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John Buller organized his presentation into 11 conversations and guided us with discussion, video, and documentation through a process introducing us to the various facets of social electronic communication (commonly termed social media).  He aided us in realizing why it is so important for our horticultural non-profit organizations to include electronic community building in our outreach efforts.  Additionally, we learned a good deal about what to do to initiate and develop a social electronic communication program for our organization.


Conversation 1 [15min]

Opening introductions and a discussion on–

  Do we have to do this Social Thing?

The Communication Dilemma –“do you make the people come to you or do you communicate where the people are?”

Video on the Social Medium revolution

[Handout -12 mind blowing Statistics


Conversation 2 [15min]

3 things to drive the decision

1] ROI –Return on Investment and /or Return on Influence

2] Sustainability – once you start how do you make it last

3] Building the Social Culture – this has to be owned by all



Is pursuing social electronic communication something a horticultural organization is advised to pursue?


The data indicating yes is persuasive, particularly for growth of your organization into the future. Younger people use electronic communication almost exclusively.  The use of landline telephones is shrinking relative to email and texting, and email loosing to texting as a popular means of “talking”. Social electronic communication is relatively easy to learn and repeated communications build relationships.  Your organization can build relationships quickly by “dropping” information pertinent to your mission into electronic loci, like Face Book, a garden blog, Google Plus.  Thus you initiate sharing among people what is of interest to your organization.  The dynamic added by social electronic communication over traditional print media and phone calls is the capacity it gives to your existing community members to share quickly with their “electronic friends” and your organization.  Social electronic communications provide a way for parties interested in your organization and what it us doing to interact and aid you in the effort to build your community.  The opportunities a non-profit has are significant, as the capital expense for electronic outreach is less than for traditional print or media outreach. To be successful, however, you need to be willing to consider and commit to three things.

a)    Your goals in using social electronic communication need to be clear; this will give your organization a way to evaluate your ROI (Return on Influence-Investment). b. You need to figure out how you are going to sustain the effort over time so that the communications and relationships evolve through time in directions you would like.  This requires staff time and building staff skills. c) You need to figure out how to have your organization build a coherent responsible approach to using social electronic communications; all of the staff in particular needs to do this.






Conversation 3 [15 min]

What is the reason we are looking at doing this social Medium Communications

What does success look like- What’s your ROI?

Group Discussion – With Notes taken

Handouts on ROI


Conversation 4 [20 min]

Defining our Brand – and Defining your Creative Brief

The group will fill out a creative brief for their organization

Handouts on Brand and the Creative Brief


Conversation 3-4:   How do you develop a sound social media program for your organization?  Two things are essential:  a) you need to have a clear understanding of your organization’s mission and link your efforts in social electronic communication directly with that mission.  b) You need to develop means of quantifying the success of your efforts in electronic social communication.


As you figure out what your general direction for the social electronic communication is you should also figure out the measurement criterion.  If your goal is increasing general awareness of the organization, then measure the hits to the website and the volume of email activity in response to your effort.  When formulating the information package that you drop into the realm of social communication, be aware of your primary target audience and what attitudes they hold that might affect how they understand your message, before you create your message.


Conversation 5 [15 min]

Building The Organization Culture

Video on Social media Life cycle – what is viral




Frequency x Proximity x Potency x Incubation

Handouts on Guiding Principles-

Social media Policies and

Social Media community manager


Conversation5: Building a coherent responsible approach to using social electronic communications.


You need governance:

Whether directly involved or not, all staff should be aware of the goals of the program and the etiquette of communication.  The potential for the rapid spread of a posting is great.

Some one within your organization needs to assume oversight and ownership of the effort.  The efforts in social electronic communication need to be integrated into efforts with other marketing activities. You need to establish a review process and quality controls shared by all in the organization.


You need a program, a process, and personnel:

You need the capabilities required to use electronic communication systems and to create an information package you post:

Your staff needs skills, the equipment, and the time to implement your efforts, replying to email feedback is as important as posting a blog.


You need to maintain integrity:

Your policies need to be clear your oversight effective and you to review you existing systems and processes to integrate them with your new effort


You need security:

You need to protect your information and communications systems and processes.




