If you are on Instagram, then you have seen the HUGE interest that the youth are taking in plants, nature, organics and all things green.  I’m loving it! I think the whole hippie movement freaked out my generation (circa 1977) and we all ran from the thought of plants. But today it’s the most popular thing to have.  It’s a craze that I believe is just starting to pick up momentum. And when the larger fertilizer and plant companies begin contributing to advertising, the movement will expand to phenomenal heights.

            ~ I see Instagram as a huge networking tool with over 800 million people in my network who will buy from me and work for me.   It’s real, raw and organic.  

First, you need to understand the basic statistics of the Instagram network:

  • Out of 800 million users, Americans account for only 20%.
  • Approximately 41% of Instagram users are over 30. This means there is a huge market who already has your money and an even bigger market who will have your money in the future. Only 31% of them earn more than $75k per year.
  • A whopping 75% take action on a post (meaning they will link through to your website or landing page to check your company out; and 70% are likely to make a purchase.
  • Instagram has a 2.2% interaction rate compared to Facebook at a .22% interaction rate.


Here are my top 7 rules for every green business to utilize in their marketing.

  1. Give a shit.  I mean really and truly care. Build relationships. Ask questions. Give. Tag other handles. Make it all about other people and businesses- your end user.  No matter how big your company is, the basic rules on “How To Win Friends And Influence People” apply more today than ever before. I have businesses with 24k followers ask me why only 20 people like their posts. Well it’s because they’re taking and giving nothing back.
  2. Reply to everyone’s comments within the hour. (Yea, it’s kinda a full time job.)
  3. Go look at the photos of people who follow you and comment on their photos. Not ‘like’ their photos, but comment on their photos.  Just 5 a day will make a huge difference.
  4. Selectively follow people. Seriously. Grow your network!Location Tag. I’ve seen it work fist hand  and @Kit_Smith reported location tagging to increase engagement by 79%.  Not only will you pic up local buyers doing this, but also employees!
  5. Name drop.  On instagram the term for name dropping is ‘use someones handle’.  I think ‘handle’ is a weird word. Anyway, Use someones Instagram name in your posts. @msheatherlee I love her ridiculous videos.  Use someone’s photo and say thanks @msheatherlee for letting me use your beautiful picture. Kit Smith @brandwatch also reported that doing this increases engagement by 56%.
  6. Photos. Good photos. As a business, it’s your duty and responsibility to post great photos.  The secret to highly converting photos in the green industry is TEXTURE, DIMENSION & VARIETY!   If you are taking a photo of a plant, make sure there’s some iron or wood in it. Houseplants with a couch or a cat.  Posts with a person’s face in it converts better. I don’t have the stat’s on it, but I’ve seen it make huge difference.
  7. Give It Away!  Products are easy to giveaway. And you would be surprised to see what people will do just to get a free brochure!  It’s hilarious to me. You would have to be giving away something HUGE to get me to take action. But the everyday consumer wants anything they can get for free.  A $.50 cent plant in exchange for tagging 3 of their friends. Ten free bottles of snake oil when they tag one friend every day for a month. Comment and tag a friend and be entered to win a gift bag. At the end of the month (because you want to make sure they are leaving the names there).

           $ Interaction is important because it will help you build an audience that will decrease your ad spend.

Big Product Brands –  What would you do to have your product put in front of 100,000 people who are interested in your product and who will truly be looking at your product?   Remember that thing called ‘television’.  I barely do. And I don’t know how they stay in business.  Because with social media you can choose exactly who sees your product, how many of them and their exact location.   Here are my top recommendations to increasing your sales and growing brand awareness.

  • Incentivize. Be clear about your criteria and pay users for professional photos and videos of their work. Pay them for non- professional photos and videos of their work.  They are the ones out there with the results of your product. It will skyrocket the loyalty to your brand and provide your company with the photos and videos you need for marketing.
  • Ads. Always, Always, Always…Keep it organic.  Make your ad outstanding, make it pop out, just don’t make it look ‘salesy’. You can target the exact people you want to see your ad or post, but on Instagram the photo or video and they don’t want to see salesey stuff. They will take action when it’s organic, entertaining or valuable in any way.
  • Video.  Video get’s lower interaction yet higher views. On Instagram you have 14 or 60 seconds to make it count. And people want to see weird,  slow and completely mindless activity. One green industry influencer posts videos that meet this exact criteria and his posted videos recieve over 179k views! That’s 25% more than his actual followers.
  • Utilize Influencers!  This is huge and unfortunately an overlooked option in the green industry.  Because Instagram is so organic, a good influencer will not accept a “brandy” type post.  It has to meet the fundamentals of social media- organic. And beware. Just because someone has a million followers doesn’t mean even 10% will see them.  You must research their interaction and choose and pay your desired influencer based on interaction.


Local Businesses – Any sized business can win and increase sales on Instagram with well thought out strategy.

