Tall, coordinated people play basketball. Brilliant, steady-handed people are surgeons. Analytical, detail-oriented people are accountants. And, everyone is a social media manager?
You heard right. Everyone can manage their small business’s social media accounts. According to Aaron and Laura LeBoutillier from Garden Answer, it’s not just marketing professionals conquering online media – anyone can succeed at it.
Recently, I talked with the faces behind a flourishing Facebook page, Garden Answer (GA), to find out how they became social media experts and the secret behind their engaging videos. Garden Answer has over 976,600 followers on Facebook and has a presence on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.
AZ: Do either of you have any background in social media or marketing?
GA: No, not really. Neither of us have a background in it, besides having our own personal accounts. We’ve started the page two years ago, kind of out of hobby. It has grown since then, and now is our full time job.
AZ: Did you guys see a need for this type of page in your area or how did this Facebook page come about?
GA: When we started it, our plan was to do more of the educational videos, but once we started we felt there was more of a lack of inspirational content. We didn’t really see a lot of inspirational content out there, and that is where we’ve found a lot of our success.
AZ: What is a strength of your Facebook page?
GA: Consistency and continuing to keep at it. We went through the first year, year and a half, of having a Facebook page and being extremely consistent. We put out a video every week or maybe two videos a week, and a lot of videos didn’t get many views. We’re not sure what kept us going, but you have to keep at it. The second you stop making videos, or putting out content is when you, obviously, won’t be getting any engagement. We definitely think consistency has been the key to our success. If you have to, assign one person to post consistently for you. We’ve seen many YouTube’ers that have posted videos and they weren’t the best video, but they had over one million subscribers. After looking back on their page, we saw that they’ve been around for seven or eight years. We really attribute consistency to anyone’s success. If you work at it for long enough, especially in social media, your bound to succeed.
AZ: Would you say that is a rule of thumb for you guys? Like how often you post?
GA: Yes, you’ve got to just keep doing it. You’re not going to have a viral video every single time, but the more videos you make the more of a chance your going to have at having a successful (or unicorn – check out our previous post to find out more about these) post. You’re also going to learn more every time. There’s been a lot of videos where we didn’t think it was our best work, but it was more about getting the content up and learn from them – which is sometimes hard. It’s difficult putting something out there and thinking, “Oh I could’ve done this better or done that differently.” It’s good to have each other because we are the driving force for one another. We remind ourselves that, “nope, just have to get the content up. You can do it better next time and keep working on it.” Always strive to be better, but don’t let that stop you from putting up the content today.
AZ: In addition to consistency, are there any other rules you follow in your social media?
GA: We think original content helps by keeping your stuff fresh and not becoming just a sharing page. We create and share a lot of our own pictures that are personal and Instagram pictures from my garden – just whatever we’re doing in our garden that day.
AZ: Speaking of Instagram, is there any difference in the content you post there versus on Facebook?
GA: It’s usually just what is going on in our garden. We don’t normally post the same things to Instagram as we do to Facebook, like our videos for YouTube. We want it to be a little different than our other social medias and a little more timely, so it’s more of what is happening right now. It’s also very consistent – everyday we don’t miss that post.
AZ: Is there any certain strategy or recipe you follow for your other social medias, such as Twitter and Pinterest?
GA: It’s kind of just a duplication of our Instagram. Whatever gets posted there automatically gets posted to Twitter. For us, there’s only so much time in the day and so much effort we can put into social platforms. We focus on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. Right now, we really just don’t have enough time to focus on Twitter or Pinterest, but maybe one day.
AZ: So what are some things that go into your YouTube page?
GA: We actually started out on YouTube, and Facebook was just a secondary platform to supplement the YouTube, but that one that kind of took over, with a lot of engagement and likes. That really surprised us because Facebook can be a little fickle, even when you have large numbers. You go through different seasons where you don’t get quite as high engagement and it happens to every page. You hit certain thresholds, things change, and you just have to ride it out.
AZ: What type of videos work best for you, and which ones get a higher engagement?
GA: As we previously said, we started out making educational videos, but then started to go to more inspirational videos. We found out that those quick inspo videos did really well on Facebook, especially those fast set-up ones that were sped up to only be like a minute long. These videos really took off on Facebook, and that kind of drove the page to popularity. People don’t listen to the audio or music, they are just quickly thumbing through their phone. If it’s an educational thing, they’ll probably scroll past it and won’t watch because they are on their phone and might not be able to listen to that right now. With Facebook, people stumble upon you far more often than on YouTube. With YouTube, they are probably searching for something or seeking you out. So with that, we try and add more educational content, make them longer, and incorporate more talking into our YouTube videos.
AZ: Where do you find inspiration for your creative Facebook videos?
GA: It’s mostly just ideas as we’re going. Sometimes we’ll find an idea we like and try and spin something a different direction to make our own. It’s kind of a mix. Also, it’s a lot of what we’re doing in our garden right now, whether that’s projects or problems I’m addressing. We try and keep it as authentic as possible to what we’re doing in real life.
AZ: How much time do you guys spend with your social media – from making the videos to planning your social media?
GA: A lot. We both work at this essentially full-time. Laura also helps out her parents’ garden center as well. It’s difficult to put a specific time on it because we have two acres of gardens at home, so there’s always something to do at home. We are constantly working on something, and there’s always a video opportunity.
AZ: Do you have any tips for beginning garden centers wanting to try video?
GA: Audio. I think anyone who is looking to get into video should think solely about audio first and how to make it sound good and the video is secondary. If you’re just making inspirational videos that only requires music and no audio, that’s fine. Otherwise, I really think it’s key to invest in a simple cordless or wired microphone to ensure your audio sounds good. That was actually one of our first purchases and has helped us out tremendously. However, we still use our iPhones sometimes too, but we always use a wireless mic, even with our phone.
AZ: Any further advice for garden centers and their social media pages?
GA: We’re different from garden centers because we don’t have any products to sell. We are selling inspiration, ideas, and projects. I think it’s important to remember not to make things too personal to your garden center because you might be alienating a bigger audience by consistently talking about their location and what they are selling, instead of promoting gardening as a whole or promoting this topic as a whole.
The biggest takeaway from talking with Aaron and Laura was consistency on your social media pages and making the inspiration the first thing you do when getting into your projects. The selling of the product or your business should be secondary to that. Let the brand inspiration do the talking and selling will come after that.