working in her garden to creating mixed containers and setting up for weddings. She says our industry needs to follow the examples of Millennials and young people posting on the web. They post content relatable to their everyday experiences. They are recording their everyday lives, and they keep it simple. Simplicity is key in this day and age.
One of the areas Johnston will cover in her keynote is the next big frontier in social media ─ voice. With the advent of technologies like Amazon’s Alexa-controlled Echo and Google Home, the next form of content will most likely be the spoken word, and it will be easily accessible to anyone that asks for it, no matter their age.
“This is a tech-driven age that demands speed, and nothing is faster than asking a question and immediately getting an expert answer,” Johnston says. “This is the way of the future, and we cannot let the gardening industry be left behind.”
Reserve Your Seat for the Keynote Speech
To stay in the know about the latest gardening trends, follow Johnston on social media @CarmenJohnstonGardens, and register for the Northeast Greenhouse Conference and Expo to attend Carmen Johnston’s keynote talk. The event is co-sponsored by New England Floriculture, a group of grower representatives from the Northeast, augmented by university and Cooperative Extension staff in each state who specialize in greenhouse crops and management. In addition to the keynote, other highlights for the conference include educational sessions and workshops, a tradeshow, and networking opportunities.