We’ve devoted a majority of this issue of floriology magazine to social media. Why? In today’s electronic-based marketplace, we believe social media is really THAT important to build your brand and business now and into the future.

Consider a few stats: According to recent research from Salesforce and Publicis Sapient, 87 percent of shoppers begin their product search on digital channels, up from 71 percent last year. The same research also reported that 71 percent of shoppers say they use mobile devices in stores, up from 62 percent the previous year – this number rises to 83 percent for those aged 18 to 44.

UNDERSTAND THE VALUE PROPOSITION OF SOCIAL MEDIA

The key takeaway from this data is that a majority of potential customers research and act on buying intentions through digital channels prior to stepping out their door. And if they make it to your shop, they’ll still be looking for options through digital channels. Consider that more than 90 percent of Americans have a smartphone, which enables customers to have constant opportunities to check search results, coupons, reviews and of course social media activity throughout the purchase process.

We also need to acknowledge that consumers placing orders on your website or at the shop is not guaranteed. Customers check your social feeds to confirm you are willing to engage, educate and entertain them. They check if you have style and talent. They want to know your shop’s history and why you decided to become a florist. Social is a way for customers to form a trust relationship with you through photos, messages and videos. Orders will only happen once trust and confidence are established.

PROPOSED SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY

Most florists have a Facebook page. This is a very good thing because Facebook is the granddaddy of all social with more than 2.5 billion users across all demographics, especially among customers that are reliable flower buyers (you know who they are). Facebook should be your primary social media channel.

Next? Let’s keep this pragmatic, logical and again, by the numbers. Who do you want to target to sustain business growth? The answer is Millennials. Therefore, Instagram should be your secondary social priority with its more than 1 billion users. Just be aware: Facebook owns Instagram and there are optimal posting practices and advertising strategies we’ll discuss in future articles and webinars over the next few months.

Millennials also love videos. This age group watches the most online video, particularly men who spend 40 percent more time watching internet videos than women. What’s the strategy? Start taking more videos and create a YouTube channel. Keep in mind that YouTube reaches more 18-49 year olds than any cable network in the U.S.

BEST POSTING PRACTICES

A big question among florists is how often do they need to post? The good news is it’s not about quantity but the quality and consistency of your posts. When we review florists’ social activity, what we find are spurts of activity, then nothing…followed by another mini-spurt, then nothing. This is no way to build a consistent audience or generate trust among consumers. We recommend two to three posts a week on Facebook and Instagram, during the day, Tuesday through Thursday. Also create one video a week to post to both Facebook and your YouTube channel.

Please look forward to future articles in this magazine where we’ll dive DEEP first into Facebook, then Instagram and finally YouTube. And complementing these articles, don’t forget to check out floriologyinstitute.com for webinars providing extensive information regarding these topics. We hope you are looking forward to this “overload” of social strategies that we believe will help you build business.