Conversation 6 [15 min]

The Web Site – discussion on what you want the site to do –creating a micro site or Blog site

Handouts The Seattle Center web Site







http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIKIoXU98gc&feature=pyv&ad=3955097371&kw=how%20to%20create%20a%20site  CREATE YOUR OWN WEB PAGE


Conversation 7 [15min]

Maximize you e-mails Discussion on how to Maximize your efforts

Handouts- Ways to Maximize you e-mails and Integrate to social


 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0zMStIadjA     DO YOU MAKE THESE E-MAIL MISTAKES  


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ea60gqjaOLw       CONSTANT CONTACT E-MAIL SHARING

Conversation 8

Face Book –Is now the Time?

Handouts – Time Article plus how to Maximize and


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66_hb01s-b4 HOW TO MAXMIZE FACE BOOK

Conversation 9

Four concepts for the future

QR codes

Handout -Wikipedia

Video   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3lrcOhmp9g                  QR HOW TO USE


Handout -Wikipedia

The Book  “ The Tao of Twitter” by Mark Schaefer

Geo Fencing

Handout -Wikipedia

Augmented Reality



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-A1l4Jn6EY                  AUGMENTED REALITY

http://www.moosejaw.com/moosejaw/shop/content_xraypr2____  X-RAY APP



Conversations 6-9   Discussion of the tools required for effective social electronic communication:  websites, email, video, twitter, social networking sites like Face Book, cell phones, computers, browsers and more to come in the not too distant future. All of these tools require some proficiency to be used to best effect.


Your website is a hub for your activities.  The home page should be simple and visually embody your mission.  It is increasingly important that your website be interactive, engaging people with some aspects of organization.  This can be accomplished by including videos of events or seasonal highlights, a blog, opportunity for comments, and a link to twitter.  The site should be a resource for these who visit the garden and those who wish to visit, and even those who cannot visit.


Structuring emails is very important.  Email communications should be constructed so that they are integrated into the social electronic communication network you are building.  Thus, they should contain links to the website, twitter, your blog site and be archived on your website for future reference.


Facebook has a large community following and posting to Facebook gives people who use it access to your organization.  You need to develop a routine and a purpose for your posts.  By way of example, the Seattle Center Facebook page gives the Facebook community the agility to view timely practical and socially focused information about their visit to the Center that day.  Using Facebook as a vehicle is a little like having a website they both require regular attention.  Facebook, even more than a website, requires that you keep it fresh with “new” content which is designed to encourage electronic conversation.   The conversation is initiated by you, but guided by your community.  By paying attention to what your community says you can learn about what your community thinks of your organization and you can work to initiate new opinions.


A blog gives your organization a means of generating news and comment in the interlude between newsletters.  The content should be coordinated with the postings to Facebook and newsletter articles.


There will be more tools for social electronic communication as they are evolving rapidly, your goal for your organization is to remain aware of what is possible and coordinate those tools you chose to use so they work together to build a strong community engaged with your organization.


Conversation 10


How do we get more visual in everything we do?


Gardens are very visual and seasonal –how do we take this aspect and increase the usage



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LE3lBFkPRSk                   PHOTO MANAGEMENT



Conversation 11

Ideas to get more interactive — a discussion to define ways to get your audiences more involved in sharing and helping to build your core audience


Closing – I will ask everyone to talk about their Key take –a- way from this seminar


Conversations 10-11 The use of images in communication and strategies for getting your community more involved in sharing information relevant to your organization and thus helping to build your core audience

Images of gardens and the plants that grow in them are evocative as are the pictures or events in which you have participated.  Visual communication is almost instantaneous in its impact and powerful emotionally, and it is easily shared, thus it is a very effective tool for social media.  Horticultural organizations can use visual components in their websites and e-communication more than they have, in the recent past to build their organizations.


One of the great advantages and challenges of social electronic communication is that you can have your community become advocates for your organization by sharing your information with their community of friends, spreading knowledge about your organization and an affinity for it.  Thus your strategy for outreach should incorporate techniques for encouraging opportunities for your community to share information and opinions about the content you send them with their friends and with you.

John Buller has posted some of the materials he provided those who attended the workshop on his website in the form of an article.  This is a valuable resource for those wanting to learn more about how to implement a social electronic communication program for their organization: http://www.loyaltysolutionsgroup.com/loyalty_solutions_group/john-k-buller-articles/.


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