  • Follow local people.  Don’t wait around for people to follow you. They probably won’t. You need to make the first move and follow and start connecting with local people only.  You will need to spend some time investigating people and where they live before you follow them. Once you get the ball rolling it becomes much easier.
  • Bring the noise. I don’t usually recommend content graphics on Instagram, but they work really well to promote your events and sales specials once your business is connected with a local following. This does not mean to use them repeatedly.  Use them sparingly.
  • Consistency.  Post every day. Write something valuable or informative in every post.
  • Gallery.  Let’s face it, small business is no Beyonce, Southern Home and Garden or Tony Robbins. We have to Instagram differently than celebrities.  Keeping that in mind, be conscious of your gallery. Have a theme and a layout in your gallery.

I love Eminem!  I know, what’s a 40 y/o white woman doing listening to rap?   I used to be ashamed of it, for the simple fact that people informed me that my white ass wasn’t supposed to listen to rap. For years, I hid my passion for rap and my appreciation for the African American Culture.  Something magical happened when I turned 40 and now I just don’t care!.

♦  Weather you like Eminem or the Kardashians or not, they are sitting on their billion dollar empires because they put ALL their drama out there.  Eminem raps about his and his wifes abusive relationship, drugs, custody problems and of course his feelings. And the Kardashians too. They are not afraid to show their huge bottoms (kinda gross in my opinion), get married and divorced once a year, change their gender or talk about their family feuds.

For many of us in the green industry our lives are peaceful and lovely and serene.  But that’s not what people want to see. They want to see someone else’s drama and even suffering. I know it’s sad. But it’s also fact.

How do we turn the peace and life and health of plants into a dramatic situation?

Unfortunately we can’t speak openly about some of the BS that our customers dish out to us. Because that sure would be a winner! However, we can incorporate the basic selling principles of  People Sell People – by bringing in the personal element into all our media communications.

Here are some ideas to incorporate drama and/or the personal element into your wholesale and retail emails, videos and social media marketing to connect on a personal level with people.

  1. The Interesting Character-  There is surely someone on your staff who always has a “story”.  Ya know, they come in every morning and talk about their Aunt Carol who see’s ghosts, their Husband Bob who passed out drunk, their kid who wrecked the car.  You get the picture. Ask them if you can use their picture and their stories in your marketing communications (of course changing the names of characters.)
  2. Your Opinion and Feelings – I’m not recommending your personal political opinion (unless you already know the political preference of your buyers or you just don’t care).  But give your opinion on other general and sensitive matters. Why you hate the Maple tree. The unnecessary stop sign that they just put in. Your disdain for Led Zeppelin. The problem with medical costs. Football players are overpaid.  You know. All those little weird things that urk you or rub you the wrong way. I love talking about sex and drugs within my personal brand. It builds loyalty amongst other plant freaks. So don’t be shy, put it out there!
  3. Photos and Videos – Videos are the highest converting, but photos are definitely easier.  Share photos of you and your staff. Pictures and videos of people convert over 50% better. No one cares about what your tractor or greenhouse, store front or farm looks like.  They won’t pay attention to it; it’s meaningless and yet your all doing it! Nobody wants to see it! They want to see you. They want to see your staff, and they want to see cats.  For some reason, cats and plant people go hand in hand. Who knew that pussy would convert so well!

You already know that there is no way in today’s green industry to organically  produce enough food or plant products fast enough to satisfy the needs of the consumer.  Unfortunately, the consumer doesn’t understand this, just like we don’t understand their work.

In every market you have your pretentious buyer all the way to the buyer who has no quality expectations at all.

And then there’s buyers like me (and probably you too) who just want to be healthy and feel good!    And there are a lot of people who want to live healthy and aren’t obsessed with word “organic”.  And they don’t need you to  give then a lesson on carbon atoms and hydrogen atoms on the packaging or in the catalog.

A simple explanation of your company’s commitment to producing products in the healthiest way possible can really go a long way.  Look at Perdue chicken and Egglands Best Eggs.  I buy them all the time, because they are vegetarian fed, with no added hormones and the packaging looks a few cents more expensive.  And I remember buying plants once that stated they didn’t use toxic sprays and I loved that, and would definitely purchase more if [they had branded themselves better so that] I could remember their names!

It tells me they are doing the best they can for a healthy humanity.  And I buy that.

Healthy living presents incredible opportunity to increase revenue, as well as a challenge to generate healthy products that produce profit.  Farmers, nurseries… keep up the good work!  IPM companies – please keep working toward large scale solutions!

If you would like some packaging and label copy to promote the healthy in your products, send me an email, and I’ll send you some ideas for free!   And you can count on the grammar, being wrong and there may also be misspeled words! hahaha!




You know how you love that store you go to because they are always giving you a “free” pack of underpants when you buy one at “regular” price?

Scary thought there.  No, not you in your underpants, but the word “free”.

Anyway… the average person loves “free”  stuff. Discounts of 50% off  imported crap from China will have consumers waving their credit cards around like it’s a winning lottery ticket.

Read more “A New Secret Sauce”