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Marketing Kit 2011: Connect with Customers and Attract Gen Y

Introducing SAF’s Flower Factor Blog at www.AboutFlowersBlog.com

www.AboutFlowersBlog.comDid you know that 40% of women use the Internet to get inspired, and 58% research products to buy? These compelling statistics and the desire to reach a younger generation of floral buyers prompted SAF to create a companion website to www.AboutFlowers.com. On the new Flower Factor social media hub at www.AboutFlowersBlog.com, SAF is engaging women and creating content they can share with friends and family. Read on about the new hub and learn how you can capitalize on it for your business.

In 2010, SAF kicked off the Flower Factor public relations program, designed to reach a younger generation of floral consumers (born between ’81 and ’94, known as Gen Y). SAF enlisted experts, TV personalities and authors in the areas of home decorating, entertaining and relationships to help the industry communicate with this young, social audience and get its messages noticed by influential bloggers and lifestyle reporters.

In 2011, the Flower Factor PR program brings the same great experts together with the creation of www.AboutFlowersBlog.com. This lifestyle blog is a hub of social media-rich content created to spread word-of-mouth news about flowers and florists.

The team of Flower Factor lifestyle experts SAF dubbed the “Fleurtations” create monthly blog posts for the site, along with SAF’s consumer marketing staff and several SAF-member florists, who contribute tips and ideas for consumers to incorporate flowers and plants into their life and purchase them through professional florists. Through the ongoing digital dialog with consumers, SAF is talking directly to a key demographic, encouraging them to make flowers and florists a greater part of their everyday lives.

In addition to blog posts, www.AboutFlowersBlog.com connects customers with key floral information via the top social media channels, including YouTube videos, a Flickr photo gallery, Twitter (follow us on Twitter @FlowerFactor) and Facebook feeds. We’ve also made it easier for consumers to find a local SAF-member florist through featured links to the National Florist Directory.

How You Can Capitalize on www.AboutFlowersBlog.com

SAF member Georgianne Vinicombe told attendees at SAF’s 2011 Growth Solutions Conference that because of her use of social media, her business has seen a 24 percent increase in sales over the past three years, while cutting her advertising budget by $15,000.

SAF’s Flower Factor can help you reach and engage customers via social media. Interacting with SAF’s social media hub is an easy way for you to advertise your business, establish yourself as an expert in floral trends and become a frequent part of your audience/customer’s online life. This will not only encourage your audience to think about incorporating flowers more often into their lives, but to come to you and your shop to do it!

Below are easy ways to tap into all the opportunities the SAF Flower Factor social media hub has to offer to help drive traffic to your website and shop.

  • Join the conversation on www.aboutflowersblog.com! Check out our blog posts and add your thoughts by leaving a comment. When you do, be sure to identify yourself as a florist and include a link to your website. This is an easy way to, be part of a national conversation on floral trends, establishing yourself as an expert, increasing your search engine ranking, and building relationships that could lead to more opportunities and connections. For more reasons why you should comment on blogs, read Why You Should Comment On Blogs To Build Your Brand and 4 Reasons You Should Comment on Blogs.
  • Use your Twitter account to tweet Flower Factor blog posts and research. Then re-tweet and reply to tweets from The Flower Factor Twitter handle, @FlowerFactor. This is an effective way to amplify your voice online and secure more followers. As with commenting on our blog, this is and easy way to be part of a national conversation, establish yourself as an expert, build relationships, and drive traffic to your website and shop. (Not on Twitter? Click here for tips on how to get started.)
  • Twitter allows you to follow trending topics in your city. Add this feature to your Twitter account to add to local conversations.
  • "Tweeting" great content makes more people want to follow you and re-tweet your posts. Post these sample tweets to share great SAF research and Flower Factor content:
Looking for #flower advice, tips & inspiration? See what’s new at http://www.aboutflowersblog.com

Do you have great flower memories? Research actually proves that flowers make us happy: http://bit.ly/k3OwGh

Flower colors that say how you really feel: lilac = first love, yellow = hopelessly in love, red = passionate love http://bit.ly/hb4G

Brighten a friend’s day! Flowers create instant happiness and research says it’ll make you look pretty good, too http://bit.ly/lJUZ2y
  • Tweet your shop’s promotions and your expertise. Be sure to use hashtags (#) to make your tweets easily found in searches. You may want to include local hashtags (e.g. Washington, D.C. would be #dc) and hashtags for various events (e.g. #wedding). Try these examples:

Looking for a twist for your next #bouquet? You can shop locally and live colorfully with the right floral arrangement. I can help.

