July 2020 - 36

SOCIAL MEDIA
3
T
Ways to Enhance
Your Digital Presence
The COVID-19 outbreak has created a demand for new digital strategies
for IGCs to communicate with their customers.
By Jessica DeGraaf and Meghan Owens
o say that this spring was unusual would be
a vast understatement. As most of us were
asked (or told) to stay home, our everyday
lives transitioned to balancing work, perhaps
homeschooling children, and, for many of us,
wondering how our businesses and companies
would weather this unprecedented storm.
Uncharacteristically spending lots of time in our
home offices in mid-March, the Proven Winners
team became clear on our goal for this spring: to
create tools and resources that made life a little bit
easier for our independent garden center partners.
Our early conversations with many IGCs
uncovered the varying challenges their businesses
would be enduring across North America. Southern
IGCs were already well into their season when this shutdown
began and were able to continue to serve the many
customers who were looking for stay-at-home activities.
Many northern customers were facing some tougher
restrictions, and their anxieties were compounded by the
fear of the unknown, as it wasn't quite spring yet and it was
unclear what May and June would look like for their stores.
Many garden centers quickly understood they needed to
do things differently to operate under new restrictions and
began taking steps to create or improve their online presence.
In response, we crafted an initiative to support these
customers with content, resources and tools from both
Proven Winners and external sources. Following are three
tools that IGCs can use to help enhance their digital strategy
now and in the future.
1. Proven Winners IGC Connect Facebook Group
This group is intended to be exclusively for independent
garden center owners, employees, and industry professionals
who can offer resources and advice. Through this platform
we can ensure group members are aware of the content
Proven Winners offers and also share information about
services and companies who can assist in navigating
programs for processes new to their businesses, like
e-commerce or online inventory.
Hoping to tap into the wealth of knowledge and experience
of industry leaders, we introduced " Ask the Expert. " In our
first series, Leslie Halleck of Halleck Horticulture filmed short
36 | LAWN & GARDEN RETAILER | JULY 2020
videos answering a few of the frequent questions being asked
by garden centers regarding their social media presence and
marketing strategies for 2020.
Most importantly, this Connect group aims to facilitate
the sharing of challenges and best practices from our IGC
members. This is an open forum where we can all learn from
each other. The response to the group has been fantastic.
Closing in on 1,000 members, we have been overwhelmed by
the conversations, comradery and the willingness of the group
members to post their questions, stories and advice regularly.
This group is meant to be a resource, so we encourage
independent garden centers to share any information,
content or graphics we post on their own platforms. While
this group was created as a response to the pandemic, we see
enormous value in continuing this community.
2. IGC Connect Google Drive
Because digital efforts were clearly going to be key for
many garden centers to connect and service their customers,
we recognized a need to get as many assets and tools into
their hands quickly and make the process easy. The IGC
Connect Google drive (Pwwin.rs/IGCResources) houses
downloadable photos of many annuals, perennials, shrubs
and recipes, along with an Excel file containing all of our
plant descriptions and attributes to help get Proven Winners
varieties up on a garden center's website.
There is a suite of new social media graphics, many with
inspirational and positive messaging along with graphics
to advertise curbside and delivery options. Customers are

July 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of July 2020

July 2020 - 1
July 2020 - 2
July 2020 - 3
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https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/LGR/march-2021
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https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/LGR/january-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/LGR/thriveguide-2021
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