The Social Florist

Social Media Marketing: A Perfect Match for Florists

Though she hails from a town with fewer than 1,500 people, Jodi Duncan, AIFD, has become an internationally known florist with an impressive resume that includes creating installations for the famed Philadelphia Flower Show, designing for The White House, reporting on the last royal wedding for Scotland’s Fusion Flowers magazine, serving as Mayesh Wholesale’s Design Star, and even giving a TED talk.

The owner of Jodi Duncan Designs in Norris City, Illinois, credits much of her success to being social —both in face-to-face interactions and online. In addition to marketing her own business, she has also been a spokesperson for several brands, including Design Master Color Tool, Baisch & Skinner, Kennicott Brothers and the Bill Doran Company. Earlier this year, she launched a social media consulting company, Social Jodi, in which she uses her 30-plus years of experience to guide other small business owners and managers.

Duncan recently connected with Canadian Florist to share advice with readers who likely lack the time to sift through the myriad social media tips floating around the Internet to determine what’s good counsel and what simply isn’t.

Social Media: Mandatory for Success

Duncan wholeheartedly believes that florists can’t afford to avoid social media.

“The average consumer spends a conservative two hours per day on social media platforms,” Duncan said. That figure is based upon research performed by MediaKix, a social media influencer marketing firm. Over the course of a person’s lifetime, that adds up to more than five years — and experts predict that amount will only increase as platforms develop further. In the future, people will most likely spend more time on social media than they will watching TV.

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Even if you have many visitors to your site, you still need to have a social media presence. “No matter how good your web traffic is, it must be supplemented with engaging social media posts,” Duncan said. “There are more eyes on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube than there are on a florist’s website.”

For florists who aren’t sure where to begin, Duncan recommends posting or engaging (commenting on or liking others’ posts) at least five to seven times per day to inspire, entertain, inform and educate. “Sales will follow,” she said.

What else should you keep in mind? “Social media is about being SOCIAL,” Duncan said. “Be a friend. Be the expert, the icon. Make them laugh. Add value to their day.”

Casual and Colloquial vs. Sleek and Sophisticated

A lot of small business owners fret that their efforts can’t compete with professional marketers’ polished posts, but there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to social media, Duncan insists.

“Due to reality TV and Snapchat, video viewers will forgive unpolished and unedited content,” she said. As evidence of this, she points to a “public service announcement” style video she shot the week of Valentine’s Day urging viewers to buy from a local florist, whether it was her or not. In it, she wore goofy, oversized sunglasses and held up a bowl of ingredients used to make chocolate chip cookies. (Her point: a DIY gift is not as good as the finished product.) That video was shared more than 190 times and received 80,000 views. “It was nothing fancy or precious,” she said. “It was just a casual conversation.”

Video marketing is rapidly becoming a popular way to connect with audiences. Business coach Gary Vaynerchuk wrote back in 2015 that if you don’t have a video marketing strategy for your business, “you are going to lose.”

While video content can be more casual, the same does not apply to other aspects of your social media approach. “Your graphic design, logo and marketing materials had better be sleek and sophisticated,” Duncan cautioned. (She also recommends typing your posts in a Word document first and running a grammar check before making anything public.) Customers care about details on and off social media. They want to know that you’re a professional who has invested time and effort into your business. You can afford to shoot your own video with your cellphone, but it pays to get a trained graphic designer and marketing professional to make sure your website, brochures, and visual brand identity are sharp.

Tracking Your Success

As a business owner, you probably want to know what your return on investment (ROI) will be before you spend a great deal of time, effort, and especially money. Duncan answers that question with a query of her own: “What’s the ROI of NOT being on social media?”

She has stopped trying to convince the doubters. “I don’t even argue anymore.  There are too many amazing and powerful case studies out there on the spectrum of success, and I personally have a successful stack of my own,” Duncan said. She has a waiting list of clients and has vowed not to waste her time trying to convince people who don’t understand the value of social media marketing.

Unlike other forms of advertising, social media marketing gives you a clear idea of how successful your efforts are. “We can track exactly who watches your video AND for how long!” Duncan said. “We can discover how many people saw that amazing picture you posted, then focus on those exact people with a targeted ad campaign.”

Duncan believes that social media marketing is for every florist. Social media allows you to reach a larger audience than your physical community and lets you engage with them on a deeper level. The veteran florist and marketer is convinced that social media marketing is the future of reaching customers, and those who can do it effectively will have greater success and longevity.

Rachel Levy Sarfin
Rachel Levy Sarfin is a Toronto-based freelancer who has written about technology for a variety of publications and blogs.

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