Times are different, but people keep having babies and the nursery trade keeps evolving. In the first of a series of articles with the team at The Media Snug, we interviewed Adeline St John, Digital Director, to explore how independent retailers can best use social media to support their businesses. Here’s what she had to say…

So, Adeline, how can social media help a retailer?

Because of coronavirus concerns, the environment we operate in is changing quickly. We have seen the nursery industry building a stronger presence online including digital PR events, trade shows, consumer shows, social media shopping events and even reassigning the majority of their marketing budgets to digital media partnerships, Google and social media advertising.

Parallel to this, we have also seen consumers keen to research and buy online more than ever. Social media enables you to build a relationship with your customers, reach more of your target audience, and build brand loyalty.

What advice would you give to a social media beginner?

Take it right back to the beginning and think about your audience. Who are they? What are they into? When are they usually online?

What are your business goals? Do you want to improve customer service? Connect with influencers? Drive sales? Are you trying to educate or inform people about your services or product? Take the time to research this, so you can produce content that appeals to them.

Then choose your channels carefully. Start with one, test it and learn it. Remember different channels need different strategies!

Stick to your brand guidelines – it’s easy to go off brand on social media, so make sure you review your content for consistency.

It’s also good be organised and plan for the months ahead, so you know what’s coming up and don’t miss something important when life gets in the way.

Should we pay to use a scheduling platform for our content?

I am asked this question a lot. The short answer is no, you don’t have to. Facebook (which also owns, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp) has their own FREE scheduling platform called Creator suite. Here you can schedule for multiple accounts including Instagram posts, Facebook Posts, IGTV posts, Insights, reply to messages, Rights manager and you can even edit live posts from there.

Facebook is constantly updating its platforms, meaning a lot of the 3rd party platforms often play catch up tech-side. There are also many things you cannot do in 3rd party scheduling platforms, for example, you can’t schedule a poll or a watch party. Twitter also own Tweetdeck, a free scheduling platform, where you can also reply to messages and see your notifications.

If you are set on using use a scheduling platform, we would recommend Social Pilot as you have the added option to schedule Linkedin and Google My Business posts, and download monthly reports.

How often should we post?

Due to Facebook and Instagram’s algorithms, organic posts will be shown to less than 10% of your followers. Twitter moves so fast, that the majority of followers will not see your post. So, post as regularly as you can – once a day is fine, however Instagram stories are slightly different. This is where you have fun, show your loyal customers the personality behind your brand, and engage with them. This will take more than one post per day! For more ideas on how to develop your Instagram stories click here to check out our website.

And don’t forget to stick to the plan you have created with your audience in mind.

Which channels are the best?

Facebook and Instagram are still the Grandad and Grandma of social media. Use them to their full potential and you can’t go wrong. Advertise, upload videos, use the engagement options, use Messenger – and watch your stats grow!

Twitter is the hashtag king, and often underrated. Yes, it is great for b2b, but many consumers naturally go to twitter for customer service. Try running a retweet competition or a poll, and see if you get any engagement.

Pinterest is great to show off your range, so if you haven’t got one, create one. Create boards, add products, add your blogs etc and watch the traffic from Pinterest start to increase on your website.

DON’T FORGET – you can also now post to Google My Business, this will increase your SEO rankings, so add it to your channels!

Find out how The Media Snug can help you get social

The Media Snug is an award-winning digital marketing, design, SEO, content and PR agency offering a range of services to regional and national nursery businesses. Between them, they have over 25 years’ experience in the nursery market.

Using a mix of tools including website design, digital and offline marketing, PR, social media, written and visual content and graphic design the team works with clients to develop a plan that really delivers. Visit their website for more info or contact adeline@mediasnug.com to discuss cost effective social media training and other social media services.

Adeline St John at The Media Snug

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