No reason to celebrate? Let’s make one together! Customized #flowers are just around the corner.

Ladies, are you hosting brunch? Fellas, got a blind date? Don’t forget the #flowers! Shop your local florist.

No need to paint or redecorate for houseguests. Freshen-up your space with a splashy #bouquet.

If nothing says “you” like hot pink, butter yellow or tangerine orange, #ExpressYourself with lilies, gerbera daisies and more.

#Floral prints may be all the rage on fashion runways but you don’t have to be front row to have petals in your life.

The must have #colors of the season won’t be on clothing racks for weeks. Good thing for you, I have them on #stems now!

  • Follow The Flower Factor and The Fleurtations on Twitter. Engage in discussions and share your own tips and expertise. You can also engage us on the @FlowerFactor handle if you are enjoying Twitter conversations that you want The Flower Factor to join. Find us at:

Flower Factor: http://twitter.com/flowerfactor

Jeanne Benedict: http://twitter.com/jeannebenedict

Kelli Ellis: http://twitter.com/designerkelli

Christine Arylo: http://twitter.com/ChristineArylo

Re-tweeting their comments can help you build your brand as well as your followers’ loyalty. If you point a follower to an external source that is truly relevant and beneficial to them, the amount of trust that person has in you will increase. The next time you post a link, whether it’s to your website or to an external source, the chances of that person clicking that link are higher than before. Retweeting someone else’s content is an act of kindness, and others are likely to do the same for you. This doesn’t mean that you should expect someone to retweet your content just because you retweeted theirs. Remember, retweeting is all about providing value to your followers, typically people will not retweet a post of yours unless it’s perceived as informative or helpful, according to the Benefits of Retweeting.

  • Help inspire your audience! to photos from The Flower Factor Flickr account to inspire your online audience. Be sure to mention that you can help them express themselves with a locally designed arrangement of their own. Find The Flower Factor on Flickr here: http://www.flickr.com/flowerfactor.

    You also can add photos of your original arrangements to The Flower Factor Flickr account. If you would like to share images of your floral designs, please email high-resolution images (300 dpi at 4”X6”) to the attention of Jenny Scala at jscala@safnow.org.

    In order for your images to be featured in our Flickr gallery and on The Flower Factor blog, you must state within the email that you give SAF full permission to use your photos for use in social media content. Please include photo credit information for each image (photographer’s name). Please provide your full name, the name of your flower shop and a link to your website, blog or Facebook page. If we post your image in our Flickr Gallery, you can let your Facebook and Twitter followers know your floral design is featured on a national floral trends blog.

    SAF Flower Factor Logo

    Use the Flower Factor logo as a visual link to www.aboutflowersblog.com or www.facebook.com/AboutFlowers on your website or blog.

    • Click on the logo. (You may need to use the "right click" on your mouse.)
    • Select “Save to Disc.” Save to your desktop or in another file on your computer.
    • Post the image to your website or blog.
  • Help educate your audience! Embed Flower Factor YouTube videos from www.youtube.com/SAFAboutFlowers on your website or share them on Facebook and Twitter. You can easily re-purpose the videos in tip-style features on your website or social media pages. You can also enhance your website content by providing an introduction to and excerpts of Flower Factor blog posts and then link to the full post on AboutFlowersBlog.com. Lastly, tag your tweets with The Flower Factor hashtag, #flowerfactor, and link to us on Facebook. This will lead your followers to the larger Flower Factor conversation and adds your voice and local expertise.
  • Make sure your customers know about these valuable online resources:

Send an email to your customers introducing them to the blog. Simply send a link or mention it in your e-newsletter.

Post fliers in your shop or include a note in monthly statements.

Include the Flower Factor blog URL, www.AboutFlowersBlog.com, in your email signature.

Link to www.AboutFlowersBlog.com from your website or blog. Use the Flower Factor logo as a visual link.

Add the Flower Factor to your website’s blog roll to share posts with your readers.

By participating in SAF’s Flower Factor and its various social media venues, you will become part of a national online authority, which should help raise your prominence in your community, connecting you with consumers, especially Gen Y-ers. This connection will draw customers to you for their floral needs.

SAF’s 2011 marketing programs are possible thanks to SAF retail dues and voluntary contributions to the SAF Fund for Nationwide Public Relations by wholesalers, suppliers, importers and growers.

Keywords: local marketing kit, florist public relations, marketing, SAF PR Fund