Some people have a green thumb – a natural skill for gardening. Their seasons revolve around the garden cycle – spring to start the planting, summer maintenance, fall perennials, winter planning. These gardeners live for digging through the dirt, coaxing a seedling, preparing the soil, and seeing the fruits of their labours in the resulting thriving, colourful blooms. In our neck of the woods, gardening is a constant part of our daily lives: the "how is your garden doing?" conversation happens between neighbours and colleagues alike as soon as the snow melts.
So, too, with social media – another integrated and consistent part of our everyday lives. Overwhelming, perhaps, for the uninitiated – while being a source of joy for the hobbyist. For a new gardener, maintaining a full garden can be intimidating – it is, after all, a lot of work. However, with patience, trial and error, and experience, a beginning gardener can continuously build on the small patio container garden until they are surrounded by a lush, blossoming mixture of flowers and foliage. The same can, and does, happen with social media marketing!
The goal of a garden is to grow healthy plants and flowers, to provide beauty and enjoyment, to be a source of activity and restoration. The goal of social media marketing is to connect, build awareness, to drive traffic, and to increase visibility. Different goals, perhaps, but very similar ways of getting there. For example:
Growth takes Patience
Back when I first started to garden, there were many plants that suffered at my hands thanks to my enthusiastic ignorance. The wrong plant with the wrong soil in the wrong zone will crush and test your love for gardening. Social media is no different. You jump into it with gusto, and you start planting – ideas, links, images. And wait. The genuine likes and followers start slowly… EVER so slowly! Some will stay, some will need pruning, while others will wither and die off.
Inevitably, your knowledge and experience will grow, cultivating an engaged audience, creating a beautiful grouping with solid roots (and usually that one resistant weed, but I digress…)
Location is Key
I have hostas out front of our home, mostly because it’s all shade and it’s what fits nicely in our ‘hood. Not my favorite flower but the neighbours like it and they are ultimately the ones looking at the house, right? Curb appeal/perceived value... yada,yada…
Same is true for social media – who’s looking and where you are flashing the different parts of your business personality. For example, if your target audience is tattoo artists and edgy new musicians and you’ve cultivated a bit of a following with your unique brand of art, I’d stay away from posting pictures of your hostas in bloom. Just sayin’.
Plan for Success
Sowing a grand garden and a social media presence is not for the faint of heart nor does it happen off the cuff. It takes vision and a deliberate plan. You don’t need to tackle your whole acre sized garden in one day but it’s good to know how you want it to look at the end of 1, 5 and 10 years. Like a gardener that started a small plot in their first year, organizations can build up their social media marketing piece by piece. Reviewing analytics, experimenting with different formats, evolving their voice (we at Cyan can help you with all this btw) – all plans that help to get closer to that end vision you are working so hard for.
It's About the Mix
Annuals are replanted every year and add summer long punches of color. Perennials, on the other hand, come back year-after-year and tend to be a bit more of a reflection of who you are. In the digital marketing garden, evergreen content is the perennial – it is sustainable, lasting, and relevant even way past the publication date. Concepts/designs you’ve created is one example of this. On the other hand, the annual's main purpose is to add immediate intrigue, “shiny ball” type of flash and dazzle. Such as, fun bits of information about employees, favourite quotes or funny images that make anyone's day brighter – much like stopping to smell the roses.
So – ready to plant? Follow these tips, and before you know it, the faces from next door will be peeking over the back fence, asking "hey, neighbour, how's your garden doing?"