RHS Chelsea Flower Show is an experience like no other, but if you're designing a garden, supplying plants or paying for a trade stand at the event, it's a significant investment of your time and money. Here are some helpful tips for getting the most out of the show and promoting your business on social media during build-up and beyond....
There's no place quite like RHS Chelsea Flower Show - it's the most esteemed horticultural event in the world, and if you're lucky enough to be exhibiting or designing a show garden there, then you're in for a treat. This year, for the first time, Chelsea is behind held in September, and we're all watching with interest to see how even the most experienced Chelsea attendees adapt to an Autumn show. Build-up is currently underway, so if you're reading this and attending the show, I expect you're feeling stressed, exhausted, and excited. It will all be worth it, I promise!
That's the thing about Chelsea - it's magnificent, but it's an investment. It's months worth of work, and it's a lot of money - so how can you make sure you promote your garden or trade stand to the absolute maximum on social media? I've been to RHS Chelsea for several years, working with brands to help them market their gardens, and here are some of my top tips:
Are your profiles set up for Chelsea?
Optimise your Instagram page for the show by setting up a story highlight, editing your profile name, adding the RHS hashtags to your bio, and including a link to your Chelsea garden design. Make sure your Twitter bio is also updated and contains links and hashtags. You can change them back again after the show.
Update your Facebook and Twitter cover picture with a unique, branded Chelsea image, perhaps of your design or planting scheme. Include text (by using Canva) over the image to ensure you're making the most of this feature.
Pin your popular Chelsea content to the top of your pages so people see your garden designs straight away.
Don't neglect the build-up period!
The clue is in the name - this is the time to build up intrigue and interest, so people are desperate to come and see you when the show starts.
You'll get extra brownie points if you can create a sense of mystery at this stage, for example, some sneak peeks, a surprise feature etc., that will have people guessing and wondering.
Build-up is also an excellent time for people to become invested in your Chelsea journey - to be with you from the start. Capture and share everything, no matter how trivial you think it might be.
You want your followers to feel like they are there with you, watching your garden grow. Include plenty of pictures of your team. Show smiling faces. Show funny moments. Help your followers create an emotional attachment to you and your team, and they'll support you every step of the way.
It's a great idea to network and show your neighbours a bit of love during this stage, too. Everyone's working hard to bring the show together, and it's a nice touch to send the other teams a little gift, such as a hamper with afternoon tea, morning pastries, or cocktails for the evening. You'll find they are highly likely to share a pic and mention you on their social media profiles as a thank you, again helping you to promote yourself.
Thank your sponsors and contributors!
Don't forget to show some love for your sponsors, as this is a perfect time to introduce them and the reasons behind your brand's collaboration.
It's also an excellent opportunity to cross-promote across everyone's different audiences. The more engaging content you can share with them tagged, the more likely their followers will become interested in you and follow your profiles.
If you have a more prominent sponsor, you might need their marketing teams to sign off on everything you share about them, so it's essential to get this content planned and written in advance as much as you can.
Another excellent idea is to team up with your sponsors, partners and collaborators to run one big, impressive social media giveaway. Quite a few people run giveaways on social media at Chelsea, but by joining forces with your pals, you can stand out from the crowd.
Imagine offering a super-huge giveaway bundle that includes, for example, plants, bee hotels, a water feature, tea for two, candles and an outdoor rug. That's a giveaway that people will share the hell out of for a chance of winning, and you'll see your engagement go through the roof.
Share live videos and Instagram Reels!
As your garden or trade stand begins to come together, it's a fantastic opportunity to get filming. Live videos and reels are newer features, and therefore Facebook and Instagram are desperate for people to use them. Try them out, and you'll immediately see an incredible boost in organic reach and engagement.
If you're happy to be in front of the camera, then absolutely go for it. Get streaming and show people around your garden to see how the build is progressing. Introduce the plants, talk about the design, share it all with them. If you're not so happy in front of the camera, then see if someone else from your team is pleased to have a go instead and be the 'face' of your live videos.
What makes you and your brand stand out?
Find your angle! Think about how your garden is unusual, what makes it stand out. What is it about your garden that is different from other gardens? What unique or exciting stories lie behind the design? Your angle is what will get you noticed by the press in particular, as they're always on the lookout for gardens or trade stands that are different and stand out.
Always have your hashtags, tags and call-to-action phrases ready to go for the show.
Hashtags are essential if you want to get found and noticed at significant events like Chelsea, but it's easy to forget them when you are rushing about. Research the best hashtags to use in advance, have them copied into a blank page in notes on your phone, and copy and paste them to everything you share.
It's also beneficial to have your own special Chelsea hashtag just for your garden, which people can use to search for your Chelsea content specifically. For example, if you're a company called Brambly Hood Candles, you might want to use #BramblyHoodChelsea2021 #BramblyHoodCandles #RHSChelsea21 #RHSChelseaFlowerShow
The same applies to sponsors and contributors that you might like to tag in your posts. Have their profile handles for both Twitter and Instagram (as they can often be different) to hand, so again, you can copy and paste to your post before publishing.
It also doesn't hurt to tag the RHS in your posts too, as they might occasionally re-share your content to their profiles.
Encourage engagement as much as possible.
Social media platforms reward content that earns a good amount of engagement when it first gets shared. Take advantage of this and ask your friends, family, employees and collaborators to go to town on your posts by liking and commenting. You'll notice this will get the ball rolling and encourage others to engage, too.
Try to reply to every comment and DM you get during the show, because you want to keep the conversation going and get the most organic reach possible.
Let me take a selfie!
Never underestimate the incredible number of photos that get taken and shared on social media at Chelsea. If you have the space and time, it's a great idea to create a particularly Instagrammable area in your garden, where Chelsea visitors can stand in front of and post for pictures.
Suppose you can find a way to offer a lovely spot where people can step to one side and take a picture of themselves, perhaps with your branding subtly placed in the background. You'll potentially become a prominent feature of the show on social media. A seat surrounded by plants could be an excellent example of this or a green wall with a lovely backdrop.
Like to have some help with promoting your RHS Chelsea Flower Show garden? Please take a look at our social media outsourcing services here. Or you can follow Brass Bee Marketing on social media for more helpful hints, tips and more!