It’s kind of difficult to figure out just how online social media fits into an overall communications plan. I was noodling this over the other day, and how best to put social media into a context landscapers, landscape architects and nursery owners would appreciate. I was invited to give a social media 101 presentation during Arizona Nursery Association’s annual SHADE Conference.

So I gave them a fish story.

SLide #1.002I started with this slide, explaining that the wharf is your business where you process your catch. The pier is your website; the doorstep to your business. And the sea is full of potential customers just waiting to be lured into your enterprise.

Slide #2.003

The trouble is, most businesses are stuck on the shore, while their prospects swim in an ocean of opportunity to buy from the competition. Advertising is still a powerful way to sell to the masses, but it’s expensive. So why not go trolling after your customers with the use of social media? Think of advertising as a gigantic net, and social media as delightful chum (Ever see Jaws?)

Social Media for the Landscape & Nursery Industry.004

If the wharf is your business, and the pier is your website, then the fishing trawler is your blog. Think about it: You don’t want to catch every fish in the ocean.

You want to hook the ones that make the best customers, and are after your bait. Your blog trolls the ocean gunnel-to-gunnel with millions of other virtual trawlers. But that’s okay, because your boat has a niched perspective, distinctive voice, and lures unique to your business. Plus, you know which fishing grounds produce your best catches, so that’s where you troll.

Social Media for the Landscape & Nursery Industry.005

The fishing poles you cast from your blog represent the various social media channels available to you. These are lines of communication that let you converse with your prospects and entice them on board your product or offering.

Slide #2.006Once you’ve captivated your audience, you invite them into your website and convert them into satisfied and returning customers by over-delivering on every promise you made to them on your fishing excursion. Most reputable companies aren’t interested in one-time catches. They want that ebb and flow of customers like the tide that swells around their pier.

You can see the entire presentation, “Sustainable Social Media for the Green Marketer” on SlideShare. And a big thanks goes out to Tarah Eland, Park&Co’s production manager and resident artist, who humored me with her fantastic illustrations. This project really doesn’t do her talent justice.